Written by Glo(w)
There is power in change. Don’t confuse this truth for atypical political banter. Though it rings of red, white, and blue endorsed jargon, there is no simpler fact: change is a necessity of life. It can’t be voted for nor against and isn’t carried by any one person. Change is intrinsic, a process of metamorphosis. Change is hearing whispers in corners, navigating you though life’s happenings. We can listen to these still voices, or stomp our way down any path that fits our whimsy. Either route leads to something new, both journeys ending with what’s promised. Change is the compass that leads you through a lifetime of growth in order to reach your destiny. As we witness the visual and auditory changes in Teszla’s image and sound, it is evident that she was destined to share her voice.
It’s a funny thing, to live life according to other people’s perceptions. Had this alternative R&B songstress listened to the ideals of others, perhaps she would be singing lyrics infused with spiritual symbolism. Maybe she’d never shared her gift at all. Possibly, her soft and velvety vocals would have been confined to sacred spaces where “worship” is the only whisper heard. Teszla, thankfully, has proven to be a listener of the portion of herself that is connected to divinity. And with her intrinsic changes displayed externally, we all have the pleasure of witnessing the rise of one of St. Louis’s greatest female vocal performers.
Listen to Art&B Vol 1 on SoundCloud and Get to know Teszla below.
For the record, what mediums of art do you partake in?
I enjoy all aspects of art, from visual to performing—which is my favorite. I love contemporary dance, obviously the art of singing and music. But I use the visual arts as a canvas to my music. I sometimes find myself writing about a painting that I’ve seen at a museum or a sculpture that really spoke to me.
How long have you been creating? What inspired you to use your creativity?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a singer. I was told that I would be a singer at birth. The doctor joked with my mother because my lungs were so strong when I was born. HA! I was about seven or eight when I wrote my first poem, it was the day my grandfather died. I was so upset that I immediately wrote a poem about him, which was used for the obituary. That’s when I knew I wanted to write… never thinking about putting it to music though. It’s not until I heard Celine Dion’s album “Falling Into You” that I really took a liking to writing songs. Her voice captivated me. So much so that I wrote a song and mailed it to her PO Box for fans. I didn't know what I was doing, but that was my first song that I ever wrote. My family also inspired me to do music. My father was a musician, and with that had a full ride to college. My mother also sings. I’ve watched her sing in church all my life.
During your live performances, it is easy to see the influence your church background may have on your comfortability on stage. Your command of the band was epic. What is the main source of your persona when performing live?
Let me tell you, I have not always been comfortable on stage. Due to my “church background”, I struggled with singing and performing secular music outside of my personal space. It wasn't until recently when I started to hear about other artist and producers who are current, and still confess a love God without singing gospel music. I had to really focus on myself and what I love to do and understanding that I am not “sinning” because I chose to sing and write music other than gospel. On another note, performing really just gets better with practice, and I’ve practiced, and I've been upset with myself offstage and I’ve told myself“no more”: sometimes you only get one shot so I go out and perform like every time is my last.
What have you learned about yourself through the creative process?
Whew! This may sound so cliché, but I’ve really learned to be myself. Sounds easy enough right? WRONG! In this day and age, a lot of people compare themselves, their craft, their style, everything, because social media makes it so easy to do so. This also comes along with knowing who you are as a person. The best thing I can do is be myself. When I am myself, people hear ME, they like ME, they see MY style, and it feels good being ME. :)
What is the most important idea you want people to get from your art?
“In art, there is no right or wrong.” I live by this quote when it comes to my art.
Everything that I produce is a piece of me, from the melodies, to the lyrics. I just want people to listen and enjoy.
A lot of artists pull inspiration from past creations (like older music artists, movies, etc.). Do you do this at all? If so, what are some of your favorite eras to pull from?
Not really, I listen to all genres of music from all eras, but I don't think I pull from these eras. At this point in my music, it’s just what I feel from the production.
What does the music of the future sound like to you?
The music of the future sounds promising :) I would really like for people to just “do them” and not worry about what people want to hear. If it’s good, they'll hear, even it’s new to the listener, they’ll hear, get hip, and want more.
What’s on your playlist? Who are you listening to?
My playlist is all over the place!!! I’m sure if I play it on a loud speaker I will get funny looks. LOL But that what you get when you hang with Teszla. I’ve recently been listening to House Music, which gets me going. Then I just found this band called JMSDVS, which has been on heavy rotation. I listen to everything, literally everything.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
At my most recent show, my sister sent me a text before I performed that simply read “be yourself”. That touched me. I believe I did that :)
How do you think the creating process would be different if money wasn’t a factor?
Honestly, I believe that a lot of artist now are creating without worrying about money and BIG labels, and that is why the sound is so good! I don't listen to the radio, I listen to mainly independent artists, a lot of SoundCloud and upcoming artist on Apple Music. A lot of artists today aren't trying to get signed, if it comes correctly, it comes. But with the outlets we have today, the world listens to my music while I’m in St. Louis. That’s amazing. I’ve worked with artists in LA, NY, Russia, Las Vegas and the UK, while I sit under The Arch :) We are getting paid, but when money and labels aren't in the forefront of a creatives mind, we provide music and art—real music and art—for the people.
Do you think it’s important for other artists to congregate and work together?
Absolutely, but with caution. You have to collaborate without hurting your brand. As artist, it’s okay to collaborate, especially as women artist, let’s work with other women: women producers, female rappers, and female vocalist with other female vocalist. I believe in that whole heartedly.
When can we expect another project to be released?
I am always creating but at the same time I am being patient. I would love to have another project out by summer of this year, but the more I travel, perform and experience life, new songs will come out of that. Let’s just say soon :)