Singer and songwriter Tess Mon Pere stopped by this week as her brand new album emerges, to talk all things song-writing, production, labels, Cali life, and plenty more. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Tess, great to chat with you – congrats on the wonderful new album. How can you define what On My Own encapsulates as a project?
Hi! Thank you so much. On My Own has definitely been the biggest project I’ve worked on thus far. This album authentically captures the highs and the lows of my experiences with love. It highlights what I went through and what I learned from having my heart shattered by love, to growing up and meeting people who teach me how to love myself enough to accept a greater love without the toxicity of my past relationships. All in all, this album is a timeline of how I’ve learned how to love myself and others.
There’s a self-empowering sense of freedom and personal strength to the collection, particularly the title-track. What do you hope are the main ideas or feelings that listeners take away from the album?
The title track, On My Own truly encompasses the main overall message that I hope listeners take away from the album as a whole. The song starts by acknowledging the beginning of my journey. I grew up feeling incredibly alone and out-of-place with my peers. I never really fit in with any clique in school, so music was really the only place I felt at home.
When my career in the music industry began to blossom, many people from my hometown looked down upon me and doubted my abilities to make it in this world. At the time, the comments I would get from people weighed heavily on my shoulders and I began to doubt myself as well. However, through writing this album and working on myself as an artist: I’ve grown confident in my abilities and I know with my current mindset and work ethic – I am bound to achieve all of my goals.
As I’ve grown older – as I sang in the bridge of the song – I’ve realized that this world is so much bigger than my past and my hometown, and all of the negative comments can only affect me if I allow them to.
Which song from the release would you recommend to new listeners, and why?
For listeners who are new to my music, I would recommend they begin with listening to the title track: On My Own. It has a fun, upbeat feel and the lyrics are a reflection of my overall experiences that I go into depth about in a few other songs on the album.
Do you think your style has changed or evolved over time, since the likes of Mantra, for example, and if so – in what ways does this album differ?
Mantra is definitely still one of my favourite songs I’ve released; however, I would definitely say that since that release, my style as an artist has definitely evolved greatly. At the time, I was at the beginning of my music journey and was still struggling with a lot of the heartbreak and grief of my past. I did not know how to properly translate my emotions into music at that point, so instead I recorded Mantra which comprised all of my goals for my future mindset.
Well, I would say I have definitely reached those goals as I have made maintaining a healthy mind and body a priority in my life. Now, rather than writing about my hopes for the future, I’m able to write more in depth about a lot of my personal experiences and how they’ve affected my life. In addition, I’ve also shifted to a more pop/r&b style with this record, rather than pure pop.
How do you write your songs – acoustically at first, production first, or just lyrics and melody? Are you also a producer or instrumentalist?
My songwriting process can sometimes be a bit random! I will randomly think of lyrics and concept ideas at various points in my day; while driving, eating, brushing my teeth etc.. Whenever they pop into my head, I type them out in the notes app on my phone so I can use them in the studio. Once I get into the studio, I have beats that have been sent to me from talented producers from all over the globe. At that point, I’m able to turn those random lyric ideas into songs using their production.
I grew up playing the piano and I would love to learn how to do my own production and audio engineering soon as well. I love being as hands-on as possible in every aspect of my music.
What effect do you think growing up in California has had on your creative drive, your personality and your work ethic?
I am incredibly grateful to have been able to grow up in California, because I believe it is a huge reason that I am where I am today. California is a fast-pace state so it’s helped me gain the work ethic and drive that I have today.
I grew up in a town where if you’re not working your hardest, you’re going to get left behind. My hometown, Fresno, was in the centre of California so it made going to auditions and studio sessions in Los Angeles much easier than if I were to live in another state. In addition, Fresno was in the center of all kinds of terrains such as: the ocean, mountains, lakes, deserts, and the city.
Growing up and being able to experience many different environments truly helped fuel my creative drive and see the world through a larger lens. My title song, On My Own highlights some of the pros and cons of growing up in my hometown and serves as a “thank you” for all of the lessons and opportunities it brought me.
How did you come to connect with West Avenue Records, and how has being with a label impacted your creativity and progression as an artist?
My connection with West Avenue Records began with the Musicash Competition. For those who are unfamiliar, Musicash was a music competition where singers from all over the world competed for a cash prize. I was a finalist on their show and that’s when my current manager, J Marino, offered me a record deal.
Signing with West Avenue Records was the best decision I could’ve made for myself. They’ve helped me discover my identity as an artist, they’ve introduced me to an array of talented producers and songwriters, and they’ve made many of my visions come to life so far, especially with my new album. This album definitely would not be what it is without their support.
What’s next for you – what do you have planned that fans can look forward to?
There are many exciting things coming up! Soon we will be working on releasing music videos, covers, and merch for fans! Those who are interested in more updates on those can stay in the loop on my Instagram where I post daily updates on my story.
What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
I can’t even begin to remember where I heard this from, but one quote that I remind myself of daily is that “you can not control what happens to you, you can only control how you react”. This holds true in nearly every situation I’ve encountered.
Life is not always going to be kind. People are not always going to be kind. You can’t control that. However, you are in complete control over how you allow these to affect your life and your mentality. Mindset truly is everything.
Is there anything else we should know?
Releasing this album feels like I am releasing my diary worldwide for everybody to hear. While it’s terrifying, it is also the most fulfilling feeling on the planet. My hope with this album is to share my personal experiences in hopes that others who are in situations similar to mine can know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that they are not alone. I want to help others in the same way my favourite artists helped me as a young listener growing up.
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