Tess Henley
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Tess Henley

Seattle, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band R&B Soul




"Carson and Tess Conquer with Kindness"

It’s well past 1 a.m. at Belltown’s garish and mosh-pit-crowded Frontier Room club – the late atmosphere thick with a stale brew of fevered conversation, sweat and evaporating rain from an uncanny downpour that has burst open in the Seattle sky. DJ “Elad” spins a dated piece of crunchy skuzz-rock grime, “She’s a crazy bitch!” the refrain wails, as the packed house pulses and undulates, stewing in the evening’s last exchanges of lurid looks and watered-down drinks.

In the far corner of the dance floor, just beyond the perimeter of technicolor disco-ball gleam, is Seattle’s foremost soul-singing talent, Carson Henley, 25. Brawny, handsome, cheerful, and going mostly unnoticed aside from the small but enthusiastic coterie of anxious groupies who have him boxed in like a fox from the hounds. Carson laughs and smiles self-consciously, trying to ignore the jousting as the girls coyly angle for position next to him. As much as the singer looks the part of the libertine rock star – barbarously long corkscrewed locks, three-day stubble, vintage haberdashery – Henley has the wary posture of a guy who just doesn’t trust the moment.

Only hours earlier, Carson – flanked by his equally talented, and preternaturally beautiful baby sister, Tess Henley, 23 – brought down the house at a packed performance at the Showbox Sodo; the duo unfurling an enthusiastic and vividly expanded rendition of the soulful, dance-worthy R&B lounge-act that has created so much buzz for the brother-sister performers in Seattle over the past year.

The Henleys, with their enviable combination of toweringly soulful pipes, genuine musical chops, and wholesome good looks – but who vexingly perform separately on the same bills – have fast become the best “undiscovered” act in the city; delivering the kind of performances at places like the hip Edgewater Lounge at Seattle’s Pier 67 that without fail has tables and chairs pushed aside as the laid back lodge-themed atmosphere gives way to full bore dance parties.

Perched behind his electric keyboard, the early show jitters have calmed as Carson leans into his mic and playfully goads the Showbox crowd, “who here hates drama!?” The menagerie of half-lit, half-dressed girls who have crowded near the front of the stage throw up their hands and squeal wildly in unanimous support of the motion. Carson eyes them with suspicion, and then launches into his most up-tempo original, aptly titled, “Ain’t my girl,” about his sincere desire to avoid complicating his life with toxic romance. The mostly nubile crowd eats it up and Carson presses the issue, ripping into his vocals with the impassioned, adrenalized aggression of a performer who knows how to knock them dead when it counts.

By the time baby sister Tess takes the reigns, the point is moot, but the sight of the ingénue with the great big eyes and the even bigger voice resuscitates the crowd – only so she can mow them down again. As she struts and shimmies across the stage, Tess fills the sprawling venue with an almost superfluous vocal athleticism – the singular performance of the night to make the clamoring backing band sound like a smartly ambient afterthought. Brother and sister then reunite center-stage to close with their fan-favorite and mercilessly emphatic cover of the Jackson 5’s, “I want you back.” The applause hits hard, the chants for encore swell, and the Henleys have conquered yet another room, just like it was any other.

It’s near closing time now at the Frontier Room, and after the triumph of this evening, the young troubadours could be forgiven for luxuriating in the afterglow of the biggest debut of their careers. And yet, to mingle with Carson in Belltown, even at this hour (and to note Tess conspicuously absent from the celebration) is to understand something undeniably true about the Henley’s: they are grounded, almost anachronistically so, like modern kids wrinkling in time back from a 19th century finishing school – so affecting as they are of cautious courtesies and genteel attentiveness to friends and fans alike, their burgeoning notoriety be damned. Even as Carson is batted about among a smitten trinity of female admirers, fawning over him in an almost simian competition to pull and groom and stroke at his long, curly rock quaff, the singer just shrugs his shoulders and smiles sheepishly, more embarrassed than flattered by the adoring scrutiny.

As I approach to say hello, as beset as he is, Carson immediately makes a polite introduction to the girl closest at hand. She smiles and nods – an extension of her diligence as a shimmering reflecting pool for Carson’s interests. But as her concentration wanders and her eyes turn back to glass, despite the singer’s careful manners, I feel like I’ve seen this phenomenon once before.

