Posted On 19 Apr 2019
Up-and-coming ‘anti-pop’ artist TILLIE recently released her EP, “LOUD MOUTH” on March 8th. The first single out from it was “Faith.” The video for the track, which premiered with Galore, spawned from an idea tiLLie and her creator came up with while on psychedelics.
“I had just gotten home and was listening to the demo as I was washing my face and suddenly I just felt like I was a teenager in my bedroom again listening to a song that was written just for me,” tiLLie explained in a recent interview with Galore. “I started jumping on my bed and just had this cathartic dance party. So, the video basically became a recreation of that with the help of the ever so talented Erik Rojas. It represents what I hoped this song would feel like to whoever hears it and is going through the emotional rollercoaster of a bad break up or healing from abuse. There’s no endorphin boost quite like carefree dancing through all your feelings. I’ve done it since i was a kid and will do it till the day i can’t dance no more. It gives me a release like no other.”
Watch the video for “Faith” here.
Following the buzz of her breakout EP that landed her on the Vans Warped Tour, the Annie Mac Show on BBC Radio 1, and on the popular video game Rock Band, “Faith” arrives as the ark of a new era. Produced by tiLLie and Benjamin Greenspan, “Faith” is an infectious and empowering anthem that inspires hope in abuse survivors seeking justice in the era of “Me Too” – even if the system fails: “You know damn well that I could ruin you / But if they don’t believe me, I can count on you. / Cause I got faith, you’ll do it to yourself / And you’ll do it better than anybody else / I got faith.”
FOLLOW TILLIE here:
Learn more about TILLIE in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
My pleasure! I’m currently on my way from Columbus, Ohio to Chicago!
Now that we are into the 4th month of the new year, how has 2019 been treating you so far? What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
2019 has been a whirlwind in the best possible way. I feel like I hit the ground running in January and haven’t stopped since. Last year was the hardest year of my life so I didn’t make any resolutions because I was too busy celebrating the fact I made it out alive. That being said, it feels like 2019 has been the year of harvesting the fruit of old resolutions and years of hard work. 4 months in and Ive already been able to tick off one of my biggest dreams – having my music take me to Europe – as I’m headed out to tour with UK band Yonaka and play a couple festivals over there just next month!
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Oooh, I’d say the most important. My mom always say that I sang before I could talk and that speaks volumes to the way I feel about music – it’s my language and the way I make sense of and relate to the world. The moment that solidified my desire to pursue it as career was when i was 16, laying on my floor, and listening to the beatles anthology. I had this moment where I was like “dang, these guys have a song for EVERY feeling and because of that i feel less alone in everything im going through. I want to write songs that make kids across the world on their bedroom floors feel a little less alone too”.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
I think I’ve had moments where I let the fear of failure creep in and starting debating other options, but I had to quickly shut that down. If you’re planning on failing, you’re not gonna be in the right mindset to succeed. Truthfully, I could not see myself being fulfilled doing anything besides music because as I said earlier, it is the way I identify as a person and if you took that away from me, I wouldn’t know who I was anymore. But if I had to choose, something to do with helping people – a therapist or a teacher.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest surprise I found is how long it actually takes. There’s truly no such thing as an overnight success story, maybe an overnight recognition by the mass media, but that’s not to do with how long someone has been fighting for it. It’s funny because on award shows the people that are nominated for “best new artist” are usually people I’ve seen hustling for at least 5 years. Although the length of my journey was unexpected and has been incredibly frustrating at times, I’ve really grown to appreciate the challenges throughout it because the extra time and road bumps have allowed me to clearly establish who I am as an artist – my message, my sound, my vision is and what I stand for is so much clearer and stronger because of it.
Why did you decide to go by something other than your own name?
Truthfully, Google is just too crowded. In addition to the princess there’s also a jazz saxophonist name Grace Kelly, which is my real name. I was constantly getting messages after shows from fans saying things like, “it took me three days to find you on the Internet but I’m so happy I did” and as hinted in my last response it takes a long time to build your following so why make it harder on yourself? Plus I love going by tiLLie because it’s my cats name and she’s queen. Every time I get good news I celebrate with her hehe.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live now?
