Alyssa Tess’ music career took a major leap forward when she released her first professionally recorded EP “Twenty/Twenty” 1-1/2 years ago. There have been quite a few highlights since then, from sold out gigs such as an impromptu CD release party in Toronto, organized for friends who couldn’t attend the local one, and private dinner shows.
There was also an opportunity to play one of her songs for Serena Ryder, during a Mariposa Young Singer/Songwriter Workshop.
“It was the most nerve-racking experience of my whole life,” said Tess, who played the first track off her EP, “but it was really incredible and she really loved it, gave me compliments on my musicality and musicianship. She really enjoyed the song.”
Tess recently completed her second year of a four-year music degree program at Humber College. She is focussing on voice, jazz music and performance which doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing new songs so she issued herself a challenge to post one tune each week on her Instagram (alyssasings).
It’s going well and giving her lots of new material for performing this summer at a variety of venues. She is also busking at various spots in Barrie.
For her shows, Tess likes to mix it up with original songs and her arrangements of cover tunes. A couple of her favourites are No Roots by Alice Merton and Lady Gaga’s Poker Face.
The new songs will also help her decide the direction for her next album.
“I’m not sure what I want to release yet,” she said. “I love Twenty/Twenty and the statement it made for who I was as an artist and I want to make sure the next one I release I’m just as proud of.”
Her four-song EP called “Twenty/Twenty” is a mix of singer-songwriter, folk, roots, country, and pop. Her current work incorporates more storytelling and takes in perspectives and experiences other than her own.
She is really enjoying the jazz program, she feels is good for all the fundamentals of music including theory. She said it is making her a stronger musician.
Music has been a part of her life since she was seven years old. She fell in love it – performing and songwriting – when she competed at age seven in the Midland Idol singing competition. She also played in her family’s band from age seven to 16.
Tess learned how to play the piano from her mother who also taught her to read music. She still plays the piano today and likes it for songwriting. She is primarily a self-taught guitarist.
In addition to a couple of private dinner shows, upcoming gigs include the Innisfil Farmers Market July 4 at 7 p.m.; Barrie Farmer’s Market July 13 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; and Homestead Artisan Bakery & Café July 27 from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. For August shows see www.alyssatess.com.