A year is a long time in the fast moving life of a singer-songwriter, and Big Nickel native Tessa Gooden can most certainly attest to that! After releasing her very first EP ‘Blackwater’ last spring Tessa was swept away on a whirlwind USA tour (read about it here and here), a slew of big city shows in Toronto and locally a performance at the official Our Crater Launch Party last July and Up Here in August. Now signed to a label with Akashic Rekords and more driven than ever Tessa has hit us with another shockwave with her second EP ‘Quake’! With Europe calling we caught up with the RnB mogul to find out what’s next.

Its been a year since we’ve caught up with you last coming off of your USA tour and release of your first EP. What exciting new opportunities have come your way since our last update? 

Well, there have actually been come crazy things happening since we did my USA Tour Diary! I obviously continued to play MANY shows throughout the summer after my US tour some highlights including UP Here 2016 in Sudbury, Youth Day Toronto in Dundas Square in front of 20 000 people, and opening for DJ Jazzy Jeff at EFS in Toronto for the Young Hollywood TIFF after-party. I was also able to shortly after I signed my record contract with Akashic Rekords and digital distribution deal with ILS Group/Universal Music Group. From there it was really sort of back to the beginning of the cycle which starts (and really mostly consisted…ha!) with our team writing and being in the studio recording, and  is now finally leading to taking the new record and heading back on the road.

Your new EP Quake just came out May 12th and we are loving it! Tell us about your experience making this record? How was the process different from your first EP? 

Awwww shucks! Making ‘Quake’ was a HUGE leap for me because it was the first time I basically had an entire team at my disposal as well as the resources and time to make things great quality but also authentic to what I wanted as artist. I grew up being a musician and listening to live music, and because of leaning toward an RnB/HipHop genre I lost that connection with live instrumentation on my first EP ‘Black Water’. So naturally having totally live instrumentation on ‘Quake’ was something I was really serious about. This recording process led to collaboration and connections with some of the best musicians and producers in Toronto (big shout out to my producer Igor Vrabac of Akashic Rekords and my producing/writing partner Peter Balaz who I would not be able to make this music without!!) I have been incredibly blessed and my days at the office/studio consist of making music and taking in crazy amounts of knowledge from people with Junos and Grammys sitting behind them on bookshelves. I am inspired and enriched by the people I worked with on this record/every day.

I was also able to do my EP release show at the Opera House in Toronto, which is definitely a bucket list venue and such a beautiful space in general. I never thought I would ever release anything anywhere so massive and incredible.

You just returned from Amsterdam where you were invited to perform in CIMA’s Canadian Blast showcase at New Skool Rules Festival! What an exciting opportunity! Tell us about how you were selected and your time performing abroad? 

Well I will start by saying Amsterdam was the opportunity of a lifetime. CIMA is an unbelievable organization that allows Canadian artists the opportunity to showcase their music internationally through music festivals and conferences all around the world. Their application process is very straightforward and asks for performance/social media/website links etc. I will admit I have applied to MANY CIMA showcases unsuccessfully haha! But I guess persistence payed off and I was finally selected for their Canadian Blast at New Skool Rules in Rotterdam (about an hour outside of Amsterdam). The actual performance was at BIRD Nightclub and was attended by music industry and label representatives from all over the world as well as fellow international RnB and Hip Hop recording artists and performers. I was so lucky to be able to perform and then network closely with all of these amazing people, securing connections far and wide. I was able to book two more performances off of my Canadian Blast performance as well as record, write and collaborate with artists I met during NSR in the studio in Amsterdam. I am also now in talks with a tour promoter planning a more extensive European tour. None of these opportunities would be possible without the experience of NSR and exposing myself to an audience that otherwise would be so far from my reach.

Your hard work is really paying off having received a nomination for Best Vocal Performance at NOMFA, a mainstage performance at Up Here 2016, and a killer set at the Our Crater Launch Party last summer! You receive so much love back home, how is it representing Sudbury in the Toronto scene?  

Oh shucks…again…Yes, Sudbury is consistently SO GOOD to me so you will always find me looking for a reason to come back and play. I think the NOMFAs are a perfect example of how just because you’re from the Big Nickel, doesn’t mean you can’t make your mark on this music industry. Toronto is a big scene but its a small industry. I have found, like with anything, your attitude always determines your place and your success. I moved to Toronto with the same mentality I took from the small Sudbury scene which was ‘be supportive, go see shows, support and promote the local talent’. In Toronto it can be a little bit more of a colder and competitive mentality, and although there is a lot of talent to comb through the most success is found where the best attitudes are found and where people look forward to working with you. I always maintain a positive and playful attitude even in stressful or unfavourable situations and people from Toronto usually respond with “you’re not from here, are you?”. As far as I see it, we are all artists trying to express ourselves, so I’m rooting for you!

What’s next for you and Quake? Do you have any performances coming up in the area?

I just returned from Winnipeg for Canada day to perform in the Northern Touch Music Festival and then I will be heading back to figure out my future Toronto/Sudbury shows.

Where can we follow your music?

All of my music links are on my website! Quake is available on ALL streaming platforms <3 .


Jessica Lovelace is a Public Relations and Communications grad, musical theatre enthusiast, lover of live music and part-time unicorn tamer. Some have said that the Big Dripper from Sub City is a regional delicacy and the perfect end to a Sudbury Saturday Night – Jessica is definitely one of those people. No, the hair is not a perm.

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