Tenille Townes grew up in Grand Prairie, Canada, about a 45-hour drive away from her current hometown of Nashville, Tennesee. Townes describes how country music was a big part of the identity of the people in Northern Alberta, always being played around the kitchen table as well as in the tractors on the farms. Her parents taught her the meaning of hard work from a young age, starting their own business out of their garage, showing her that anything you put your mind to, you can go after.
“I fell in love with music in the backseat of the car and would follow along with all of the lyric booklets and obsess over all of the songwriters and my favorite artists and dreamed of coming to Nashville,” Townes tells us in a recent phone conversation. She explains that what she listened to growing up all depended on who was at the steering wheel. Her dad loved rock music and always played U2. While her mother was a big listener of powerhouse woman vocalists including Shania Twain, Martina McBride, and the Dixie Chicks. Her grandparents however really set the tone for her love of country music, playing Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and even Elvis Presley. “The storytelling aspect is something I love and have grown to love even more since moving to Nashville,” she explains. “The writers like Lori McKenna, Caitlyn Smith, and Patty Griffin… I just love that element of the songwriting parts of music.”
Her grandparents gave her her first guitar when she was fourteen years old, and she made her first writing trip to Nashville shortly after that. From a young age, she was in awe of Music City and the community of songwriters it nurtured.
Another element of her life that was important to her besides making music was philanthropy. Big Hearts for Big Kids is an organization Townes is involved with that has raised over 1.5 million dollars since its inception just under a decade ago. “Honestly, to me that is what music is for, that’s what it always been about. I am lucky to have grown up in a home that believes in the power in looking out for one another and that is part of what we did as a family. As a community you show up at all kinds of local events and reach out your hand to whoever you could,” she thoughtfully explained. Organizing the concert in her hometown each year and raising money for this shelter is something she is most proud of, seeing a small group of people come together to really make a difference. We asked if it was something she would be interested in continuing now that she has moved to Nashville to which she told us “Absolutely, one of the things I am most excited for is to draw a spotlight to the things that I love and that I am passionate about and be able to see how that can grow alongside the music.”
Townes has been writing and honing her craft ever since she moved to Nashville four years ago, getting into writing rooms with some of the best writers in town. She released “Living Room Worktapes” which is a project featuring four songs she has written and recorded in their rawest form, no fancy production just her impeccable voice and her meaningful lyrics. “A lot of times Nashville songwriting can feel a lot like a living room where you are sitting around having a conversation with someone you just met or maybe some old friends and all of the sudden you are sitting around talking about something that inspires you and a few hours later you leave with this song that didn’t exist in the world before that moment,” she tells us. She wants the listener to feel the symbolism of a living room, a homey, common place you can have a conversation and feel less alone.
This summer Townes will join her idols Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town on the road for their Bandwagon Tour which will hit the tri-state area on July 19th at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. “I am so excited to see all of these cities, the only one I’ve been to is Toronto so this is going to be quite the adventure,” she tells us. Another exciting moment for Townes will happen on June 23rd, as she just announced via Instagram that she will be taking the stage for her Grand Ole Opry debut. For more tour dates and tickets head to www.tenilletownes.com and be sure to follow Tenille on Instagram,Twitter, and Facebook.
Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC!
Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!