Tess in Venice makes dark, strangely hopeful and catchy little songs. With a knack for avoiding being pinned to one genre, and using instruments as tools of expression, Tess takes a piano or guitar and shapes off kilter outsider music that hits you with lyrical honesty yet transports you with its jagged beauty.
Tess came to listener’s attention with her 2013 debut ‘Let’s Compare Scars’, an eclectic collection of piano driven songs full of dark intrigue as the title suggests. ‘It is hard to believe that her EP is a debut, as she has a bedrock maturity that usually comes from developing many studio productions…..irrefutably original with a voice that could make an angel high-five her.’ —- Lisa Torem, Penny Black Music
Classically trained on the piano Tess took a deliberate step in the opposite direction with her 2015 follow up. Teaching herself to play guitar resulted in the garage infused ‘Flood Heart Fly’, the folk-grunge single ‘Once Upon A Time’ garnering support from Absolute Radio (Frank Skinner’s Show) and Tess appearing in London backed by her band and ‘artful inspirational aesthetic’ —- American Pancake
Shying away from a predictable return, Tess released a seven minute piece “Polly Psyche” in 2016, a modern re-telling of the story of Cupid and Psyche, elaborately arranged yet full of modern day emotion. In the same vein later in the year Tess made a musical setting of the Dylan Thomas poem “The Force That Through The Green Fuse” for Dylan Thomas Night, making a special appearance live on Resonance FM. These two classically inspired works set Tess apart as not just a songwriter but a serious composer and interpreter.
Born in Melbourne Australia, Tess Cunningham spent her childhood and teens performing as a ballet dancer, touring internationally and resulting in her being based in London. A practise of writing songs every day emerged as a way to process her feelings, coupled with illustrating and making videos using her own choreography for her songs. Tess has varied influences from painters and poets to Prince and Prokofiev, but her main inspiration comes from her own life and drawing from her mutli-cultural experiences.
‘Show Me Summer’, the new summer single is out on September 1.