On a much more temperate and sunny day a week earlier I meet Carson at a crowded coffee shop on Greenlake to talk about the upcoming concert. He shows up in a teal half-button tee, blue... - Gino Orlandini

"Woman of Indie: Tess Henley"

The music scene can be described as a rather fickle instrument, unless there are finely tuned musicians to keep things professional and fresh. After a surge of repetitive pop music and sultry dance beats it seems like things have gotten a little stale and out of tune. The idea of music, which as most people knows consists of a large number of styles and genres, has increasingly become limited to mainstream habits of sticking to a few, less traditional varieties. It’s no wonder that without that coveted number one radio hit so many artists fall in line, either pushing to create that hit or trying their best to get passed it doing what they know and love. Tess Henley, a finely tuned musician herself, managed to push through that mainstream line, setting off a few radars and turning heads; and not a moment too soon.

From a very young age, Tess was steered into the musical life by her parents who made sure music was a constant in their family. Her father would play her some of his favourite songs, while her mother encouraged a young Tess into songwriting.

“Our house was full of music, and we listened to a wide variety,” she said. “My mom has been in a band for over 30 years and my dad is a music junkie, so it seemed there was always some song being played in the house.”

Although she undoubtedly has her own interpretation of soul, Tess describes her sound as a mixture of old soul and R&B. However when she first began writing songs (back in junior high school), the music she grew up listening to fell comfortably into place and remained there.

“When I started writing my own music, it just came natural to write music from my soul,” Tess said. “It’s sometimes the best therapy to put my emotions into words and music.”

Soulful is absolutely the best way to describe Tess and her voice; soulful and effortless. Her smooth voice creates an easy listening vibe and is almost empathetic in the way she transmits her music. Her songs are easily relatable and you can feel what she is feeling, or you can understand the lyrics even if you aren’t paying close attention to them, because of the emotion and romanticism in her voice; she gets it. Take the comfort and piano melodies of Donny Hathaway, the sensual appeal of Marvin Gaye and mix in the steady vocals of Lauryn Hill and you’re close to Tess’ sound. Take her vocal range and power and you’ve hit the nail on the head when it comes to defining soul music. While her melodies consist of many instrumentals, mixing and fixing themselves into hip shaking tunes, Tess primarily opts to play piano with her backing band, having taken lessons steadily since she was three years old.

Whether by pure talent or her father’s ability to teach her how to determine a piece of music’s uniqueness, Tess has managed to keep things fresh in the studio and on stage by throwing in bits of orchestral sound on to her tracks and by working collaboratively, mixing with others in the recording studio.

“I have my own vision and ideas for my songs, but it’s really crucial to have other ears and perspectives involved, and to have that give and take,” Tess said. “I love watching people create in the studio; that’s when you get the good stuff!”

Collaborating and sharing ideas is a big part of what Tess has always done, having two other siblings in the music business, and says she enjoys co-writing with them from time to time.

“Although we each have our individual careers, we are both very supportive and involved in a variety of ways to help each other out,” she said. “I get the most HONEST advice from him (Carson)! Sometimes, it’s honesty I don’t want to hear.”

Her new album is set to be released this fall and available on iTunes or, if you’re feeling her sound and want to check out one of her tour dates, you can pick up the album in person.

“I see myself touring nationally and internationally,” she said, “making more music, and striving to grow more and more as an artist.” - Indie Music Reviewer (Teresa Di Matteo)

"Audio Premiere: Tess Henley – High Heels & Sneakers [LP Stream]"

As evidenced by his extensive writing/producing/rapping work with The Roots throughout the years, Dice Raw has an ear for talent. The big homie proved this once again when he put me on to the latest act he’s working with, Seattle songstress Tess Henley. Today, we proudly premiere the stream for her debut album, High Heels & Sneakers, produced entirely by Dice Raw and Khari Mateen (no stranger to talent, himself). Recorded at legendary Larry Gold‘s studio from the fall of 2011 to the spring of 2012, High Heels & Sneakers will be available for purchase via iTunes tomorrow (pre-order), but you can hear it in it’s entirety here. Tess made plenty of noise with her singles “Daydreaming” and “From The Get Go,” now get the full scope of her talents, below (get some words from Tess, as well).

