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Spotlight: Tenille Townes

 MODERATED BY ERIN OSMON

The GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to welcome Tenille Townes to the Museum’s intimate 200-seat Clive Davis Theater for an evening including a conversation about her creative process with her latest project, As You Are, her career, and more, with a performance to follow.

For Tenille Townes, writing songs is a way of reaching out to anyone longing to make sense of a wildly confusing world. In the last five years alone, the Canada-born artist’s full-hearted and soul-searching songwriting has led to such milestones as touring with legends like Stevie Nicks, Miranda Lambert and Shania Twain and taking home two JUNO Awards — all while building up a globe-spanning fanbase irresistibly drawn to her intensely honest storytelling. With her many accolades also including 17 Canadian Country Music Association Awards and two Academy Of Country Music Awards, the Nashville-based rising star now begins a bold new chapter with her most fully realized work to date: a gorgeously sculpted batch of songs that bring a moodier and more unfettered sound to her compassionate lyrical outpouring.

“What I love about making music is the potential for my songs to meet people right where they are, but then leave them feeling a little bit more seen and lifted-up than they were before,” says Townes. “I feel like it’s my job to make sure people come away with some sense of hope, even if it’s just the comfort of knowing that someone else out there feels the same way they do.” 

The first offering from Townes’ latest body of work, “As You Are” strays sonically from past hits like her Gold-certified, chart-topping smash “Somebody’s Daughter” and leans toward a more spacious and hypnotic breed of Americana. In composing the track’s gauzy guitar tones and shapeshifting textures, Townes headed to the Seattle area to collaborate with producer/engineer Ryan Hadlock—a GRAMMY nominee known for his work with Brandi Carlile, The Lumineers, and seminal alt-rock acts like Blonde Redhead and The Afghan Whigs. “I’d been feeling the need to explore a new sonic direction, something that would hold space for real vulnerability but also allow for more of the indie-rock edge that my band and I organically bring to our shows,” says Townes. Written by Townes, Maggie Chapman (The Highwomen, Wafia) and David Pramik (Joy Oladokun, LANY), “As You Are” ultimately matches its mesmerizing sound with a tender meditation on shame, acceptance, and unconditional love. “The whole time we were working on that song I was thinking about the idea of loving all the parts of someone, especially the parts they’re scared to show to the world,” says Townes. “When I listened back later, it hit me that on a much deeper level I’d written exactly what I’d want to hear when I’m struggling and putting up walls: someone to tell me, ‘Hey, you’re good just as you are. Don’t change a thing.’”

By embracing a more stripped-back and free-flowing sound than she’d ever attempted before, Townes has exponentially magnified the intimacy of her music—an element that’s especially abundant in her live performance. “I think a lot of people come to see me for the more emotional songs, but we also love to have those moments that feel like an explosion of joy, where everyone can have fun and stomp around and forget about everything else for a while,” says Townes, who’s now toured with Keith Urban, Reba, Zac Brown Band, Stevie Nicks, and Dierks Bentley. Referring to her live show as a “safe space where everyone can be whoever they are,” Townes is quick to note that the most rewarding moments often occur at the end of the night, when she gets to interact with her fans one-on-one. “To me, the greatest measure of success is the stories that people share with me about how my songs have affected them,” she says. “It just proves how powerful music can be—there can be a door inside you that’s closed for a long time, and then you hear a song that cracks it open a bit, and all of a sudden there’s light coming in. It’s always a reminder to keep creating what feels true to me, so that hopefully it’ll end up making other people feel more understood.” 

Member Check – In: 6:30pm

Nonmember Check – In / Doors: 7:00pm

Show Time: 7:30pm

American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets from Thu 3/28 10:30AM through Sat 3/30 11AM.   

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