We first interviewed rising country star Tenille Townes via email in August when she told us (among other things!) about growing up in Alberta, Canada, her Opry debut, touring with Miranda Lambert and working with Jay Joyce on her debut album (catch up with all that here http://bellesandgals.com/2018/08/01/interview-with-tenille-townes/) . Of course we were so excited when she was announced as part of the line-up for London’s Country Music Week and the CMA Songwriters Series throughout the UK, and judging by the reaction these performances received she has stolen the hearts of many who were lucky enough to see her.
Fortunately she found time to talk to us in between her busy schedule, and as well as being super talented she’s one of the sweetest and most enthusiastic artists I’ve had the pleasure of chatting to!
1. LH Hey, Tenillle, a belated welcome to the UK! I know how much you were looking forwards to your first visit here, has it lived up to your expectations so far?
TT I’m so excited to be here for the first time! It’s gorgeous here, everybody is so sweet and friendly. its been a pleasure getting to meet people after the shows which is my favourite part! They have this light in their eyes about country music, its great to meet people this far away from home and we feel the same things! And it’s beautiful here, we got sunshine and its great exploring all the cities, there’s so much history!
2.LH I saw you play the final show in the CMA Songwriters series in London last night alongside Kassi Ashton and Ashley Campbell. As well as looking like a lot of fun there seemed to be a mutual respect for each other’s music. Do you find that in general back in Nashville female artists are supporting each other at a time when you are having a pretty tough ride in many respects?
TT Definitely! I think it’s an exciting time to be coming up as a new artist in Nashville and i love that there’s a sisterhood with people looking out for each other. It’s always exciting to cheer each other on and hear each other’s songs. What’s really cool about a songwriters show like that one is you get to know someone in such a cool way as you get to hear about the place where all these songs are coming from, the experiences that these other people have been through. I’m grateful for this week, I’ve made some great new friends.
3. LH But for you it’s actually all going pretty well at the moment isn’t it? Just after we last interviewed you the studio version ( and moving video) of “ Somebody’s Daughter” was released. You must be so happy with all the great feedback it’s received?
TT I’m just so excited! I’ve been looking forwards to putting music out like this for a long time and it makes me so happy that the message it gets to lead with is “ Somebody’s Daughter”.
4 LH Of course it’s a taste of what we can expect from your upcoming album! Do you have a release date yet, and will there be another single ahead of that?
TT It’s coming next year, I can’t wait!!! I’m dying to get it out! It was an interesting time to get to write songs and explore, try a bunch of new things but really digging for the stories and messages i wanted on this new record. As we were writing certain songs would stick out as an anchor for the project……I could feel as soon as I finished writing them that they’d be a part of this. I had such a good time getting to write with so many friends and meeting people through that process, they helped me dive into those places! I’m really happy how all the songs have strung together. I think we’ll be following “ Somebody’s Daughter” with new music very soon!
5. LH One song you mentioned being particularly excited about us hearing back in our interview in August was one written about your Great Grandmother. So I was really happy you performed “When I Meet My Maker” acoustically last night! Please tell me a bit more about the inspiration behind this one?
TT Yes!!! Thank you for asking! I had recently moved to Nashville, was thinking of home and missing everybody and thinking of my Great Grandmother, she was such a big part of my life, all of our lives as a family! She was this remarkable woman, so strong, fierce and independent but also the biggest teddy bear taking care of everybody. She’d come to all my shows, rain or shine…to anything any of the great grandkids were doing…she was always there cheering for us. She was the glue to our family. I was having a moment sitting at this coffee table at this place I was renting after coming home from a writing session, I sat down with my notebook and twenty minutes later it was like “ Ok here’s this song “. That was one of the strongest times I felt that vessel experience (Tenille had told me earlier that she feels that she’s just a vessel for songs to come pouring out of), it was like I was just holding the pen! I think of her every time I play it and it was an honour to get to play it last night.
6.LH So is songwriting therapeutic for you?
TT Yes, it’s very healing, music is the thing that gives us permission to sometimes go to the places we’re scared to go to by ourselves. Also to put something out there and have someone to come up to me and tell me how it reminds them of something in their life its like all of a sudden we’re not alone in it.
7. LH You are known as an acoustic artist ( saying that, you really rocked out a couple of your songs last night!) but will you be out on the road with a band to promote the album?
TT Yes I will and that’s SO exciting! I can’t wait to get out there with a group of musicians very soon. But it’s been really cool to have the beginning of this path anchored in just picking up a guitar and playing music. it feels like maybe a little more of a personal introduction. I’m grateful that i’ll get to look back on this as the beginning, with the acoustic EP . I had the best time in the studio with Jay, he’s such a genius and I’m excited about how the songs have taken on a new life and i can’t wait to play them that way live too.
8. LH Are you getting much time for songwriting during this crazy busy year?
TT I AM a little bit, I actually wrote a song in my hotel room a couple of weeks ago about being on a radio tour…it was a fun song to write! I think I’m finding a lot of new ideas visiting all these new places and storing them in my phone . Planting seeds for sure! Seeing new part of the world and meeting new people always brings new ideas.
9. LH Talking of songwriting and co-writing in particular, your collaboration with Lucie Silvas, “Change My Mind” made it onto her latest album didn’t it? Is that your first cut by another recording artist?
TT Such an honour and my first major cut like that! I have this thing about last songs on a record and always look forwards to hearing what it is going to be as it sort of wraps everything up, right? And I felt very honoured that this song not only made it onto Lucie’s record but also that its the last song, which made it really special! I went to see her play so many times before I met her and was always so fascinated by her delivery, no one sings like Lucie. She’s just got such a character to her voice and she’s such a sweet human being, getting to know her after that. It’s really cool when you meet someone you look up to so much and you find out they’re even cooler in person! I had a blast getting to join her and my friend Keelan Donovan that day. Lucie had this idea on her heart to write, I love how she always walks into a writing room like that and says “ this is what I’m feeling”.
LH I think we can just about still claim her as one of ours here in the UK!
TT ( Laughs) I think you should, she’s pretty awesome!
10. LH Do you think you’ve changed much as an artist this year with all these experiences?
TT You know, I’ve been trying to journal like crazy, ‘cos I don’t want to miss anything of what this feels like. I have learnt so much in the last year, like I’ve been able to just watch and study and it’s been so exciting to wake up every day and be like “ this is real and this is happening”, all these things I’ve dreamed about. It’s been a very surreal year, thinking back about what was happening this time last year. I’m really grateful to be here.
LH I’m really grateful you are as well!
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me, I hope you enjoy the rest of your visit and get a bit of free time too take in the sights! I look forwards to seeing you back here soon before too long, you’re certainly winning over a lot of new UK fans already! .
Keep up to date with all of Tenille’s news at tenilletownes.com which has links to all her socials and her acoustic EP “Living Room Worktapes”.