Tess Henley Same Girl

Interview: Tess Henley Returns Better Than Ever

After a four-year-hiatus, singer-songwriter, Tess Henley, is back with a five-track EP, Better.

She worked alongside Jesse Boykins III on the project, and has already blessed us with two tracks from the forthcoming EP – which is set for release July 19.

Henley’s debut single also entitled, Better, is a fresh and upbeat track, which focuses on encouragement and helping each other out through good and bad times.

The vibrant tune dabbles between jazz and pop, making its appearance on HBO’s third season of Insecure, understandable.

The vintage-looking music video features Henley posing with three models to advertise numerous products, while being nagged by a hard-to-please director.

Edited by Rosanna Peng, the 70’s style video is set in a garage on a suburban street, and ultimately ends with the cast destroying the set after reaching breaking point.

The video resembles Henley’s battle with her music career and marks the latest chapter in her journey.

The multi-talented artist recently unveiled her second track, Same Girl, which features sweet melodies and soulful vocals.

The alluring song captures Henley’s powerful vocals alongside jazzy keys and captivating guitar riffs, highlighting Henley’s passionate storytelling.

The Washington state-born musician was born to be an artist due to her unique talent and her mother, who is also a singer.

Drawing inspiration from the likes of Adele, Amy Winehouse, Stevie Wonder and her mother, Henley has remained true to herself while musically experimenting, making her authentic sound, extremely compelling.

After her debut TV performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live and multiple projects later, Henley has constructed an EP expressing the latest chapter in her musical journey, remaining unmatched to other artists.

We got the chance to chat to Tess about her music, why she needed a break, and her previous aspiration to become a professional basketball player.

Hi Tess! Tell us all about your debut single, Better.

The chorus pretty much sums it up – it’s an ode to somebody who makes you better, inspires you, challenges you, is there when you need help or encouragement, and makes you want to be that person for them.

Why did you decide to go on a hiatus?

I took a hiatus because I needed change. I wanted to give myself space to be creative and that takes time. Kinda’ pressed refresh in a lot of ways.

Now that you’re back, how have you and your sound changed?

With every project I’ve released, there has been growth as a person and as an artist. I mean, that’s the goal. Life and art are really interlaced for me, so it feels like a natural course of progression. This project was like a renaissance period in my life. Musically, I experimented more and broadened my perspectives in the creative process.

Do you think taking a break is a healthy thing when you’re in the spotlight?

I think everyone needs a break now and then. The pressures that come with being in the spotlight definitely don’t help to refresh the human spirit. I think everyone should be allowed to be human and take time for themselves.

Back to Better, how did you feel when InsecureHBO/Issa Rae used your debut track on the show?

Insecure is one of my favourite shows and the music selection is always on point; so I loved being in that company.

How did you first get into music?

I started singing because of my mom, who was a singer in a Seattle-based band. She also began taking me to classical piano lessons when I was three years old.

Did you always want to be a singer-songwriter, or did you have other aspirations?

Since elementary school, I wanted to be a singer & pianist, professional basketball player, professional soccer player, and a designer (clothing and interior, duh). All at once! (Double duh). It was a tall order but at the time it seemed like I’d just have to juggle my schedule a little bit. In preschool I wanted to be a dentist. Have no idea where that came from but it didn’t last long. After I started writing songs, I knew that’s what I was going to do.

Do you have some more music or even a tour on the way?

More music on the way for sure. I made up a lot of ground during that time away! I like the stage of evolution with my writing and production right now because I’m able to bring my songs to life in a new way.

Finally, do you have any goals you’d like to achieve by 2020?

Release more music, make more music, and continue to be healthy and happy.

Are you just as excited as we are for the remaining three tracks? Tweet us @CelebMix and let us know your thoughts!

Written by Jodi

Journalist. Radio presenter. Music enthusiast. When I'm not writing, you can find me listening to the radio, reading, eating, binge-watching series (in an impressive amount of time), or on a plane to anywhere other than England!
You can connect with me via email: jodimmcgowan@outlook.com | https://linktr.ee/jodimmc