Today’s Spotlight – Terez. We got to sit down with this talent artist to talk about her music and her newest release Hot Mess. Versed in the country music scene Terez also spends sometime in the pop world also. Find out more below!
Thank you so much for sitting down with us today. I know that you have been in the music scene for a while now, but how did you get started?
When I was about 10 years old, I would sneak into my brother’s room and play his guitar, which my parents were not too happy about. So, they ended up buying me a starter guitar for Christmas and I started teaching myself how to play and write songs. My parents aren’t in the music industry so they didn’t know what else to do other than put me in songwriting and singing competitions and have me play at local coffee shops. All of those opportunities helped me make meaningful connections to start writing for other artists, recording my own songs, and playing bigger shows. I had to hustle for a long time, but I figure it’s like any career – if you wanted to become a lawyer there’s years of schooling before you ever receive recognition for being a lawyer.
You can hear a lot of pop influences like Britney Spears, Ashnikko, etc in your music but what are some other artists that really inspired you?
Yes, definitely love those influences you picked out! Some others are Amy Winehouse, Ariana Grande, and Avril Lavigne.
Who are some artists people would be surprised that were major influences?
I grew up listening to every genre of music so I gathered a lot of seemingly random influences like Aretha Franklin, Guns N’ Roses, John Mayer, and others. I’m also a fan of Billy Joel and try to pull inspiration from his incredible lyrics.
You are originally from Alberta but hopped between there and Toronto and Nashville. What was it like moving around so young? What are some major culture shocks that were difficult to overcome?
I loved it! I love being on the road and travelling place to place without laying roots. Incredibly, I’ve been blessed to travel to Hong Kong, Beijing, and South Africa as I was graduating high school. This was such a culture shock that I never really felt the same shock travelling through North America. Don’t get me wrong – there were times when I had no clue what I was doing. I was so close to running out of money I would eat black beans with salt and pepper for dinner. But all those experiences shaped me into being very independent and resourceful.
Your big hit was “La. La. La.” in 2019. What did it feel like to finally see a lot of that hard work pay off?
Leading up to the release of La. La. La., it was anxiety central – I was so nervous about putting out music for the first time. I learned a lot with that release. Although there are a ton of online resources to help artists release their first single, it’s kind of like reading a book on how to swim and then jumping in a pool. Once the single was out, I was so proud and excited that I had taken that step. I wish I could go back and enjoy that time a little more. In hindsight, I’m really proud of myself for pushing through that transition from musician to recording artist, it took a lot of guts for me to do so, which I didn’t give myself credit for at the time.
As an artist you have played a host of big name shows, Canmore festival, Calgary folk fest, etc. Which performance really sticks out to you as memorable, and why?
I played the Stampede float in the Calgary Pride parade for a few years. First of all, each year this was the BEST crowd, so much love and joy from everyone attending. I think it was in 2018, that we were rounding one of the corners to finish out the parade and we came to a stop waiting for the other floats to exit. This was the only time throughout the parade that I had seen protestors with big signs chanting homophobic slurs and trying to ruin the pride celebration.
The float was stopped there for about 5 minutes and I got everyone hooting and hollering so loud that we completely drowned out the protestors. I remember holding back tears, it was such a beautiful moment. Even talking about it now gets me emotional – it was just one of those moments that will be burned in my brain as a constant reminder of the power of music and why I do this.
The main reason we are here is your new single- Hot Mess! Can you tell us a bit about writing and recording the track?
I wrote Hot Mess this past September almost as a joke to poke fun at myself after leaving my wallet in an Uber the night before – Hot Mess level 3000. I really loved how light-hearted and fun it turned out; We can all use more of that energy in such a heavy time. I travelled to Vancouver in November and recorded the track with Kelland at 2track Studios. It was a super fun trip after spending so many months at home. I’m so happy with how this song turned out, I love the early 2000’s vibe that Kelland added with production and overall how carefree it is.
The video is amazing. Really gives you Kesha meets Lights vibes. What was it like filming it?
Thank you, It was SO much fun! We rented an Airbnb out in the middle of nowhere that was a little bit out of my price range, but we figured if we shot two music videos there then we could make the price work. I won’t say too much about the other video, other than there’s a reason that you never see the main kitchen in the Hot Mess video… We started the Hot Mess shoot with all of the outdoor shots to make sure we had enough sunlight.
