Soul singer-songwriter Tess Henley began Suzuki piano training at age three, and by age five was dissecting harmonies that even her mother – a singer by trade – found difficult. Multi-Grammy winning producer Don Was (Rolling Stones, John Mayer, Bonnie Raitt) recently selected Henley from over 10,000 performers as the winner of Guitar Center’s National Artist Discovery Program.
“She’s unlike any artist that’s out there now, a world class singer with a true gift” says Was. Billboard describes her music as a classy brand of soulful R&B that could hold up in any era of Was’ storied career.
Was produced Henley’s latest EP, “Wonderland”, tracked at Hollywood’s Henson Recording Studios (birthplace of celebrated projects like Carole King’s Tapestry and Joni Mitchell’s Blue). Acclaimed musicians included drummer James Gadson (Beck, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers), James Hutchinson on bass (Bonnie Raitt, BB King), guitarist Mark Goldenberg (Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt), Mike Finnigan on Hammond Organ (Jimi Hendrix, Michael McDonald), percussionist Michito Sanchez (Train, Aretha Franklin), string arranger Davide Rossi (Ed Sheeran, Coldplay) and Henley on keyboards, vocals and background vocals.
As Was describes the project, “Sometimes magic just happens, you can’t really legislate that. There’s no producer in the world who can make that happen. All you can do is try to set up a situation where if lightning strikes the room, you’ve got the tape rolling. And lightning struck. It was a really charmed session, and Tess was amazing, didn’t miss a note all day.”
Henley honed her live performance by sharing the stage with folks like Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton, Boy George & Culture Club, Eric Hutchinson, Jon McLaughlin, Bettye Lavette & more, while continuing to build her profile as a songwriter. She made her national television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2015, where she performed a pair of songs from“Wonderland.” Henley’s songs have won over $100,000 in awards and honors over the last few years.*