Tess Anderson is a singer-songwriter and producer from Vancouver, Canada. Pulling inspiration everywhere from old-school jazz standards to modern pop, her sound is heavily driven by her unmistakable voice. We had the opportunity to Interview with Tess Anderson.
If you aren’t familiar with Tess Anderson Read on.
1: Tell us about your background getting to where you are today?
Music has been the biggest passion in my life for as long as I can remember. If you asked me at 4 years old what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you I wanted to be a rockstar. I’ve worked at building a career in the industry since I was a teenager, writing music every spare moment I had and performing live at every opportunity. In 2016 I moved to Vancouver to attend recording school where I studied audio engineering, music production, and songwriting. Halfway through my program though, everything came to a halt when I learned that I was pregnant with my son. I took a year off of school, and frankly off of music, before returning to finish my diploma with a 9-month-old baby. There were a lot of months that were painfully difficult and I had no idea how I was ever going to make music and motherhood work at the same time. All I knew was that I wanted both, and I was willing to work as hard as possible to make it happen. I released my first 2 singles, “Home” and “War Paint” in 2019. Then I started performing regularly around Vancouver, saving up every cent I earned to fund the recording of my debut EP. It’s taken 2 years to get here, but I finally released the first single off the project called “Northern Lights” on May 7th, and the next single is out June 4th! The other songs will be coming over the next few months.
2: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Victoria, BC, Canada, and lived there until I was 19.
3: How did you get into music?
Music has always fascinated me. As a little kid, I was constantly singing and making up melodies. I performed my first vocal solo in a musical at school in the 3rd grade, and I took piano lessons for a few years as a kid. I was around 12 years old when I had the epiphany that many of my favourite artist did both of those things at the same time, and that’s when everything changed. I began accompanying myself on the piano while singing my favourite songs, and that very naturally turned into me beginning to song write. I learned to record myself and self-produced my first 7 song album at 15 (under a different alias), followed quickly by my first sold-out local show and national radio play on CBC.
4: What is the most challenging thing you have overcome in your life?
This is a tough one. There’s been a lot of challenges in my life. Becoming a mom at 20 while my family lives on another continent definitely is an ongoing challenge – particularly now during the pandemic. One of the hardest phases of my life, however, was losing my best friend suddenly and tragically 2 days before our high school graduation. What was supposed to be such a fun and exciting moment in my life was instead one of the most painful. It’s been 6 years and I still miss her every day. Grief is something you carry with you forever.
5: Are you currently signed or independent?
100% independent. I do everything myself.
6: Who inspires you the most musically?
I have such a broad range of musical tastes – everything from classic jazz standards to modern rock – so it’s really hard for me to narrow down where exactly my inspiration comes from. When I first started songwriting I was hugely inspired by Sara Bareilles though, and I think some of that influence definitely still shines through in my writing today.
7: What do you want people to take away after listening to your music?
When people listen to my music, I want them to feel a little bit less alone in the world. Music to me is all about connection. It communicates so much deeper than words ever can. It’s so cool how when listening to music, an entire room of people can all simultaneously experience the same emotion at once. We all have a lot more in common than I think we realize, and I want my music to help people feel that. We’re all in this together. It’s a big part of the reason that writing from an authentic and vulnerable place is so important to me.
8: What is your greatest achievement as a musician?
Honestly, I feel like I’ve hit the greatest achievement every time that someone messages me or comes up to me after a show to tell me that a song of mine has positively affected them in some way. That’s what it’s all about. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that my art has helped someone in some way.
9: Do you produce your own music? If not who do you work with?
I do produce music, and often do so for other artists, but I actually prefer doing that to producing my own music. Sometimes if I get too involved in the whole process I end up hating my own song by the time it’s finished. My upcoming EP was produced by Cody Taylor and Ryan Guldemond, and I am SO glad that I chose them both as collaborators. They made these songs way better than I ever could have imagined doing myself.
10: Who is one artist you wish you could work with?
Sara Bareilles! She has been a dream collaborator since I was 12.
11: Tell us about any new music you have coming out? When is coming out? What is it about?
On May 7th I released “Northern Lights”, the first single off my upcoming EP! This song is a true story about a road trip my husband took me on when we first started dating. I’ve got 3 more tracks coming over the next few months as well. Next up is a song called “Never Seems to Fade”, out June 4th. It’s about my grief surrounding the loss of my best friend. It’s definitely an emotionally heavy one, but it means a lot to me, and I hope it will serve as a comfort to those who are experiencing their own loss and grief. The other songs on the EP talk about the internal battle I face trying to balance motherhood and a music career, and then of course there are some good love songs too. The EP will be out by the end of the summer.