"I’ve released a couple albums in the past, but this record is by far my biggest project to date. For listeners who are familiar with my music, I wanted to kick things up a notch and take the steps to create something that really encompassed my creative vision. For new listeners, well, I wanted to make them stay a while of course! In general, this album is very personal and real to me. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite song because each song holds a different memory or meaning. I just hope my stories connect with and relate to listeners. Too often in our world, perfection is the expectation. I’m definitely not perfect and don’t want to be portrayed as so. It was important to me that this album be raw, organic, and real (including all live instruments). Some of my favorite moments recording this album were when the horn players arranged parts on the spot, or when Khari grabbed a Tibetan prayer bowl and a nail file to record percussion, or when a spontaneous musical idea occurred. That’s when the real magic happens.

Working with Dice Raw in Philly was an amazing experience. He brought together a great team of incredibly talented musicians, engineers, and fellow producer/arranger, Khari Mateen. Dice and his crew spurred my love for Philly. It has a special place in my heart now and it was the perfect home for this album." - Okayplayer

"Tess Henley – Daydreaming"

Seattle soul-popstress Tess Henley’s “Daydreaming” grabbed us immediately with it’s insanely good Stevie-Wonder-school-of-songwriting brand of melody. The production on the track is little too A/C for our tastes but those melodies and Henley’s excellent vocal performance are enough for us to look past it. Great song. - Blahblahblahscience (Brown)

"Lady Gaga’s Discoball Outshone as ‘Applause’ Rushed Out, Names to Watch"

Tess Henley’s “High Heels and Sneakers” is a soulful fusion with mainstream rock that works best on “From the Get Go.” - 4 Stars - Bloomberg

"Music Video: Tess Henley - Daydreaming"

#Discovery artist Tess Henley releases the summer feel-good visuals for her new single "Daydreaming" taking viewers on a crash course of her falling for a man while daydreaming of him throughout the rest of the day.

Dice Raw of The Roots took notice of Tess upon hearing her current offerings. He took her under his wing and gathered his production team together to record her upcoming project. The release is said to feature Tess on songwriting for most of the project. - TheNext2Shine

"The Sounds of Success: A Look at Some Young and Very Talented Music Artists"

For those of you who read my articles, this is one that's a bit outside of my usual offerings however, I just couldn't pass up the chance to share this discovery with all of my readers.

As a person who usually addresses the more serious matters of the world, any opportunity to share a little lightheartedness is always welcomed. What better way to wind down from a long day than to sit down and relax to some of your favorite music? Here are a few young artists who seem to know where they want to go and how they want to get there.

Each one has a style of their own and isn't afraid to step outside of the box, nor do they have any problem putting new twists on old material. As you listen you can hear the dedication and desire that goes into each musical piece. Though some of you may not have heard of them, don't be surprised to see them doing a performance in the future somewhere near you.
Last but not least we have the lovely Tess Henley. With a professional singer for a mother and a record-collecting father, Tess was exposed early on to a wide variety of music and it shows in her singing ability. Having the ability to utilize a wide range of vocals, this young woman is a powerhouse of a singer. Her version of "What You Won't Do For Love" simply blew me away. Tess successfully put a spin on the old favorite like none I've ever heard. The jazzy upbeat tempo had me sitting there having a foot-tapping good time.

You don't have to be a music critic to see where these talented artists are going--the proof is in their music. - Yahoo! Voices (T.J. Larson)

"Tess Henley - Daydreaming"

Everybody daydreams, but do those dreams come true? Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, but for jazzy, soulful singer Tess Henley, her dream is just enough.

"Daydreaming" may make you smile and literally fantasize about your special someone. The music video is Henley's way of letting us in on a crush she has on her knight in shinning armor.

Did it make you daydream?

Read more: http://singersroom.com/content/2012-08-21/Tess-Henley-Daydreaming/#ixzz24Oock5KM - Singersroom (Gary Gentles)


Los Angeles, CA (March 5, 2014):Guitar Center is thrilled to announce Kent, WA native Tess Henley as the winner of the third annual Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter artist discovery program. Developed by the music retailer to provide emerging independent musicians a platform to expose their music to the world, Guitar Center’s Singer-Songwriter has quickly become the premier platform for aspiring songwriters to achieve the opportunities and exposure necessary to attain a successful career in music.

