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Once upon a time, there was a 9-year-old girl who loved country music. Her idols were Dolly Parton and Shania Twain. One day her mother took her to a Twain concert, for which she was fully prepared with a makeshift Shania-style outfit and a handdwritten sign that said, “Shania can I sing with you?”. Shania spotted her in the crowd and after she briuht her up on stage. That night the little girl not only made a dream come true, but it also made her realize that this is what she wants to do with her life.

The fate of Tenille Townes was to become one of the brightest names in country music in her country, Canada and soon in many other countries as well. Her songs and albums have exploded up in the charts and won her many awards as well. With 15 Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAs), 2 ACMs and a Juno to date, she is also the first female artist in Mediabase Canada history to have two of her singles (“Jersey on The Wall (I’m Just Asking)” and “Somebody’s Daughter”), reaching the top of the charts, with a “gold” and a “platinum” certification respectively.

On stage she has worked with the elite of country music: Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, George Strait and Reba McEntire while her next professional plans are to open some of the concerts for the forthcoming Shania Twain tour in Canada, thus completing a circle that was to bring them together again!

She recently released the first song from her next album. “The Thing That Wrecks You”, is a duet with the international rocker, Bryan Adams, which has already achieved great success on all streaming platforms as well as on YouTube.

As Tenille Townes makes it clear, she has a lot to tell us! With disarming honesty and inexhaustible positive energy, the ever-smiling Tenille Townes gave a full-length interview to!

So, recently we heard your new single “The Thing That Wrecks You” in collaboration with Bryan Adams. How did this collab occur? What is it like to work with a music legend?

My goodness! I’m still freaking out that it’s real life, honestly. He’s been just incredible! I just ran into him by happenstance on a staircase and I felt so inspired just being around him. I’ve looked up to his music and his path for so long. So, I recorded a version of this song to send to him, just taking, like a total dream shot that he want to sing on it with me. I wrote him a letter by hand and fedexed it to the studio along with a CD. That was the only point of contact that I had and by a series of miracles, he actually got the envelope and chose to listen to the song. Two days after that, I got an email from him telling me he’d absolutely love to sing on the song.

What does this song mean to you?

I wrote this song actually thinking about a friend of mine who was in the middle of a very toxic relationship. She just kept going back to this person, even though she knew it was causing her so much pain and hurt. It was so hard to watch. I was thinking about how sometimes as human beings, in order to get to the other side of something; we have to just go through it. And maybe that’s a relationship or maybe it’s struggling through an addiction or whatever that we might know is not good for us. So I wrote that song thinking about that and sort of that emotional tension. I want it to feel like it’s kind of sitting beside somebody who’s maybe in the middle of the hardest parts of that.

Should we expect a new full length album anytime soon and if yes what should we expect from this project?

Yes, I’m working on new music right now. I’m actually in the process of writing and recording some new music and I’m looking forward to sharing a new project which is coming soon, this spring actually. I can’t wait to tell you more about it but following that, I’m definitely looking ahead to the full record and working towards putting the songs together for that. I think there’ll be a collection of little things, rock ‘n’ roll, that kind of lean into that fierce side that I love to step on stage and just like to become. And then I think it’s going to be a reflection of that sort of singer, songwriter the more emotional, acoustic version of the kind of music I love to make. So this new project will reflect both sides of who I am in that.

At the age of nine you were brought up on stage by Shania Twain to sing with her while you attended one of her concerts? With what feelings do you recall this experience?

Oh, my Gosh, it was so crazy! Shania is my hero! I knew every word to all her songs. I was nine years old and I was so excited to just go to the concert. I had a sign that I made that said “Shania can I please sing with you?” and my mom helped me blue gun me a costume to look like her Miami concert DVD that I had just watched a million times as a kid. So I go to the concert and I’ve got the yellow ponytail on top of my head and I’m like just rocking out to all the songs. Then she flukely, comes around halfway through to the concert and reaches out her hand and brings up on stage to sing with her. I will never forget that moment standing next to my hero, just being like, “This is it! This is what I want to do for the rest of my life”. It completely lit a fire in me that I still feel to this day. I can’t wait to get to hopefully pay that feeling forward to whatever little dreamers are coming up next because it changed my life. I’m getting to open up for her, this year on her tour on a few of the dates in Canada. So it’s going to be a pretty crazy full circle moment from that dream come true.

Have you talked again with her since then? Does she recall that moment?

I ran into her a few years ago, actually, at an event. A mutual friend who has worked with her kind of brought me over and she was like, “Hey, let me introduce you” and I was like “I don’t even know if I’d be able to form a sentence”. What do you say to someone who has impacted your life so much like that? I had a picture of us from that night and I just showed it to her and I was like, “Thank you” but my friend was trying to help me fill in the gaps because I was really struggling to actually talk to her. So she responded “is this you? That’s so crazy” and then we took a new picture together which was really fun. So I’m glad that we got to at least cross paths again. I haven’t seen her since then, so I’m excited for this tour very much.

You released your last album, entitled “The Lemonade Stand”, in 2020 after a seven-year discographical hiatus. What happened during these years and how much did Tennille change during this time?

