"Music takes the walls down around us and makes us feel like we're all in the same living room" We chat with Tenille Townes
When it comes to next big thing status in Nashville, there are plenty that come and go, usually with the bombast of a high production single. Tenille Townes is taking a different path, issuing an acoustic "worktape" EP to announce herself. It seems to have worked though; picked up by the likes of Rolling Stone and NPR, Tenille is touring with Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town on their Bandwaggon tour. Big things await, and we got the chance to fire some questions at the Grande Prairie native.
Hey Tenille, how are you doing today?
I'm having a lovely day thank you! Hope you are too!
What have you been up to today?
Today I'm getting ready for heading out on the road next week for the Bandwagon Tour!!! Just finished shopping for small travel sized things at Target ha!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I love people and music and I am grateful to get to write songs and play them. I'm from Alberta Canada and drove my Tacoma to Nashville on a 45-hour trip just over four years ago. I love how stories and songs make us feel less alone. I love reading and baking and I believe we have everything we need in us to be a light for the world.
What can you tell us about your new mini-album, Living Room Worktapes, in two sentences?
I think music takes the walls down around us and makes us feel like we are all in the same living room and that's where the name for this EP came from in its acoustic stripped-down form. It's also a happy place for me; my family talks about anything and everything in a living room. It's a comfortable and honest place.
How did you go about writing and choosing which songs to record?
I love the writing process so much. It's storytelling and it's discovery and it's carrying these ideas as they vessel through you. The last four years of living in Nashville have been mostly diving into the creative space and collaborating with fellow creative souls. I sat down with so many people who became close friends, so many heroes, so many people I learned so much from and wrote so many songs with. It is definitely hard to pick which ones to record, but for the record and the EP it was songs that spoke about things that matter to me and stories that felt powerful to tie the theme of this music together.
What was the thinking behind releasing it as a stripped down set of tunes? (By the way I really love it, more music should be released like this.) This project is anchored in my heart for songwriting and I'm so excited we got to begin sharing this new music by going back to the way these songs were written with a story and a guitar. And thanks for saying that! I love getting to know an artist that way too and listening so focussed in to get to know their character in a really vulnerable way.
One of my favourite songs on the album is 'Somebody’s Daughter', it’s beautiful and touching, what can you tell us about that track?
Thanks for listening and connecting to that song. It was inspired by a drive I took with my mom on our way to shop for some furniture. We saw a young girl holding onto a cardboard sign on the side of the interstate and we had a long conversation about what might have happened to her story to take her to that moment. We've all got a story. I think it's important to remember that and notice the people around us.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
A few weeks ago at a Billboard event in Nashville when I met Shania Twain. I had met her once as a kid and she has had such a big impact on my life and my music dreams and to see her again felt like the most amazing full circle. I was definitely starstruck ha.
According to Wikipedia [Ed: Really?] you’re from Grande Prairie originally, what can you tell us about your hometown?
My hometown is truly amazing. It's a fairly small town in between wide open farming fields, oil patches, and river valleys. We are quite far north in Alberta and it's a little isolated and a little cold for a lot of the year, but it builds some beautiful character. My community is so generous and it was incredibly inspiring growing up and watching the way everybody shows up for each other.
You’re about to tour with Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town at the moment, how’s that feel?
Oh my goodness, I'm so excited. I can't wait to get to watch their shows every night and just take in the whole experience of being on the road with music heroes of mine. This is a crazy dream to get to be a part of this adventure and I can't wait for the shows to start!!!
What’s your favourite thing about being on the road?
I'll be able to tell you more to answer this soon, but I love an adventure and exploring new places. Almost all of the cities on this tour are new places for me so I can't wait to take them in!
You just played the Opry, can you describe what that was like?
It was magical. Stepping in that legendary circle on that very special stage was something I will never forget. There's a spirit in that place. And it's beautiful. Getting to share the experience with my 140 of my family and friends that all rented an airplane to be there for it meant the world to me. It was just so amazing to have them all here!!
If you could recommend one song to hear this week, what would it be?
I just listened to 'Extraordinary Magic' for the first time on Ben Rector's new record and I loved it so much.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
Hmmm you asked lots of great questions! But how about music that I listened to growing up..... I knew all the words to every Shania Twain song. Loved being inspired by her path. With my dad, we listened to lots of U2 and Fleetwood Mac driving around. With my mom, lot's of powerhouse female voices like Shania, Martina McBride, the Dixie Chicks and Celine Dion. And with my grandparents, Dolly Parton and Elvis.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Not much of a coffee person yet in my life ha! But I do love a chai latte very much.
Thanks so much for your time Tenille, I’m enjoying the record so much, and excited to hear what’s next!
Thanks for reaching out and asking these questions!!!! Can't wait to cross paths sooooon!
You can find out more about Tenille on her website, you can also follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, and see what she's up to on Instagram.
Her EP, Living Room Worktapes, is out now and available to stream everywhere.