Premiere: Sydney favourite Tesse makes a warm return with My Madeline
As a keen multi-instrumentalist with his fingers in many musical pies, the Sydney musician is now condensing his craft down to a new solo record.
Header image by Harleigh English.
Sydney-based musician Tom Stephens is someone whose name you may or may not know, but there's a strong chance you've come across an act he's worked with in the past few years. As a keen collaborator and multi-instrumentalist, he's worked with names that range from Julia Jacklin to Georgia Mulligan, in roles that span from being a band member to a collaborator releasing work that teeters on the soft indie-pop edge, often interlacing subtle guitar with charming vocals rich with intimacy and vulnerability.
It's a contrast that shines through his solo work too, with Tesse - his solo project - releasing a debut album How It All Unfolds back in 2018, alongside the odd collaboration and stand-alone song that sits on either side of the record, including that aforementioned collaboration with Georgia Mulligan that we premiered last year. "It gets exhausting focusing solely on your own creative pursuits. It’s refreshing diving into someone else’s headspace and seeing how they tackle the creative process," said Mulligan on the premiere last year, and Over Now reflected that with each person's respective strengths weaving together with a charm that was impossible to ignore.
Now, we return with the first taste of something new, with Tesse eyeing an exciting 2021 ahead with the release of his first single in a fair while, My Madeline. It's a gentle, emotionally-rich single that really feels like his strong cards all coming together, intimate with its lo-fi charm but still capable of striking an emotional chord with its depth and vulnerability. It arises from a collection of demos recorded on his iPad, given a new life as he strings together swaying guitar melodies with a soaring and somewhat empowering vocal that feels like a cathartic moment, or at least captures the strength in those moments.
"My Madeline isn’t about any one specific person. I wrote it with the kind of person in mind who always has their fists up and is pushing back against life," he says on the single, which premieres on Pilerats today ahead of its full release tomorrow, November 18th. "They care a lot and sometimes too deeply. So much of our everyday experiences and occurrences are unfair and a struggle, but there is power in letting go when we feel disoriented and powerless and seeing it as a source for growth."
The single also arrives with a video clip directed by Olivia Costa, who reinforces the single's over-arching and unspecific values as they focus on people spread throughout different walks of life, detailing the connections to one another in the larger world. "Perhaps worse than being lonely is being misunderstood - I wanted to explore this idea in the clip for My Madeleine with reference to the work of Swedish director Roy Andersson," she explains. "This music video gives space to the unheralded moments in life; a celebration of the mundane, mediocre and monotonous."
It's a brilliant song that arrives with a spectacular video, and you can take a dive into it all below, ahead of its greater release tomorrow. You can pre-save the single here.
NOV 29 - Great Southern Nights w/ Yeevs (SOLD OUT)
DEC 10 - My Madeline Single Launch @ Waywards (The Bank Hotel), Sydney
Follow Tesse: FACEBOOK