Yes, I changed a lot I did some touring in Canada from those very early records, and when that sort of wrapped up and I finished high-school, I got in my little Tacoma truck and drove 45 hours from my hometown all the way down to Nashville, Tennessee. I set up a new beginning there and very much feel like I found my voice in that time of feeling a little homesick, lonely and so unsure, but also I was inspired by this community of music and just asked myself “ok, what do I want to say?”, and “what does this sounds like as an artist?”. I really feel like digging into that space, it changed the sound of my voice, honestly. I’m so thankful to have had that time of self-discovery, to be learning just about how much my love for music is. It’s like the guiding light for me. And so that time definitely, shifted the way that I make music for sure.

What is your essential connection with country music?

I love country music because I love what feels like the anchor or this invisible thread around the genre of music is storytelling of human existence and I love that. I think there’s like a feeling of home about that. It’s like a soul-to-soul thing, like no matter where we come from in the world, that feeling of home to me is very resonant in country music and I love getting to sing about that.

Was it your family environment and music influences that led you to this musical genre?

We listen to all kinds of different music and of course a lot of country music. When we go on road trips and we listen to whatever the driver wants to listen, I was in the back seat, singing along. When I drive with my mom it was a lot of Shania Twain, which was really awesome but when I drove around with my dad it was a little more rock and roll, like lots of U2, Fleetwood Mac and a little bit of everything. And then when I would drive around with my grandparents I felt like I got introduced to the classics and especially in country. We listened so much to Dolly Parton and she really sets the bar to me for songwriters. I think she’s one of the greatest songwriters in the whole planet and that was also a really big influence for me, riding round with them. I got a little bit of everything in the mix but definitely, we all love country music and I grew up being surrounded by it.

You’re a great country singer but I would die to listen to you singing something closer to rock n roll too. I think it would suit you and you would be amazing at this genre too.

Well thank you! That’s really cool. I do love rock n roll. I love to cover lots of Joan Jett and Melissa Etheridge songs. I love getting to sing a little bit more rock n roll, for sure.

Until now you have also collaborated with other great names of the international scene, such as Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town. How do you feel about it and what have you learned from these collaborations?

I have loved getting to just to learn and work with my heroes! These are people I grew up listening to and being inspired by and especially have loved getting to go on the road with them. Miranda Lambert was like the very first person to invite me to her tour. It was my first time sleeping on a tour bus and the first time ever playing at an outside amphitheater. She was so welcoming and encouraging. She told me stories of what it was like when she first started out, opening up for some of her heroes too. It just felt really special, to share that time together. Then, through that, we got to do a song together based on one of the tours that were part of, singing with Ashley McBride, Elle King, Caylee Hammack, Maren Morris and it was a wonderful collaboration of everybody’s voices who was a part of the tour. That was a dream to get to sing with her. As an opening act, like to get to go out there and watch so many of these shows, I feel like I’m just standing in front of house watching the show, taking notes. There’s so much to learn, everybody’s got different styles of how they entertain the room, how they make people feel a part of the songs and just connect everybody. I’m constantly like a sponge, just trying to take it all in and be able to use it in our shows too.

Is there a collaboration you’d like to do that you haven’t done yet?

Oh goodness yes! There are so many heroes that come to mind now that this Bryan Adams thing has happened, if you just take a crazy shot and ask, you just never know. So I’ve been dreaming of the next ones. I love Dolly Parton so much. Bonnie Raitt, I’m a huge fan of Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles and Keith Urban… I can give you a list of a bunch of people I’d love to sing with.

Visiting your Instagram account we will see that you are in constant motion. How is Tenille in everyday life? Would you describe yourself as a multitasker?

I think you have to be a bit of multitasker to be able to constantly be on the move but also I also I just forget how to be home. I really love to be on the road and I love to play shows and feel that connection with everybody out there. It’s so exciting. It’s such a high! The adrenaline is up and I love to get to travel and see parts of the world and just meet new friends and so when I come home and it’s really quiet and it’s just kind of like me and my dog, I’m like, “what am I doing here? I want to get back out on the road”. I do love the motion, but I appreciate the stillness too. I know it’s necessary, especially for the creative process to be thinking about the next songs and coming up with new ideas and so as much as the quiet can drive me crazy, I also crave it sometimes too.

So, you kicked off the “Side A-B Tour” with shows in North America. What’s your favorite part while performing live?

Oh, just seeing everybody’s faces and hearing everyone sing along. And I like to stand up and imagine as a song is playing, whether I’m singing it or whether I’m in the audience enjoying a song. It’s like I feel like everybody’s got a different movie in their mind that they’re playing through of a memory that a song makes them think of or just whatever emotions it’s bringing up. And there’s specific details that are unique to every person, but the feeling is universal and it feels like this invisible thread that’s just sort of like going through everyone in the room and making us feel like we’re not alone. And that’s my favorite part of live music, is that sort of sacred energy of going, we’re all sort of feeling the same things at the same time together. It’s pretty awesome.

What are your future professional plans?

I am currently working on new music. I’ve been writing and recording the next project, and we’re about to continue the “Side A and Side B tour” through the US this spring. And then we’ve got some dates throughout Canada and the States for some summer festival things. And we’re going back to the UK in October, and oh, my goodness, I would love to come to Greece. So I’m putting that on my dream list of places to come. I would just love to come and as a true love tourist to come and see your beautiful country and then I’d love to be able to play and bring some music also. You’re on .I’m putting it on the dream board. I can’t wait to come and see you guys.

What’s your motto in life?

Interview: Theodore Kolliopoulos

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