INTERVIEW: Tess Posner

Hi Tess, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? 

I’ve been great, thank you! Happy with my musical debut.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Feels Like Freedom”?

This single is off my first EP “One Thousand Petals.” It’s one of my favorites, because although it is melancholic, it ends with hopefulness. It’s also really fun to perform with all the high notes.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I wrote this song because I had to. It just flowed out based on a difficult experience in my childhood. My first ‘me too’ experience happened when I was just 15 years old. After that experience I became shut down, and my own feelings, deep underneath. Embracing emptiness inside felt like an escape from all the hard feelings. After a decade, coming back to myself, I realized that kind of escape only built another kind of prison. “Feels Like Freedom” recounts this story and the process of rediscovering my own voice.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We’ll see how it goes. For now, I did release a lyric video for the song and I’m thankful for your support on it!

The single comes off your new album One Thousand Petals- what’s the story behind the title?

I chose the name “One Thousand Petals” because it represents the lotus flower, which follows the arc of the story of my album. The lotus roots are based in the mud and it submerges every night into murky water, only to bloom again untouched in the morning. Creating this album felt like a rebirth similar to that of a lotus flower- going into the dark placed, but coming out stronger.

How was the recording and writing process?

It was deeply rewarding. This project is the renaissance of a childhood dream. Though the album has taken a year to create, I’ve been harboring this secret desire to make music since my early teens.

What was it like to work with Alicia Champion and how did that relationship develop?

It was amazing to get to work with Alicia. She’s a great producer and collaborator and an amazing musician herself, who has shared the stage with folks like Steven Tyler, Metric, Juliette Lewis, and Justin Tranter. She is also an activist and involved in social justice work which we connected around. We met through my voice teacher, Danielle LoPresti.

How much did she get to influence the album?

She really brought the songs to life, and also helped bring the best out of my vocals in the studio. She was awesome to work with.

What role does Oakland play in your music?

I recorded the songs in Oakland and worked on many of them sitting down by Lake Merritt, one of my favorite places in the city. I also get inspiration from artists I see at amazing venues like the Fox Theater, or smaller acts at First Friday. I’ve been enjoying going to local open mics to meet other musicians and artists as well. I love Oakland and the art and music scene here.

What aspect of your life did you get to explore on this record?

Many of the songs are about power and how us, women in this culture, are often asked to put aside our own needs and are made invisible, sometimes even to ourselves. The album is really the story of the journey of coming back to myself and reclaiming my own voice and power.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I tend to write in the morning right when I get up – just free flow without judgement to see what comes out. It’s an amazing process because you often end up with something unexpected that may have been hidden deep within yourself. It’s almost like you’re closer to your dreams and so are more creative in those hours.

Any plans to hit the road?

I’ll be playing a show early next year at First Fridays in Oakland, and planning some other local shows for 2019. I am also starting to work on some new material which I am really excited about.

What else is happening next in Tess Posner’s world?

In my day job, I run a nonprofit organization that helps create opportunities in the technology sector for women and underrepresented populations. I am really passionate about the work I do, and in many ways it connects to my music and the themes around power. Music is also an amazing creative outlet that helps fuel my other work.

Listen to One Thousand Petals

– iTunes:

– Spotify:

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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