From Tessa Mouzourakis
Tessa Mouzourakis has a lot to say, and say it she does - the girl doesn’t hold anything back.
After listening to TESSA, the singer-songwriter’s debut EP, it is clear that she is a language artist. Wrapping hard-hitting lyrics in catchy melodies the songstress delivers her thoughtful brand of Country/Pop with the eloquence expected of someone twice her age. It is no surprise then that to Tessa, the author of countless songs and a published poet, it’s the words that matter.
“I love language” Tessa says “I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid and was always fascinated with the way one author’s story can connect with thousands of people. It’s what inspired me to start writing”. This appreciation for wordplay shines through in songs like Bad Boys, an ode to falling for the “dangerous types”: He looks like an angel/but he’s got the devil in his eyes/He’ll tear your world apart/Cause he’ll only break your heart. “I’ve got a good amount of teenage angst” she admits “but songs are the best outlet”.
In fact it was in November of 2014, when Tessa was chosen to speak at the annualTEDxKids conference in British Columbia, that she used teen angst, among other things, as the topic of her talk. “I found school really hard for me socially” she says “girls can be catty and it was tough finding confidence in a world that was constantly putting you down”. It was therefore in songwriting, she told to a packed auditorium at the event, that she found solace - using it as a means to cope and move forward.Take Close My Eyes for example, a song in which Tessa captures the essence of late-night anxiety with colourful imagery and conversational tones: No coffee in my veins/Just worries twirling in my brain/A collection of things I knew I should’ve done/There are things that I can’t change/There are past mistakes I can’t erase/But trust me when I say I wish I could.
It’s hard to imagine this maturity coming from a seventeen-year-old high school attendee. But ironically, according to Tessa, it’s where she finds the most inspiration.“You have the most diverse group of people, who would normally never be together, forced under the same roof for six hours a day. There’s always something happening”.
Music, for Tessa, started well before her teens. “I was always singing but it wasn’t until I was about eight that I began writings lyrics and melodies. After that it only seemed natural that I learned to play an instrument”. And learn she did, mastering the piano before teaching herself guitar and mandolin by the time she was twelve. Often compared to as a young Taylor Swift or Joni Mitchell, Tessa of course is honoured by the comparison. “I’m really inspired by both of them” she says, adding that other favourites include the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash as well as current country star Kacey Musgraves.
In fact, Tessa is lucky enough to be encouraged and supported by one of her inspirations, Sarah McLachlan, at her school of music in Vancouver. “It was there that I found the confidence to invest in myself as an artist, performing more and learning valuable tools in music and video production”. Since joining in 2012 Tessa has graced stages from North America to London, England, competing and winning in top songwriting/vocal competitions as well as headlining festivals across the lower mainland. A strong advocate for change Tessa has also performed at events benefiting Free The Children, HUM (Healing Using Music), Basic Human Needs and more. Catch Tessa this summer performing and promoting her EP across BC as well as in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I’m so thankful to be able to do what I love” she says “and I don’t plan on stopping”.