So, the first thing I did on set was spill champagne all over myself, which you see in one of the last scenes. The last shot we did was the opening scene where I roll out of bed, so funny how video shoots get all messed around like that. One of my favourite parts was flying the drone inside the house, I thought it was super cool that the ceiling was high enough that we could pull that off. I hope it comes across in the video just how much fun the whole team had shooting this video!
With several videos, and a ton of singles to your name, I must ask: When is the album dropping!
I’m planning on dropping an EP this Spring/Summer!
A fun fact about you is that you are also a proficient country music writer but write pop jams for yourself. What is it like switching between the two genres?
I really enjoy switching between genres, it’s like you get to play all of these different persona’s. I started writing a lot of K-Pop this year as well, which is a pop writer’s dream in some ways since it’s all so melody driven. Switching between genres and between being an artist and songwriter keeps me on my toes and makes every session interesting and different.
Do you ever feel strange giving away something as intimate as a song to other people?
I have a really weird intuitive feeling where I can tell when a song is for me and when it’s for a different artist. I think it would feel stranger to know that I’m not going to release a song and not let it live a life with an artist that would release it and love it like their own.
Obviously, live shows were a no go in 2020. What was it like for you to switch over to digital shows?
I’ll be totally honest, I am not a fan of digital shows – I think they’re lackluster as the performer and the viewer. One thing that makes events like concerts or sporting events so much fun is the exchange of energy in the room, which isn’t as prominent with virtual shows. I hope my love for it will grow because I would love to find a way to make digital shows more interesting and exciting.
How are you and your dog Bu handling everything? Are you still in Calgary?
I’m so glad you mentioned Bu, I tried to tell her how exciting this was but she said “it can’t be that exciting if there isn’t a treat in this for me,” not with her mouth but with her eyes. She has been a massive source of joy for me through this time, I’m so happy to have her and I’m sure she’s happy to have me (aka she better be). I’ll be in Calgary for a few more weeks but I am looking to switch it up. After travelling so much over the last few years, it feels really odd to stay in one place for so long. I’ll be recording most of my EP in Vancouver, so I’ll probably be spending a lot more time there over the next few months.
Recording your EP, what is something you wish you had known before you started?
I don’t have an answer about this specific project… yet. Early on in my career, I made so many mistakes and learned a lot of lessons from those “failures”. Believe it or not, I actually recorded two EP’s in the past that were never released. From those two EP’s I learned to take time to write way more songs than I think I’ll need, then pick the best of the best, give myself almost double the time on each step of the project, and to have a vision for the project for both the aesthetic and the goals, outcomes, and reason for the project.
What is one thing you wish that people knew about you that you never get to talk about?
One thing people might not know (or maybe just talk about) is how multifaceted artists need to be. I didn’t have a manager till about 6 months ago, which means that I had to write business plans, execute marketing plans, write grants, fund every project, book shows, run my social media etc. That’s not just me, but almost every unsigned artist needs to wear every hat and play every role until they can bring on someone who can take on some of that responsibility. So being an artist is truly like running a business while also being the brand, it’s quite an intense job in that way.
What are some coping mechanisms that are helping you stay grounded this winter? And you cannot cheat and say music!
My dog Bu is by far the most grounding thing in my life. I also meditate, journal, and drink a lot of wine.
Lastly our favorite independent and smaller businesses got hit hard this Covid season. What are some of your local favorite places to hype up and give a shout out to?
Can I very biasly shout out a friend? My friend Tanya Ryan makes these incredible beeswax candles with crystals wrapped inside. They are also extremely grounding in the winter. She sells them through her Instagram at @tanyaryanxo. Also, I love working with Calgary Recording Company. I’ve been recording a lot of my vocals there while being in Calgary. Lastly, who can live without coffee? Definitely not me. Analog Coffee is a must to keep me fueled.
Thanks so much for the chat! I really appreciate your time and the thoughtful questions.
Our Spotlight – Terez has come to an end and we want to give a big shout out for the fun time
Check out Hot Mess out now!
Keep up with all things Terez here
Do you need a Spotlight? The answer is yes…