There’s something about music… the words, the melodies, and the stories told through our favorite songs. Indie artist and songwriter Tenille Arts is a budding but blooming musician out of Nashville, and if you haven't heard her music, you ought to grab your headphones and get listening.
A dancer at three and a singer at eight, Arts was always a performer. She first picked up a guitar at age 15 and started writing melodies that turned into songs. Those songs now live on Apple music and Spotify, and she’s slowly but surely paving the way for her career. “Every day I wake up and I get to work with some of my best friends. It’s been quite the ride,” says Arts.
VV: What’s your approach to writing music? What types of things inspire you to write new lyrics? And what aspects of your life influence your output as an artist?
TA: I’ve always been someone who takes the time to sit down and write, and the lyrics and the melodies just come to me. It’s a gut reaction to what I’m feeling. Sometimes it’s a title or an idea, but either way I find I’m always writing in the moment. The ideas come first, followed by voice memos and a writing session. I get inspiration from the people around me—my friends, my siblings, my relationship and from my own personal experiences, and then I pick and pull pieces of my life together to work a new song. I think about the things that I feel people want to hear about and the things that are difficult to get through. Growing up, music was an outlet for me. I could listen to the music that said the things I didn’t want to say myself, and it's that experience that makes music so cool for me.
VV: In 2017, you released your album “Rebel Child”, which debuted at #2 on iTunes Country albums. Having an album that stood next to mainstream country artists like Chris Young and Darius Rucker is so exciting for an independent, woman who's breaking through as a newer artist. What did you take away from that experience and what motivated you to get there?
TA: It was honestly the craziest thing. It was the night of the release and the album jumped to #2, and it was so surreal to see that. I have an incredible team and I fully believe in all of us, but getting to see that people are invested in your music is the coolest thing ever. Some of the songs we actually wrote before the EP came out, so some of the songs were a year old. My manager called and listened to all the songs, and thought we had enough great songs to put out a whole album. It all started from that. It was a super quick process, getting everything together and having a release ready to go in October, but it was so worth it.
VV: Any favorite songs from the album?
TA: Rebel Child was one of the first songs I wrote with Adam Wheeler. We had written it so long ago and everyone kept talking about it. And I’m really glad we did because it showed everyone who I was. Sometimes artists will have those songs that you know they’re talking about themselves and this songs is who I am. It’s my story of leaving a small town and moving to Nashville to chase my dreams. For me, the title means so much more to me than what people think. It’s about taking on your own journey and doing your own thing. There’s so many ways to approach an atypical journey in life. When you step out of that and go after your dreams, that’s a rebel child.
VV: In addition to your success in way of music… I have to say that when we first connected, I was drawn to your style. I love a girl who shares my appreciation for black, and I love the way you play with different textures + statement accessories to create a look that’s edgy and classic. How does your personal style translate in photo shoots, album artwork + music videos?
TA: There’s just something about wearing black. I’ve always loved dark colors and I tried to fight it, but I eventually thought that if this is what makes me feel good, then I can’t step on stage without wearing what makes me feel empowered. Clothing can really make you feel like that. Over the last few years, I’ve changed my hair color and have experimented a bit, but now I’m all about keeping my look consistent because it’s what I wear in real life.
VV: Who inspires you—as a musician, as a woman, and as style icon?
TA: In the country music world, Miranda Lambert is a definite inspiration for me. She paves her own way and has done a great job of building a successful career while staying true to herself. Her music is a reflection of who she is. I also get a lot of inspiration from my mom and the people around me. There’s something about the people who are around you and constantly supporting you that translates as inspiration.
VV: It seems you’re making strides in your career as you just made your national television debut when you performed a song on last night's episode of The Bachelor during Arie and Chelsea's one-on-one. Such a cool opportunity! What was that experience like for you?
TA: Honestly, I freaked out when I found out that this was all going to happen. The song I performed is a brand new song that wasn’t on my album. When I found out I had this opportunity, I went back through all of my songs to find a love song. I wanted to find something that felt like it really fit the show. The experience of travelling and performing for the show was so surreal. I’ve never had such a big opportunity before so I wanted it to be perfect. Seeing Arie and Chelsea together was extremely cool.
“The lyrics said, “You caught me in a moment of weakness,” and I couldn't have felt more in tune with that moment because I exposed myself in such a way that I’ve never done before and he was literally holding me and making me feel so safe. It couldn’t have got much better than that,” Chelsea said of the date.
VV: What can your new fans who follow the show and loved your segment expect to see from you in the coming months?
TA: There’s a lot to look forward to in the months ahead. We’ve been working to put together another special edition of the album, and there’s going to be some exciting things going live as early as next week that we’ll be announcing through social media.
"Moment of Weakness" and "Rebel Child" both hit the top 20 on the US iTunes Country Charts, so be sure to download the single on iTunes, Apple Music or Spotify. Follow Tenille on Instagram to stay in the know with new music, events, releases and more!
photo credit — www.tenillearts.com + @tenillearts