Tenille Townes is perched in the corner of a room, surrounded by empty walls and boxes. From the off, she is the kind, gentle-natured personality that so many have warmed to, not just in her career but as a teenager with the desire and heart to help. It's not too poetic to suggest she's a bright light drenching a dark room, set on being unwaveringly open about herself, whether that be through the thematic heart of her music or in simple connection through conversation.
In the quiet, low-lit space, it feels like a moment of reflection for the Canadian artist. Following the CMA Awards the evening before - a surreal event not like many this year and certainly not without its controversy - Townes is sharing the morning in her recently purchased house in Nashville. In the midst of moving both physically and figuratively into a new chapter of her life in a year that's been so unpredictable, she beams humbly at what is quite a momentous step in finding stability, even just on a traditional level of achievement.
As we discuss the trials and tribulations of the year, what is so striking is Townes' unflinching sincerity. She's open about her desire to come to terms with the fact that she's allowed to have a good day today and a bad day the next; a balance of extreme moods that many of us never allow ourselves the right to have. She's just as candid about her songwriting, at a time when deep isolation can stifle fledgling creativity.
It comes to show that at anytime - but particularly when you catch her in the moment - Tenille Townes is one of the most compassionate and spiritually-receptive artists in the industry.
You've always been quite open, not only through the expression in your music but the way you connect with the world on a personal level. Do you think, looking back now, that being open helps you process everything that's happened this year ?
I guess there's a foundation of that connection element and it being ok to be vulnerable. Music has taught me to be more vulnerable in those ways, it shows me the power of letting those walls down and that we're not alone in the things we go through. Being able to lean on music in my life, and especially in this season, has been something helpful that shows me how to do that - it's maybe not something that's super natural in my life, music is a gateway that makes it a lot easier you know.
Its almost like a guide isn't it?
A guide, I love that - it's going to go with you wherever you need to go.
In the same respect - your music is so observant, you've expressed how much of a crux it is to you to understand the world and everyone within it. With the situation being the way it is, have you found your songwriting has become more introspective?
I would say that seems true, yes. There's a lot more internal processing that's happened this year where before this season, my favourite thing was to observe outside and just be a witness, and I think this year it's forced me to look inside a little bit more. So writing has been a little more personal, it's still got that perspective element to it, but it's been my lifeline at this time to just disappear into a song and forget about the world - it's a very helpful thing to me to be able to have that outlet and a safe place to be able to feel some things.
Does it feel more exposing?
It is. Sometimes that's a really terrifying thought, because these songs really do expose how I feel. There's a therapeutic element to writing, where it just really doesn't matter what the song is or what it does, because it's a healing thing - and then there's songs where we can share and it can be healing for someone else too. I think sharing any form of art for anyone who is a creator, it takes a certain level of courage to step up and go here it is, especially when its something more personal.
Now having been able to reflect upon this year, do you feel there's anything you'd like to personally work towards going forward?
I just feel more excited than ever to share what's on my heart, I think that's the thing I'm most looking forward to. I think overall, my state of mind is such a rollercoaster, one day I feel so great and the next I'm struggling, and for me I think finding a balance in that and being ok with the swings is something that I'm working towards.