Tessa Rae Speaks To Blurred Culture About EP Project “This Was Never Meant To Last” BC EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Tessa Rae
LOS ANGELES, CA- Earlier this year, I attended an artist showcase produced by Grant Owens’ We Found New Music. The line-up consisted of a fantastic collection of indie-pop talent, but one of the acts that caught my ear was the singer-songwriter Tessa Rae. There was something about the uniqueness of her soft-soprano voice and the way she was able to effortlessly bounce from one genre to the next that I found particularly intriguing.
When I noticed on her social media accounts that she was releasing new music and that a “new era” was starting, my curiosity was piqued and I decided to reach out to her to ask her about what she has come down the pipeline for her fans.
Blurred Culture: I really enjoyed your performance for We Found New Music back in August. I thought you had a really cool indie folk… pop… alternative kind of sound. I noticed on one of your most recent social media postings, you said that this is kind of like a “new era” for you, starting with your new single “Skies of Grey”. I just wanted to kind of pick your brain and see what you meant by that.
Tessa Rae: Yeah. I’m glad you enjoyed the show. I like the way you described it because it was kind of all over the place. A little bit of like folk… pop… alternative. I think with this new era, I’m just excited because I feel like I’ve found like a focus point. I’ve really found the type of music that really feels like home right now. It really is more in the folk world, in the singer-songwriter world. I’ve been searching for a while kind of to figure out what really feels like me because I’ve always felt like, “Oh, I can do a little bit of this, and I can do a little bit of that,” and I finally feel like I’ve focused and sound like some centering in a world. So it’s exciting. It’s like starting off… like an era where I feel I can have a consistent sound and people can really start to understand… like…. a piece of who I am. I think I have been kind of all over the place in the past, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s definitely been a goal of mine to find somewhere that I belong for a little while at least.
BC: Is all of the music that I’ve found on Spotify all of the work you’ve recorded so far?
TR: Yes. The music I released so far is a pretty scattered depiction of where I’ve been at in the past few years. I was releasing little by little as I was kind of in self-discovery. Um, experimenting and stuff, you know?
BC: Experimenting musically?
TR: Yeah. Just experimenting. I think because I have such an eclectic sense of what I like, it’s always been hard for me to pinpoint what I want to make… because I was always looking to what I liked to what I wanted to make. I think I finally realized that just because I like listening to alternative rock doesn’t mean that that’s the kind of music that I really want to make. I’ve always just had a love for just sitting down and writing a really great song that can kind of stand the test of time. So that’s what I found lately to just be like where my heart is.
BC: Nice. Just as an aside, I think regardless of what genre you find your niche in, I really do really appreciate the timbre of your voice because there’s something very unique about it. To me, it’s kind of got a Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star kind of vibe to it.
TR: Wow. Really? I love her.
BC: I’m sure other people have other ideas but that was my initial impression. You Just have a very distinct singing voice and I think that that’s what I thought was so interesting about your Spotify playlist. All 11 songs on there were really different stylistically, but at the same time what connected them all together was the tone and the way that you shape your voice around the music. Speaking of music, I’m really excited for your EP. Thanks for giving me a chance to listen to the tracks. Is the EP those four songs?
TR: That’s just a part of the EP.
BC: It felt like a full EP to me. In fact, it kind of felt like you were telling me a full story with those four songs. You’ve tentatively titled the EP It Never Meant To Last and I kind of took that title and kind of listened to the four songs in the order you sent them, and it was telling a story, right? “Skies of Grey” was the introduction to falling in love. “Heartbreaker” is about the hesitations about falling in love. “Breakfast at Noon”… with the lyrics “we could go far if you could do better”… it was like a realization that maybe the “falling of love” shouldn’t have happened, and “Comedy Tragedy” was about the aftermath of a doomed relationship. It felt really self-contained. I thought that those four songs kinda told it’s own little story. Was I right in thinking like that? How many more songs are there?
TR: There is two more right now that are on the EP But? you know, it may change by the time it comes out who knows? I’m glad that you felt that. It’s funny because I didn’t put the tracks in a specific order. I just kind of picked some songs for you to listen to from the project. But I do think what I realized because I made the title after writing all the songs… and I do think a lot of the subject matter does have to do with the passing time and how your perspective does change from the start of the story to the end of the story, no matter what your story is, whether it’s a relationship or something you’re just going through in your life. So I’m glad that you felt that just from four random songs. Just to note, “Comedy Tragedy” won’t actually be on the EP. That’s coming out after!
BC: I thought you intentionally put those songs in that order for me to because it really, it really did feel like a story because you described “Skies of Grey” as being innocent and pure…
BC: … And those lyrics were talking about what it’s like falling in love.
TR: Yeah, it’s like a fantasy. The fantasy of it before you really know the person which I think everyone experiences.
BC: Yeah. And then “Heartbreaker” is like your kind of fawning over that person trying to get their attention, at least. Then “Breakfast at Noon”, I love that lyric “We could go far if you could do better”…. So you realize like, “Oh my God, this is like a bad idea,” kind of thing.
BC: And “Comedy Tragedy”. It’s like there in the title. It’s funny that this didn’t work out, but you know, what can you do?
TR: Yeah, Comedy Tragedy is really like the solitude after. Like the aftermath of looking at your life and they’re like, okay, I’m on my own again. How does this feel? I actually love that you got that out of it because I haven’t thought about that when I thought about the order of the music, but honestly you’re right. Like “Skies of Grey” is the beginning. “Breakfast at Noon is the middle. And “Heartbreaker” is the aftermath. Sooo …. I might have to keep that order. I’ll play around with it
[Both parties laugh]
BC: I’m such a music nerd, I’m the kind of person who pays attention to the order of the tracklist. I always think that there’s meaning in the order the artist lists the songs/ There’s nothing like spinning a vinyl record and letting it just spin and tell a story. You know, I’m kind of romantic that way. I guess I’m old school.
TR: I love that. I think I just kind of based it off just my feelings… like, “This feels right,” ….You know? So maybe subconsciously I could feel all of that.
BC: Well, let let your subconscious speak. It tells a good story.
BC: I know a lot of writers kind of delve into their own personal history. Their personal narrative. I’m assuming you kind of went through your own little adventures in love.
TR: I think I’ve definitely found when the song is good… at least in my music, there’s always a semblance of the truth. I definitely like to be inspired by real stories. I mean not everything is completely 100% like, “This is happening in my life right now”… Like “Skies of Gret”, I ran into someone I used to know and was just kind of made up this fantasy in my mind of, “Oh what if it had worked out? If we went out one more time and fell in love.” Like that was really just a fantasy. With the EP, I feel like it lives between fantasy and reality. Which I feel is kind of like living between like being a kid and being an adult and the greater journey that I’ve been on like throughout writing it.
BC: So what’s the release process going to be?
TR: Two of the songs you’ve heard have music videos that are finished. I’m planning to release a single every 4-5 weeks. So “Breakfast at Noon” is coming out next. I’m figuring it out as I go… the order of everything… but I know “Breakfast at Noon” is next and I believe “Heartbreaker” will be the last song I release before the whole EP comes out. Just planning on being consistent until the whole ep comes out.