Out of nearly 10,000 entries this year, ten finalists were hand-selected by Grammy Award-winning producer Don Was to perform live at the grand finals Saturday, March 1st. Hosted by indie-darling Meiko, the finals took place at Hollywood’s Hotel Café. Following an opening performance by past Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter winners Josh Doyle and Jeff Campbell, each of the finalists took to the stage. The intimate event closed with an impressive performance by emerging musician Meg Meyers, giving Was a chance to deliberate before ultimately naming Tess Henley the winner. As the winner of Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter 3, Henley will receive a multifaceted career-boosting package including the opportunity to record a four-song EP with Was, receive digital distribution through TuneCore, recording time at Converse Rubber Tracks Studio, pocket $25,000 cash, take home new gear, musical equipment, and more.

Watch Tess Henley’s winning performance here:

As Guitar Center’s Singer-Songwriter 3 Winner, Tess Henley Will Receive:
A 4-song E.P. with Grammy Award-winning producer Don Was
$25,000 Cash
New gear and musical equipment
A feature on the award-winning podcast series: At: Guitar Center with Nic Harcourt
Recording time at the Converse Rubber Tracks Studio in New York
Worldwide digital music and publishing administration from TuneCore
Feature story in American Songwriter magazine

“I loved everything about this competition up until choosing a winner, which was absolutely agonizing, because all ten finalists impressed me. In the end, I chose Tess because she had a true voice and a strong sense of who she is. Not only that, but when I listened to her perform, I could envision the complete record we would make together. She has a true gift,” said Don Was.

“As an independent musician, this is a prayer answered. To be able to work in the studio with someone as talented as Don Was, I can’t even fathom. I know I’ll be in good hands. It is a blessing that competitions like this exist, and I can’t think of any other company that puts so much effort into supporting singer-songwriters,” said Tess Henley. - Guitar Center

"Tess Henley Is 'Daydreaming'"

This may be our first time posting anything about songstress Tess Henley, but after hearing her sing it won't be the the last time that she graces the pages of SoulBounce. The Seattle-based R&B singer/songwriter has just released the music video for her single "Daydreaming,"and the song is as happy and shiny as its accompanying visuals. Tess is going through her day but can't help getting distracted by thoughts of a tall, handsome chap. Will she get the man of her daydreams? Well, you'll have to watch to find out but this is a great introduction to Henley to those who may be unfamiliar. Expect more from the fetching singer with her full-length album with The Roots' affiliate Dice Raw on the horizon. In the meantime, cop "Daydreaming" on iTunes and get to know more about Tess on her official website. - SoulBounce.com (Butta)

"Tess Henley - Daydreaming"

You may see Tess Henley and think she has it together. I mean, anyone with a great set of pipes that can wrangle Dice Raw and the Grammy-nominated Khari Mateen to produce jazz and R&B-informed records, clearly has their head on straight. However on her DJBooth debut video, Daydreaming, Henley shows she’s just like the rest of us; she just can’t seem to keep it together when she spots the apple of her eye. In fact, the Seattle songstress admits to her dream boo that, “Every now and then I get stuck inside my head with you”. As smooth as Daydreaming is, it isn’t slotted to appear on her forthcoming album, dropping this fall, so consider this a dreamy appetizer while Henley preps the main course. - DJ Booth (Lucas G)

"The Matt ‘N’ Jeff Radio Hour, Episode 26: Tess Henley"

Tess Henley is a 25-year-old kid from Seattle — not that you’d know it from listening to her new album High Heels & Sneakers, which blends Henley’s confident brand of old-school soul with colorfully empathetic (and blessedly live instrument-based) production courtesy of Roots crew associate Dice Raw. - Popdose

"Tess Henley Wins Guitar Center’s 3rd Annual Singer-Songwriter Program"

Congratulations to Tess Henley, the winner of Guitar Center’s Third Annual Singer-Songwriter Program. The soulful, piano-playing prodigy from Kent, Washington has been working on her music since the age of three, and received top honors in the International Song Competition in 2011.