12: What does a day inside your shoes look like?
My days are kind of all over the place. First and foremost I’m a mom, so most of my days are wrapped around caring for my son. I fit my music in wherever I can though, which often means a lot of multitasking. These days it’s been a lot of promo prep work just getting ready for the EP release. It’s a lot of chaotic back and forth between mom-mode and musician-mode (often involving a lot of stepping on lego along the way LOL), but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Pre-Covid I was playing live gigs at least twice a week, so rehearsals took up a lot of my time. Now I’m actually also working as a music teacher and vocal coach two days a week, and it has become such a passion of mine. It’s the coolest thing in the world getting to help people bring to life the music that they have within themselves.
13: Anything else you want the audience to know about you?
I’m so unbelievably excited to share this new music with you!! If you want to follow along with my journey, you can keep up with me on instagram at @itstessanderson or on Facebook at Tess Anderson Music.
Exclusive Interview: Rising Artist Awall MG
Hello Awall MG, Thanks for coming to Honk Magazine to talk about your career.
Tell us a little more about when you first got into music?
I’ve been around music since I was born. My family is a pretty musical family so I was always surrounded by it. My dad had his own studio where the first famous person I met was Gladys Knight and the pips. That was my very first introduction to the musical environment. By 2 years old I had my first keyboard by 3 I was banging on drums and it kinda just kept going from there.
If you could describe your sound/style in one word, what would it be and why?
VIBES! Most of my songs I make are from a real perspective but I make it to where it just sounds good and it cultivates the listeners ears to take em to a place where they can relate but also feel good about
What would you say to any aspiring recording artists who look up to your work?
I would say never give up on what you love most. That means fight through any obstacle life gives cause it only happened to make you a stronger person And never put all your eggs in one basket!
What quote or mantra do you live by?
LIVE GREAT TO BECOME GREATER.
That’s my slogan for my company Live Great Productions. It basically says like we are living to be great but once you make it go beyond that and then beyond that too!
What is your hobby outside of music?
When I’m not doing music I’m usually playing video games. I just got into the twitch community. I play basketball and football on a recreational level ..and cooking I love to cook
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I’m gonna be one of those names that you see in the big festivals like Rolling Loud or Coachella. I’ll be engineering still but super exclusively cause I really see myself as one the next best Producer/Artist on the come up.
Do you have anything new or upcoming we can expect to see from you?
I got lots of singles I’m dropping in 2022 along with visuals of course and doing more shows in the ATL scene. Also as a Producer I’ll be launching my website this month so the public can buy them. Before I was just making beats exclusively in front of them.
What is the inspiration behind your latest song?
My last song OWN is about two girls really. One girl I dated for about 3 years then we went our separate ways.. the other girl I met around Thanksgiving of 2021 thinking she could be the one cause the new girl I really liked a lot but somehow we drifted and I can’t lie that shxt was hurting my soul so that’s why I say I’m on my own and it probably better off that way until I meet Ms Right
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Get a internship Right after school: I didn’t start interning at other studios till probably 4 years after I graduated from Music School..No regrets about it but it could have sped my process up and learned more earlier
Don’t be Afraid To Make Mistakes but don’t make it happen Twice: When I first started working at Patchwerk Studio I recorded Cocoa Vango.He was the first major artist I got to work with there. The session was probably my worst ever. He was very frustrated with me the whole time but he knew I was new so it just went with the flow…That session taught me things I should be doing and I never made a mistake like that again..Which is why I’m still at Patchwerk till this day.
BE VERSATILE: I Engineer both studio and live. I’m an Artist. I’m Also a musician of 7 different instruments (Drums, Piano, flute, baritone, sax guitar and bass) and a producer and learning how to DJ. Doing all those things made me stand out vs ppl who just engineer or just produce.. I’m a one stop shop basically and ppl these days love that. And learning one skill helped me learned another along the way
GET OUT THE BEDROOM: For a while I was the producer who made beats And posted it in a beat store and just showed off on social media.. IT GOT ME NOWHERE. I still had to work a regular job and live in my parents house.. When I started networking at different events or applying to studios that’s when life changed quickly.. More ppl were hearing me which grew my outside presence but also my social media at the same time. Now I’m in rooms with major Artists getting paid way more and literally paying everything just by creating music
GET RID OF SELF DOUBT: I used to compare myself to others like my music doesn’t sound like theirs or wondering if ppl gonna like what I put out. All that self doubt just made me think too much instead of having fun… The moment I got major confidence for myself is when the music was sounding good ppl were buying beats that I made quickly… and that confidence transfers to others now they wanna give you a chance with a bigger deal
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out” ?
