Into the Storm w/ Tenise Marie
Let’s check in with singer, songwriter Tenise Marie whose connection to nature and place comes through in her music and created the conditions for her first album ‘Storm’.
SB (StarBeat): Fresh: 2021 brought about your debut album ‘Storm’. Can you tell us a bit about how it came together?
TM (Tenise Marie): In the fall of 2020, I recorded guitar and voice demos of 16 of my songs. I was determined to make an album even though I was unsure how I would pay for it. That fall, I also optimistically applied to Creative BC for project support. This time, optimism payed off; I was surprised and thrilled when I learned in January 2021 that my application had been successful. Once I had the funding in place, I invited my friend and collaborator Aline Daigle to climb aboard to produce the album. Aline is a songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist of the Indie Folk duo Rumour Mill, and also most recently of her solo project: Aline Deanna. Together, we chose the eight songs which ultimately made the album. Aline is a great producer because she’s a visionary. It’s amazing to work with her because she seems to inherently understand what songs need. She could interpret my wildest dreams, even when I lacked the language to describe them. Aline curated a group of incredible musicians from all over BC who recorded remotely, and whose creativity and contributions shaped the songs in ways I never could have imagined. Aline and I really made this piece of art together. Watching her work her magic and spin my songs into gold has only deepened my joy and pride as a songwriter and performer.
SB: Natural: Your visuals and your lyrics point a lot to nature – is this a theme that’s important to you?
TM: Yes, I’m sure it’s a product of my upbringing in rural, remote, “unincorporated” Argenta, BC. I have travelled to Hawaii, Australia, and the UK, and I plan to travel more after the pandemic is over. Everywhere I have been, I love seeing new colours and new skies, and I always feel so comforted to come home to Beautiful BC, to the Columbia Mountains, to Kootenay Lake, to old growth cedar trees and to peaceful, pristine wilderness. Nature has a calming effect on me and I have learned not to take this for granted.
SB: Strength: Do you feel supported as an artist in Canada – or is there always the feeling of needing to go to another place to be noticed?
TM: I feel really supported. We’re so lucky as artists in Canada to have opportunities to access government arts funding to help complete our projects. I’ve been fortunate so far in my career to be funded locally, provincially and federally by the Columbia Basin Trust, the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Creative BC, SOCAN Foundation, and FACTOR. I’m also motivated to explore and expand into markets beyond Canada, as the US, UK, and Europe have equally vibrant musical cultures and larger population densities than we have in Canada.
SB: Connect: From your song ‘Storm’ – Are you usually a fair weather friend or are you ready to dive into the storm?
TM: I’m afraid I have been both. Lately, I’ve been prioritizing diving headfirst into the storm: rising to the occasion, stepping into the ring, taking a swing at the target, even if I miss. That can look like having an uncomfortable conversation that I know is important rather than avoiding it because I’m afraid it may cause conflict. It can also look like getting up on stage to play a song, even though I know it won’t be perfect. That’s what “Storm” is all about. It’s having fear and overcoming it, whatever that looks like, whether the outcome is “success” or “failure”. There’s a line in my song “Give Me a Chance”; it goes, “I’ve always wondered if I could fly, but I can’t risk the fall if it’s not worth the climb”. I used to feel this way. Now I know I don’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering if I can fly. I can risk the fall because it is worth the climb. I know I will make mistakes and sometimes, I will even fall.
I will never regret falling as much as I will regret not trying to fly.
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