Henley beat out 10,000 other entrants with her performance of the song “Going Back,” and was awarded the top prize by legendary producer Don Was (The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan). As part of her prize package, she’s earned a feature in American Songwriter, and the opportunity to record a 4-song EP with Was. Check out the full details below... - American Songwriter

"Seattle's Tess Henley | Seattle Weekly"

Really impressed with the vocal range; soulful sounds draped all over her music. - Seattle Weekly (JC, Music Critic)

"Tess Henley “Who Are You” [Official Video]"

Some months back, we got a pleasant introduction to Seattle songstress, Tess Henley by way of her debut project, High Heels & Sneakers. The soulful release was entirely produced by The Roots fam Dice Raw and Khari Mateen, and held the attention of just about everyone who gave it a listen. For those of you who still need to be put onto game, go ahead and check the official video for track #2, “Who Are You.” Video directed by Jon Dong & Tess Henley. - Okayplayer

"Tess Henley Wins IMA for 2012 Best R&B Song"

Contact: Jude Folkman
Music Resource Group

Seattle's own Tess Henley join Company Of Thieves,
Girl In A Coma, Birdy Nam Nam, The Soul Of John Black as Winners of The 11th Independent Music Awards

For Immediate Release

May 3rd, 2012 SEATTLE-based TESS HENLEY joins a diverse roster of self-released and independent label talent culled from 6 continents named today by Music Resource Group (MRG) as the Judge-determined Winners of The 11th Annual Independent Music Awards (The IMAs), the influential international awards program for independent bands and fans.

The winners, hand selected from thousands of submissions from around the globe, were determined by a panel of influential artists and music industry pros including Keith Richards, Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, Ryan Tedder (One Republic), Pete Wentz, Lee Ritenour, Del McCoury, Ozzy Osbourne, Bettye LaVette, Jim Lauderdale, Joshua Redman, Shelby Lynne, Kevin Lyman (Warped Tour), Jason Olaine (Jazz At Lincoln Center), Alan Light (Live From The Artists Den), and Evan Schlansky (American Songwriter).

Tess Henley’s Boy in the Window was named the winner of the R&B Single for this 11th edition of The IMAs. Currently, Tess is finishing her latest full-length album in Philadelphia, the epicenter of a soul sound all its own, with Dice Raw from The Roots crew. The talented songwriter is fusing her voice and vision with Dice and his talented team, including Khari Mateen (The Roots, Jill Scott, J*DaVeY). The new album that Tess is calling “her musical thesis” is due out this fall. Last year, Tess won Budweiser’s Jill Scott/Anthony Hamilton Opening Act Contest and her music has already received international acclaim, all sans the aid of a major label or manager.

Details and complete list of 11th annual IMA Winners, Nominees and Judges available at: www.TheIndependentMusicAwards.com

Artistry Has Its Awards
For more than a decade, artists and labels from around the world have found new fans and prominence through The Independent Music Awards.

Produced by Music Resource Group, publisher of the popular industry contact database The Musician's Atlas, The IMAs uses its unrivaled access to performance, promotion and distribution to connect Winners and Nominees to new audiences and revenue opportunities.

The program receives submissions from artists previously on major labels as well as self-released and indie label talent from more than 70 countries on six continents.

Submissions for The 12th Annual Independent Music Awards are currently being accepted at www.TheIndependentMusicAwards.com/submit - Independent Music Awards

"Tess Henley… Her Shoe Collection Would Seem to Say it All"

Tess Henley… Her Shoe Collection Would Seem to Say it All

Although she may be a Seattle girl, Tess Henley she has quite a fondness for the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

“I love Philly. I really mean that. I really do love it and just the whole vibe. It has a cool vibe. It has its own vibe… It has it’s grit and grime to it, but I love that, and it has the culture and the history, too… and the food…”

The reason R&B/soul “diva” (You know what? I’m not sure I like that word. She is actually far too warm and friendly for such a characterization.) has so much to say about the 215 is that she recorded her upcoming LP, High Heels & Sneakers, right in Northern Liberties, with producer Dice Raw of The Roots. Although she’s currently back in Seattle, she tells me her goal is to spend the majority of the year on the road, supporting the release, so there’s a good chance she’ll be back here in the near future, performing her latest sounds.

Tess Henley grew up in a very musical family (a professional singer for a mother and record nerd for a father) and was encouraged to explore her knack for singing and melodies from a very young age. Her first few releases, which Henley handled more-or-less all on her lonesome, have received quite a bit of critical praise, but it is her collaboration with Dice Raw which pushed her to her current musicality and mindset. Of how her sounds have changed, she explains to me, “It’s definitely a different sound this time around. It’s pretty organic, all live instrumentation, right down to the percussion. It’s more raw than my first two albums.” She also tells me that the songs are largely inspired by her fondest youthful memories: “Musically, it’s a mix of the old soul and Motown I grew up listening to and the neo-soul and R&B I grew up listening to.” However, in terms of content, Henley tells me it reflects her more recent personal life: “It has a mix of fun, upbeat songs and spotlight, emotional songs. It’s a very personal album. A lot of songs are about my experiences.”