Just make sure whatever you doing that you love it..Cause I’ve burned myself out a couple of times but I love music so much I was able to find something to learn or something new out my comfort zone that made me fall in love with it like it’s my first time making music
How can our readers follow you online?
On all platforms I’m AWall_Mg insta twitter twitch all that
Introducing J Menace: A Fast-Rising Musical Artist
J Menace is an upcoming Hip-Hop artist and songwriter that is gaining popularity very quickly, and on his way to becoming a superstar. Born and raised in Chicago, he has quickly accumulated thousands of followers on social media and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Hello J Menace, Thanks for coming to Honk Magazine to talk about your career.
What 3 things does anyone starting in your industry need to know?
1: Have a plan. What do you want to do, and how do you want to do it?
2: Have people around you that you trust.
3: Be the hardest worker in the room.
What would you do differently if you were starting in your industry now?
I would spend my money much differently. You will lose money trying to figure out what and who works. That takes money, time and effort. There is no way around it. Imagine if you could skip that step….
Which people or books have had the most influence on your growth and why?
Book wise “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. I’ve read that book 3 times and every time I learn something new. A great guide to having the proper mindset for growth.
Too many people to name that had a ton of influence. However, 2 at the top would be 2Pac and my brother Leekwan. 2Pac because of how similar their lives were and how I could relate to his music. My brother because of the constant competition between us. It made me super competitive in all areas and nearly obsessed with growth.
What would you say is the #1 key to success in your music career?
The #1 would have to be consistent. There was a time when people said I didn’t have the look to rap…. I kept going. There was a time when people said I didn’t have the voice to rap… I kept going. Then it was I didn’t write good enough, pick the right production, or didn’t have the right type of funding. I never stopped, I pushed harder every time people denied me. Until I became undeniable.
Talk about the biggest failure you’ve had. What did you learn from it?
The biggest failure had to be not keeping a successful group I started together. The true turning point of my career was 2015.
I had just opted out of a deal with Universal and I was tired of the industry. I saw what they did to make others successful and decided I would try to mimic the format. I came up with an idea to put together a group of talented rappers with established fan bases (Thad Lu, Goonie Da Godd, Mz. Legit, King Kwan).
The purpose was simple….there’s strength in numbers. The name of the group ended up being R.U.M.O.R.S (Relying Upon Music Over Regular S**t). My strategy was to do 3 to 4 shows a week until the right people noticed us. It definitely worked! We went from paying to do shows and perform in competitions, to being paid to do shows or just make an appearance. We got all the way to having a deal on the table and unfortunately, due to internal conflict, we parted ways as a group. However, we remain close to this very day. Sidenote: We lost a member last year. Love live Floyd Steele aka Goonie Da Godd. People still talk about us. Especially in Chicago. I’m not where I am today without this group. If I could go back, I would have figured out a way to make it work.
What has been your biggest success story and why do you think it was a success?
My biggest success is my recently released album “A Night To Purge “. This is my best work to date and it has been received as such. From having more streams than all my previous albums combined in 1 month….to having the most viewed video (Chains) in my career. I think it’s a success because the timing is right. Sometimes it’s not just talent but timing. If you stay ready, when it’s your time, you’ll cease the opportunity. That is all I’m doing.
What keeps you going when things get tough in the music industry?
The thing that keeps me going is my promise. As I’ve already stated, I lost a close friend in Floyd Steele A.K.A Goonie Da Godd last year. However, I also lost my older brother Tyrone Fisher last year. Both due to gun violence. Both of them believed in me. I made a promise to them that I would not let up until I majored in this industry. I will keep that promise.
What made you pursue being an artist full-time?
I wrote my first song in 8th grade. After everyone in my school started singing it, I was hooked. I was signed to my first label at the age og 16. I knew from that point on that this is what I wanted to do.
Would you sign to a label?
I would if the deal is structured properly for sure. I’ve been in the industry a while. I know the pitfalls and the traps. It has to make sense on both ends or no deal.
What projects are you working on for the rest of 2022?
Mainly pushing “A Night To Purge ” and multiple concerts. One of them being traveling state to state. Who knows….. I may start writing another album towards the end of the year.
How can our readers follow you online?
Twitter: The Real J Menace
Youtube: J Menace
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