The Atlanta music scene was filled with a lot of hip pop or punk music. The Atlanta music scene was filled with a lot of hip-hop and punk music, which I dabbled in. I played bass in a punk band and sang on multiple hip-hop tracks. it influenced me more so in the way of figuring out what I don’t want to do and I find that to be more important than knowing what you do want to do. Living in Los Angeles has influenced me by providing a community that’s diverse and dynamic. There’s a lil something for everyone there and it’s helped me find creative collaborators willing to take the same risks as I am.
Let’s talk about your newest EP, “Loud Mouth.” What was it like putting this collection of songs together? What was the inspiration for these songs?
the songs that ended up making the loud mouth ep were all conceived around the end of 2017, but it wasn’t until around November of last year that I decided what four songs I wanted to put on it. i really care about building a story over the span on releases and these four felt like the next chapter in it. it was about wiping my hands clean of abusive behaviors that surrounded and broke me down and reclaiming my identity as an empowered woman. it’s a declaration of who i am and what i stand for, setting up the stage for the next chapter of my personal growth. these four also felt especially important to release now because i realized this sentiment is one that a lot of women seem to be experiencing, and i wanted to release something that would help them navigate their experience and remind them of their power.
What has changed about your style of music? How has your creative process grown over the years?
I find my music now to be more unapologetically me than ever before. it’s bold and honest in a way I didn’t know how to express before. When I set out to make this ep, my one goal was to make zero compromises and I think you can feel that in the songs. In my earlier releases I was still navigating who I was and what i wanted to sound like, whereas in this ep, I feel like I finally found that. Last year was the most difficult year of my life as I mentioned earlier. I lost my big brother and it just flipped my entire perspective of the world and the kind of life i want. I didn’t want to hold anything back anymore and felt like the best way I could honor my brother is by living my life and creating art that was 100% authentically and unapologetically me.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Shania Twain, Gwen Stefani, and David Byrne. I saw David Byrne at Coachella last year and it was one of the most inspiring performances Ive ever seen. He is truly an artist in the sense that he makes every aspect of his live performance an extension of his art – the choreography, the stage design, the wardrobe… everything is done so incredibly well to create an artistic and moving experience. Working with any of those three people would be an absolute dream come true, but some other contemporary artists I’d love to work with are Kacey Musgraves, Hayley Williams and Lana Del Rey.
Where can fans see you perform next? How is your current tour going? Any favorite venues or crowds yet?
It’s been amazing, but not gonna lie, also very difficult at times mostly because of exhaustion and living in a van. But the second that i get to meet the fans after the show ad hear the stories of how my songs have helped them, all of that melts away. And in that way, this tour has been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. Oooh D.C. was fire, Cleveland was second. Some cities just have this intangible energy about them and those two definitely did. After this tour, I’m headed off to the EU and UK on tour with this band called Yonaka. I’ll also be playing a few festivals while I’m there.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
A trippy ass Tim Burton film!! I don’t think he’s every made a music video before, but i always say I wish he could direct my life, so having him direct a music video would be the closest i could get.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you take with you and why?
A guitar! it’s always been my go to for writing and god knows, I’d have to write to get through that experience.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
American Horror Story or any Tim Burton or Baz Luhram film.
Do you remember the first time you ever heard one of your songs on TV, in a movie or elsewhere? What was it and how did it feel? Where were you when you heard it?
Yeah! The first song I had on a tv show was a song called “Like You Do” and it was on the tv show Nashville. It was one of my favorite shows at the time and having a song on there had literally been a moment on a dream board I made once. It also premiered on my one year anniversary of living in LA, so i had a little viewing party with some of my closest friends and made all my fav snacks. It was definitely an inspiring moment!
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope that they realize they are stronger and more powerful than they give themselves credit for so that they know they will make it through their struggles. my mama always told me “it’s not what happens to you, but how you deal with it”, so I hope that my music can help people realize that they get to be the narrator of their own story and write how it turns out in the end.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
Up to this point, I’ve created all of my music, videos, photos etc as an independent DIY artist. Having a very limited cash flow can slow things down, but if you set your mind to accomplishing something you can make it happen and be your own damn boss!!