The album’s title (and much of its sentiments) was inspired by (and analogous to) Henley’s own, personal fashion sense. As High Heels & Sneakers would seem to imply, she likes to blend the elegantly chic with a fashionably fun, “street” sensibility. However, despite having such a notable sense of style, Henley tells me that she doesn’t have any formal background (or even understanding of “fashion”): “I’ve always liked fashion and design. I like color and I like shoes and I like jewelry, but I’m not really into fashion. I don’t really read about fashion or anything, I just wear what I like.” - Philthy Mag

"Tess Henley - From The Get Go"

Bad boy, good girl or bad girl, good boy is like a pothole that you cannot swerve around. From the inception of meeting the negligent lust, your instinct screams “no.” We’ve seen enough Love & Hip-Hop to know the end of the story. - Soul Train

"Tess Henley is the heroin of her own tale"

Kent native Tess Henley calls beating out nearly 10,000 other musicians to win Guitar Center’s Singer-Songwriter competition “incredible,” but she doesn’t use the word lucky. After all, talent runs deep in her family.

What else can explain that her older brother Carson also beat out almost 10,000 others to make it into the top 10 of the very same contest in 2013?

This year, Tess Henley and nine other finalists performed live at the finals of the talent competition on March 1 at Hollywood’s Hotel Café. But it was Henley who most impressed the judge: Grammy Award-winning producer Don Was.

As the winner, Henley will record a four-song EP with Was. She also receives digital distribution through TuneCore, gets recording time at Converse Rubber Tracks Studio in New York, pockets $25,000 and takes home new musical equipment.

“It’s a huge honor. I’m really excited. The money is a nice cushion. With the gear, I can do more recording at home,” Henley said.

Was said he selected Henley because she has a true voice and a strong sense of who she is.

“Not only that, but when I listened to her perform, I could envision the complete record we would make together. She has a true gift,” Was said.

Was has worked with The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Elton John, John Mayer and more. He founded the band Was (Not Was) and continues to play bass on records and in concert.

But Was doesn’t have a sweet spot for the Henley siblings. In 2013 Carson Henley was selected by a different judge – producer John Shanks.

Tess Henley, 26, is a graduate of Kentlake High School. She trained under the Suzuki Method for piano at age 3. Her mother was a singer in a band and encouraged her children to follow her musical path.

“None of us would have stuck with the piano if she hadn’t been on us to practice every day and took us to all our lessons and recitals,” Henley said. She also credits her mother for introducing her to singing, but said her father’s music collection was influential as well.

“Between the two of them, we listened to a lot of different styles of music,” Henley said.

Though both Henley siblings have different styles — she’s R&B/soul and he’s rock/soul — they backup each other at shows on vocals, keyboards and percussion.

“That’s how we started out — playing the bars and clubs in Seattle,” she said.

Henley also relies on her brother for business advice and they write songs together.

Henley has opened for Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton and plays her own solo shows, heavy on college appearances, while building her profile as a songwriter.

Being a singer-songwriter allows Henley to have more independence than if she were just one of the other. “If you can do both of them, you have even more power and independence to do what you want as an artist. You have a say in what your sound is.”

Henley said she is melody driven. “That’s usually what comes first, but I’m also picky with lyrics. When I hear a song with amazing lyrics, it just kills me because it’s so good.”

Henley’s single “Boy In The Window” from her 2010 EP, “The Appetizer,” earned a 2011 Independent Music Award for Best R&B Song, won the 2011 International Song Competition for SoulTracks.com, was awarded top honors in the 2011 John Lennon International Songwriting Competition, and was featured on the soundtrack for 2012’s “Hello I Must Be Going” starring Blythe Danner.

Dice Raw from The Roots and Khari Mateen produced Henley’s debut album, “High Heels & Sneakers,” released in May 2013. The album features 14 songs, including “Daydreaming,” which won the 2013 People’s Choice Independent Music Award.

Henley is expecting that the EP she’s making with Was will come out in the fall.

