Tessa Violet On Becoming A Bad Bitch And Empowering Others
My conversation with Tessa Violet was one of the most positive, down-to-earth and genuine interviews I have ever had with an artist. Her complete honesty with not only me, but also herself, led to a deep-dive examination into what makes her tick. Violet is a candid creature who holds no bars to opening up and chatting about everything under the sun including her early love of jazzy, Starbucks-compilation CDs or her peculiar and unfortunate luck while touring.
You may know Violet from some of her hit songs such as “Crush” or “My God,” which are currently circulating around social media. Or, if you had access to YouTube in 2012 and watched the viral parody video of Awolnation’s “Sail,” you may know her as the spicy redhead who gets choked out with a hose. Violet’s small-town roots didn’t immediately have her considering a musical career until she left and discovered that anything you put onto a pad of paper could become a song. “It just didn’t occur to me that music could be a path for me until I wrote a song, and then I was like, ‘Oh, nothing can stop me. This is what I want to do’,” says Violet.
“It’s very personal. It really is just the diary of my life.”
Her new album MY GOD! shares the sonic story of the long and arduous journey of finding herself after the brutal, emotional vacancy that occurs after a heartbreak. The insecurity she developed in the aftermath left an impacting pain on Violet that challenged her sense of self. “I went through a heartbreak, so something I used to struggle with is confidence in my singing voice and also just my relationship to myself,” says Violet. “It also affected how I was able to interact with fans. Because, fans would be like, ‘I love you,’ and I’d be like, ‘Oh, why’s that?’ You don’t know me—if you knew me, you wouldn’t love me.”
Despite Violet’s ability to capture the lasting grasp of depression and anxiety that consumes you after an unsuccessful relationship, MY GOD! is a musical amalgamation of hypnotic, highly-danceable and pop-forward tracks including hits such as “Bad Bitch” and “Yes Mom.” Adding contrast to the album are delicate melodies “When The Curtain Falls” and “Good Things Go Bad” that feature poignant arrangements of plot-driven lyricism. “It’s all letters unsent to people, things you wanted to say or diary entries to yourself. It’s very personal. It really is just the diary of my life,” says Violet. “[MY GOD!] starts out with feel-good pop, summer bangers and then it gets very personal and very sad.” Personal and sad don’t even cut it when it comes to describing “Good Things Go Bad.” Violet’s complete and utter vulnerability to the depression surrounding a soured love left me with a visceral ache. Lyrics such as “Like the moment that I fall, The moment that you run / So I tie down my shoes and turn to dust / because if I never fall then I never need to trust,” are especially soul-wrenching and so true.
“I think that we all, as people, have something unique and beautiful to bring to the world just in who we are.”
One of Violet’s most bonafide qualities is her relationship with her fans—authentic and compassionate, she knows many of her front-row audience by name and has no trouble reciting their names during our interview. “What’s really important to me is that I want people to feel empowered to be themselves and be in their power. I think that we all, as people, have something unique and beautiful to bring to the world just in who we are,” she says. Despite having a dedicated fanbase, Violet finds that telling your story can be hard when there are so many other artists out there also putting out their work. “I really want people to listen to my new album. I feel like it’s so good and catchy, and I’m just so proud of it, but it’s hard to compel people into your story,” Violet says.
If you have yet to be enticed to check out MY GOD!, let me help you out. This album is not a love story, nor is it a break-up story; it’s a story about life. MY GOD! is a collection of diary entries featuring soul-shattering truths and foundation-building revelations—it is the prose you only say to yourself at night, the intrusive thoughts and the conscious efforts we build ourselves up with. The tracks are raw, human and worth 40 minutes of your time. To anyone who feels how Violet has felt: “I feel good and I’m happy, but also, damn, I’ve been to hell and back,” give her album a listen and check out her show Aug 28. at The Soundwell.