Narrow speaks to Tessa Violet
by Tranelle Maner
While many little kids dream of taking the stage with music in their hearts, indie-pop artist Tessa Violet only picked up a guitar four years ago and now she’s taking the country by storm in her headlining tour.
On Aug.22, Violet will be performing at the High Dive in Gainesville performing a combination of separate singles and songs from her newest album “Bad Ideas.”
At 21 years old, Violet was left with the guitar of a friend who came to visit her. That.extra item taking up space became her blessing in disguise as Violet picked it up and began plucking at the strings to create music for the first time.
“It wasn’t until I was listening to Hellogoodbye after a friend recommended it to me that I got into music,” Violet added.
Two years later with that hand-me-down guitar, Violet started writing some of her first songs. She attributes her gumption and lack of fear to go forward with this new hobby to her mother.
“It’s something I learned from her, ‘Why not me,’” she said.
Most who develop a passion for music quickly become overwhelmed by the varieties of genres and already established artists. While it can be hard for many to try to hone in on a certain image or sound they want to give to the world as an artist, Violet felt none of the pressure because of her inexperience in the field.
She said that her growing experience performing live for audiences allowed her to get a better idea of what fans respond to and what she should produce more often.
Violet is able to attribute a lot of her ease into performance and writing to YouTube. About 10 years ago, she started a channel sharing stories and, as she describes, being creative and making friends online. Later she began collaborating with other artists on the platform, like fellow indie songwriter and singer Dodie. Similar to Dodie's channel, Violet took an organic approach to her writing rather than trying to be what she thought people would want. She wrote about her heartbreak and the feelings associated with dealing with her breakup.
“I don't write with a lot of metaphor in my lyrics. I just tend to be like, here's what I'm feeling. Here's what I think,” she said.
However, the organic writing process didn’t come easily to Violet. She explained that when she first began writing songs for the new album, “Bad Ideas,” many of the songs didn’t stick.
Violet said that once she met up with Lauren and Solomon who were co-writers on the song “Crush,“ they encouraged her to use heart and trust her gut. “Before we wrote, they said something to me, they're like, ’no bullshit. Just write from your truth, always,'” she said. She continued that she’s been using that process and now her has new album “Bad Ideas” as a result.
Originally, Violet and her management scheduled three EP releases to break up her album rather than one huge drop. Violet said she understood her manager's intentions when he said that, because she was new and there wasn’t a large buzz for an entire work from her. However, Violet felt like she wrote the album as a cohesive piece and after releasing her first few singles they came to the decision to have the entire album released as one project.
Violet said that her album will becoming out in the fall and will be available on all major music platforms.
While the 26-year-old is focusing on touring and promoting her current project, she is still gaining inspiration from new artists she’s been exposed to throughout the journey.
Right now, Violet is very inspired by the writing and construction of melody by groups like Fun., Lorde and Taylor Swift.
“I’ve been going to more live shows recently and seeing what other artists do. I recently went to see Beach Bunnies and had a lot of fun,” she said.
As far as her online career goes, Violet said she doesn’t plan to go back to YouTube in the traditional sit-down sense because she’s on a new journey.
“I’m in a new place right now and this is how I’m now choosing to share my stories — I do that through my music,” Violet said.