CMW - Country Music Week

Interview: Canadian Country singer Tenille Townes talks her UK debut, Somebody’s Daughter and more

Canadian singer/songwriter Tenille Townes is just about ready to the country music world by storm. Having been an independent artist for a number of years Tenille has since been signed by a major label and has released her fantastic single Somebody’s Daughter via Sony Music Entertainment as well as EP Living Room Worktapes.

Tenille makes her UK debut this October as part of Country Music Week where she will join Chris DeStefano, Ashley Campbell and Kassi Ashton in the CMA Songwriters Series where she will share the stories behind her songs. As well as the Songwriters show, Tenille will join Ryan Kinder and Drake White on their London show which is set to be one heck of a night with three sensational artists all in one night.

We caught up with Tenille to discuss her forthcoming trip, her music, being a country singer in Canada and more.

Enjoy!

Hi Tenille – How are you?

I am doing so well, how are you?

Great thanks. How has your day been?

It has been awesome. The sun is out so I am excited.

You are coming over to the UK soon – when do you arrive?

Yes, oh my goodness I cannot wait to get there. We are flying out Sunday and I am really looking forward to landing.

Will this be your first time here?

Yes! This is my very first time getting to explore over the UK and I cannot wait. I cannot wait to see it and get there and play some music. I have definitely been dreaming of the day that music would allow me to pack for this trip so I am really excited.

What prompted this visit?

This is all in thanks to the CMA for inviting me to be a part of The Songwriters Series. I had the pleasure of getting to do one of those rounds at the Sundance Film Festival and so that was my first time getting to do one of those rounds. It is definitely an honour to be invited for this trip.

Tell us about growing up in Canada as a country singer and how did you make your move to the US?

I am so grateful to have grown up in Canada surrounded by wide open spaces and the country music we listened to in the kitchen that represents that hard working, family centred values of the community that I grew up with. I started singing at a young age doing all kinds of local events , singing at different festivals, singing anthems at the local hockey games and I used to follow along to the lyric booklets of all my favourite records in the back seat of the car. I just dreamed of getting to wake up and do this. It’s been a pretty amazing adventure. I made my first trip to Nashville shortly after I started writing songs at fourteen and kept coming back as much as my parents would let me skip school.  I moved to Nashville about four or five years ago. It is a 45 hour drive from my hometown to Nashville.

Wow!

Where are the key country music areas in Canada?

I’m a little biased because I’m from Alberta, but I definitely feel like Alberta can be a centre hub for country music for sure. There’s a really amazing songwriting community up in the Northern Region of the Province. There’s a lot of musicians and studios throughout Calgary so it was a great place to grow up.

So there is another Candian country singer called Tenille isn’t there? (Tenille Arts)

This is true yes! There is two of us.

Do you know each other?

We do yeah! It has been cool to kind of grow up together in the Canadian scene, we have definitely crossed paths a few times, she is awesome.

So tell us about some of your music because you have been writing since you were about fourteen and have released a couple of independent records and have now released an EP. Tell us a bit about the new EP as it is centred around a living room vibe?

Moving to Nashville at first it was just a lot of time and space on my own, really digging into that creative process and figuring out who I am and what I want to say and stand for. I am really grateful for that time and I feel that this new EP is centred around the comfort of the living room. That is one of my very favourite places to be and is a place where you can talk about anything. It gives you that vulnerable atmosphere to just be who you are. It is exciting to get to introduce this group of songs that I have been working on for a while now and going back to the way that they were written, just picking up the guitar and playing them that way.

Tell us about Somebody’s Daughter as it is such a moving and emotional song. It is a very important one to you too?

Thank you for saying that, it is a very important song and message. We have a fundraiser in my hometown every year that supports our youth centre and it is definitely something that is very close to my heart. With the song, I was very inspired by a drive I took with my mum. We were going furniture shopping and we saw this young girl standing on the side of the interstate holding on to a cardboard sign. It was kind of like one of those moments when you can’t look away. It pulled at our hearts and made us think about what her story might have been before that moment and the fact that we’ve all got a story.

That is what music is for it’s about talking about anything and letting the walls down and realising that we are not alone in anything. I love that about music, I love that the power that it has to bring people together. Its definitely shaped the purpose of music for me and even in the little things like noticing each other and realising that we all have a name and we are all just walking this path together.

How do you select songs for an EP because you have quite a catalogue already.

This process was just so much writing to begin with. I had the time and space to just explore anything and everything and in that process I feel like the ones that really stood out and felt completely authentic to me were ones that fit a theme based around that common message. These are all anchored around stories and that feeling of “I guess we are all in the same boat.”

We know that country radio in the US doesn’t seem to be on the side of Women in country much but what about in Canada, is that easier?

I definitely think that we are in an interesting time of history for sure. There is going to be up hill battles in anything that we put our minds to. I was raised in a generation of the artists that inspired me had so much of their music on the radio and I feel really excited about this generation coming up and I think I feel the switching of the tides, I sure hope so.

Do they have similar issues on Canadian radio or do they have more of a fair system in place?

That’s a good question. I think its very similar in Canada to what is going on in the states.

How can we get hold of songs like Wendy (Can You Hear Me Peter Pan?)

Hahahahaha oh my goodness, thank you for listening to the past I appreciate that. I am not sure, I feel like these different projects are all time capsules of what represents that moment in the path of life.

Well I have your album Light but just need to get hold of Real now.

Aww well thank you that is so sweet of you, I really appreciate it.

You are working on an album aren’t you?

I am yes. The record is actually all just about wrapped up and I cannot wait to get this new music out there. I had the most amazing time in the studio with one of my heroes Jay Joyce. It just makes me so happy to think about how this record came to life and I just can’t wait to get it out.

Good luck with all the shows over here. You are going to be very welcomed and will have a blast. Is it just you and your guitar that you are bringing?

It is, just me and my guitar. I absolutely love this format of storytelling. I love the songwriter rounds and it is always fun to hear everybody’s origins of where these songs came from. I can’t wait to get out there and share some music.

Have you played with any of these artists before?

No actually, this is going to be my very first time getting to hang out with all of them.

As well as the songwriters series you will be supporting Ryan Kinder and Drake White on their London show?

Yes and I can’t wait for that show too.

Have you seen either of them live before?

No but I love their music so I’m really looking forward to see their shows as well.

Well you will have the best time and how lucky for the audience to be treated with all three of you.

Thank you!

Thank you so much for talking today. I hope you make the UK a regular stop.

I can’t wait to keep coming back. Thank you for taking the time today I really appreciate it.

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