The pandemic has upset and changed a lot of people’s lives, and Tenise Marie is no exception. The Argenta-based musician had all sorts of plans for 2020.
“At this point this year, if COVID wasn’t happening, I would have been driving across Canada right now,” she says. “I was booked in Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Then the plan was to go to Ontario and visit a singer-songwriter friend and do some touring there and in Quebec.”
Instead, she’s been doing small trips. The Valley Voice caught up to her in Fernie, on her way to Cranbrook. There, she’s meeting up to do a gig with another Kootenay musician, Maddisun, whom she met over Instagram during the pandemic.
“I said, ‘I’m heading out to the East Kootenays – maybe we should do a show together,’” she says. “So we’re doing a backyard show tomorrow night, outside, with the audience spaced apart.”
Physical distancing, open-space venues, and small audiences may have changed the performing part of her art, but not the need to create.
“It definitely changed my plans, but I decided to shift my focus into what I was able to do, and this spring and summer I just focused on gathering my assets – getting some good videos out there, getting recording going – there have been some really positive things happening, actually,” she says.
Marie, a graduate of Selkirk College’s famed music program, found opportunities closer to home.
“A lot of organizations have really stepped up to the plate, and in some ways I have benefitted from some local projects just by being local,” she says. “I feel really supported in that way.”
One project was at the Langham Theatre in Kaslo, which did a video series with local artists and art groups. It was a paid gig, always an important consideration. Then there was the online version of the Kaslo Jazz Festival in early August, another group Marie has been involved with for several years.
“As difficult as it is to navigate the world of online streaming etc., it’s been really cool to see some festivals transition to that,” she said. “I was asked to pre-record a set to live-stream at the jazz festival. You can never really synthesize the experience of live music, but I really support what they do, and they support what I do. I was proud of what they did to take things online.”
In some ways, these are exciting times for the music industry, she says.
“Everyone is navigating and negotiating, and there’s no handbook, there’s a lot of trial and error,” says Marie. “But trying to keep the spirit of music alive is really inspiring to me.”
Marie – who just released her latest single, ‘10 out of 10’ in late August – found that even producing her own music has changed.
“When the pandemic first hit, you couldn’t leave your house, you didn’t know if you could even reach out to anybody,” she recalls. “But all I wanted to do was record. I needed to do something productive, to be moving forward.”
Once things settled a bit she contacted a friend in Kaslo with a home studio. She started by recording the vocal, harmony and acoustic guitar tracks in May. Then she got a friend to record the electric guitar tracks. The rest, she had to improvise.
“I got my friend in Victoria to send me the drum tracks, so that was cool. It definitely showed a different avenue of what was possible,” she says. “Remote music collaboration has being going on for a while, but I think if circumstances had been normal, I would have chosen a local drummer.
“But because it wasn’t so much of an option I contacted my friend. Similarly with the bass guitar, that was recorded from a cabin in Argenta.”
In some small ways, having to do a recording the ‘COVID-19 way’ had its benefits. She says the lessons she’s learned producing a single will be applied to the album she’s now working on for release in the spring of 2021.
“I used to be really stuck on being in the same room recording. But technology is getting better and better, and it’s amazing what people can do.”
Marie’s new single, ‘10 out of 10,’ can be found on her website, https://tenisemariemusic.sitey.me
If you want to see the up-and-coming local music star perform, Tenise Marie be at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson on October 3.
– Valley Voice