“I’m really excited for what’s next,” Henley said.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/04/11/3143838/tess-henley-is-the-heroine-of.html#storylink=cpy - The News Tribune

"ARTIST OF THE DAY: Tess Henley Tickles the Ivories | Myspace"

She’s opened for the likes of Anthony Hamilton and Jill Scott and released her debut album this spring—Seattle-based Tess Henley continues to hit all the right notes.

NAME: Tess Henley


CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: I’ve been really into Gregory Porter and Bernhoft.

FAVORITE CITY: Seattle, of course. I do also really love Philly.

GUILTY PLEASURE: A lot of food. Butterfinger ice cream is my thing right now.

FIRST SONG I COULD PLAY ON THE PIANO: “Very little hot dog.”

FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR: Cookie Dough, or anything with chocolate

FIRST CONCERT I WENT TO: My mom was in a band; so she was the first person I went out and saw perform.

MOST MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE: My album release show this past May—it was the most work I had done.


SONG THAT DEFINES ME: Stevie Wonder – “Knocks Me Off My Feet”

411: A Suzuki-trained pianist since the age of three, Tess Henley seemed destined to grow up to be a musician. Her debut album High Heels & Sneakers was released in May 2013, highlighted by the singles “Daydreaming, “From the Get Go” and “Who Are You.”

1. Who are you?

I’m all about family and the people who are most important to me—I put an emphasis on taking care of them and my relationships. I can be introverted and think a lot, but I like being active and I always need to have a project or I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve grown up with a busy schedule, and music keeps me busy.

2. What moves you?

Honesty and realness. I think more and more, things move me, as I’ve gotten older. I used to think my mom was crazy for tearing up, but now I catch myself about to cry when I was ESPN make a wish foundation specials. Really, anybody who goes through something difficult but still has such a great attitude, that really moves me.

3. How do you approach songwriting?

Because I play piano, I typically start with a melody or chords. Sometimes I have a concept before the music. More often than not, I start with the music, and then figure out what kind of song it could be. I typically write from my experiences but sometimes will pull from others’ as well.

4. Who do you admire?

Stevie Wonder. But also Taylor Swift—she sticks to what she thinks and believes, and I admire that. James Taylor is another artist I grew up listening to, and I would love to have the type of career that has that kind of longevity. All of these artists that made music so many years ago but still are listened to now, I think that is something really great.

5. What is your biggest dream?

I would like to have a lifelong career doing what I love and being around the people that I love. If I could have those moments where I sang a song with Stevie Wonder or another idol, then I would know I had “made it.” - Myspace presented by Levi's


Still working on that hot first release.



Seattle's Tess Henley began training under the Suzuki Method for piano at age three and by age five, she was dissecting harmonies that even her mother - a singer by trade - found difficult. She's honed her live skills opening for folks like Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton and playing her own solo shows around the country while also building her profile as a songwriter.

After Grammy-winning artist/producer Dice Raw from The Roots heard her music, he took an immediate interest in the young talent, taking Tess under his wing. He brought her to Philadelphia the epicenter of a soul sound all its own and introduced her to fellow-producer, Grammy-nominated & Emmy-nominated Khari Mateen (The Roots, Jill Scott, J*DaVeY). Dice and Khari signed on to produce Tesss debut album High Heels & Sneakers (released May 2013). The album was recorded at legendary arranger Larry Gold's "The Studio" over the course of a year and features 14 new songs, including the first singles "Daydreaming" (2013 Vox Pop R&B/Soul Independent Music Award), "From The Get Go," and "Who Are You."

Henley has built a highly regarded reputation as a songwriter, garnering over $100,000 in awards within the last three years. Most recently, Tess was named Guitar Center's 2014 Singer-Songwriter Grand Prize Winner on March 1st. Out of thousands of entries & 10 finalists, producer/musician Don Was selected Tess as the winner of $25,000, new music gear and instruments, and an EP to be recorded with Was, Blue Note Records President.

In addition, Tess' accolades include two Independent Music Awards, top three honors in the prestigious John Lennon International Song Competition, Show Me The Music Songwriting Competition Winner, 1st place in the International Song Competition for SoulTracks.com, and Budweiser's Superfest Contest powered through Myspace. She received $25,000 as the contest's overall winner, beating out thousands of vocalists (September 2011), including the 2012 winner of NBC TV's "The Voice."

Band Members