Today we have an incredible indie artist by the name of Tess Posner debuting her latest single Paper Walls. Tess is a growing artist from California and has cultivated a space within music with her captivating sound and honesty about life and politically conscious lyrics. She became involved in the magical world of sound at an early age, playing piano as a child. Not long after, she began singing in coffee shops as a teenager and it only catapulted from there.
Her debut EP, One Thousand Petals, was released in 2018 and she has been releasing music consistently ever since. Her musical genius has garnered attention from many reputable reviews such as Jamsphere, The Girls at the Rock Show, Surviving the Golden Age and more. It is no surprise that her song Angels was a semi-finalist in the 2019 International Songwriting Competition.
Paper Walls is a song that truly explores the, sometimes, very scary idea of vulnerability. A part of being human that everyone has had to battle at some point, sometimes coming out victorious and other times leaving with a few bumps and bruises. Tess Posner has truly captured the delicacy of vulnerability and teaches listeners that the first step is reaching out and opening up. While seemingly debilitating, people are often surprised the simple act of reaching out was the hardest part and what comes after is a sense of love and feeling welcomed and heard. We had the opportunity to chat with Tess about the latest single, what is coming and more below:
Hello Tess, welcome to Stay Vibrant! So excited to have you here. How has your 2021 been going so far? Thank you so much for having me. 2021 has been really productive so far, and I am happy it's Spring and the weather is beautiful!
You recently released a single Paper Walls which is an intensely beautiful single. Can you take us through the meaning and idea behind the song?
Thank you so much! Paper Walls is about how hard it can be to be vulnerable to other people. When I lived in New York City when I was young, I used to go out every night, meeting people in every borough and feeling the incredible buzz of the city. But I had a hard time opening up to people. I had fun and was social, but I hid my true self, feeling like I was better off doing everything by myself. I partied, smiled, laughed but inside felt alone, though there were always people around. Recently I’ve been thinking back to that time, and how since then I’ve grown to learned to open up and share my vulnerable side to people. After being so isolated from COVID, I am really grateful I learned how to reach out and connect, instead of thinking I was better off on my own.
Listening to your catalog, you have such a captivating sound. How has it been developing your style and who would you say are you musical inspirations? Thank you so much for that feedback. I definitely try to take people on a journey through the sound/ lyrics and arrangement, and I try to find sounds and a vibe that fits the emotion/ story that I am trying to tell. I love discovering new ways to do that, whether it's a new sound or new vocal technique. I have so many inspirations, starting with classical music which is how I first got into music. Some of my big inspirations also include Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Doors, Radiohead, BANKS and Labrinth.
You began singing at coffee shops at a young age and now have amassed 2.5 million streams on Spotify. Do you ever look back at where you started and where you are now? What feelings does that spur?
Gratitude. Music has always been my passion, but I didn't actually write or put out songs seriously until a few years ago. I was actually afraid of writing, that I didn't have anything interesting to say. But my singing coach Danielle LoPresti encouraged me to start a morning journal writing stream of consciousness every morning, and for 6 weeks don't look at it. When I looked at it 6 weeks later, I was shocked at how much I had to say, and the untold stories I needed to share. This started an incredible journey of songwriting and now it's my favorite thing in the world. I am so grateful to everyone who has supported this journey, and to get the opportunity to do something I love so deeply. I hope that by sharing my experiences honestly and authentically through music, if someone relates and has been through something similar, it might resonate with them. It's a powerful tool for transformation and connection and it's incredibly rewarding. Known as being, not only, a talented musician, you are also very politically active and vocal about causes such as gender and racial equity and diversity. Can you tell us a bit about what you do within that space and what you may be working on?
Yes! I'm really passionate about equity and gender and racial justice, especially in industries like technology, which are so important to the future of our society. I've been working on similar projects since I was young, and currently I lead a nonprofit initiative that focuses on making the technology and AI field more inclusive and diverse. [AI4ALL]
A lot of your discography tackles deep topics whilst also taking listeners on a journey through sound. How has music been an outlet for not only processing emotions but also activism for you?
I think art can be a powerful driver of social change, and it has many times in the past. For me, it helps me express things that can't be put into words, for example, how can we have hope when there are so many problems in the world? Music is "hope fuel" to me, and we all need that "fuel" to have the resilience to keep building a better world despite the setbacks and challenges.
I appreciate you taking the time to chat today Tess! As we depart, is there any wisdom you’d like to share with the readers and plug what is coming next for you?
Thank you for having me! I have a bunch of new songs in the works, as well as a new music video. I look forward to sharing those with you all!