ARTIST NAME: Tilsen
SONG TITLE: Hurts
RELEASE DATE: March 15, 2019
Born and raised in Toronto, Tilsen is bursting on to the pop scene with her debut single, the infectious jam “Hurts.”
Tilsen was singing before she could speak. As the daughter of an opera singer, she formed a deep affinity with the human voice.
Tilsen’s songs explore real love; the highs and lows, the ecstasy and the pain.
Her vocals are intimate like she was singing her lyrics from between the sheets, into her lover’s ear.
With irresistibly catchy production and melodies, vulnerable vocals, and bold conversational lyrics, Tilsen tells a love story that is relatable to anyone who has been in love and wants to love better.
“I spend a lot of time reflecting on my life and my relationships.” she laughs, “I sort of document my thoughts and feelings in my lyrics.”
Her music is powerful, optimistic, and strikingly honest. Tilsen’s imagery is grand; from ballrooms to vast landscapes, there is a regal, vintage aesthetic and Tilsen is a dignified kind of sexy, whether wearing a Victorian gown or lace lingerie.
Tell us your names, country of birth, and childhood experience.
My name is Tilsen. I was born in Toronto, Canada. My mum’s an opera singer so when I was little we used to sing to each other instead of talking. It was like breathing to me, made me so happy.
My grandfather was a lumberjack 100 years ago so my family inherited a large plot of land in Northern Ontario with an old wooden cabin on it.
So as a kid I got to spend a lot of time on my own in the forest and swimming in lakes. I thought fairies existed and I was convinced animals could understand my thoughts. Thank God I never ran into a bear. I felt most at home up there and honestly, that is still where I am happiest and most creative. I love going up there to write songs whenever I can.
Tell us your academic qualification.
I had a diverse early musical education. I was in choirs from the age of 8 and studied guitar at age 11. I went to an art high school, studied musical theatre, vocal jazz, and opera.
I began to write my own songs in high school and dived into the arena as soon as I graduated, choosing to opt-out of a university degree to sign an indie label deal which I stayed in for a few years.
My education came from making music with other professional musicians. I developed my music behind the scenes for many years, viewing that time almost as an unpaid apprenticeship.
I have always been fascinated by human psychology and the subject of love, so my sole university experience was an intro to psych course I took at the University of Toronto for fun.
Elaborate on your music career, band name, experience, and skills.
‘Hurts’ is my debut single, so really it is my first step into my career in music.
I have been blown away by the reaction the song has been getting thus far.
Since high school when I began creative writing, I found writing my way of working through problems in my mind. Like therapy, it helped me to better understand myself and my relationships.
I didn’t want to release music until I felt the quality of my work aligned with my taste. That meant years working behind the scenes, developing my skills as a songwriter and performer as well as acquiring knowledge on the music business.
I am proud to say I released my first song independently and I am excited to share more of my music with the world.
Tell us your genre and idea behind your music video or song.
I write pop music. My song ‘Hurts’ is about the pain of love. When you love somebody they have a lot of power over your emotions; to make you super happy but also super sad. It’s when you feel indifferent that you should worry, your feelings for this person may be gone.
Love isn’t about being perfect or always getting along, it’s accepting another person and caring about them, through all the ups and downs, flaws and all.
Toronto-based directors Tim Myles and Clara Milo, whose visions are inspired by old glamour with a modern flare, approached the music video for ‘Hurts’ with an intense excitement to share my universe with all audiences.
Tell us how to run a record label based on your experience as an artist.
I think the most important thing is that the label and artist are honest with each other. It’s important to actually know where you stand with your label and that when they tell you that things are good, they truly mean it. That means, telling you openly when things aren’t going as well.
Tell us how you are promoting your music.
I really loved the song ‘Hurts’ after I wrote it so I talked to my friend, director Tim Myles and we planned a music video for it. The team at Ardamilo really brought my vision to life in the video.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
Explain the story behind the song.
In the session where I wrote “Hurts,” Emery Taylor (RMDY) and I were discussing how arguments only really hurt us when we care for the person we’re fighting with.
And by the same token, when that person says or does nice things, they can completely lift our mood. After that moment, “Hurts” felt like it wrote itself, it was so effortless.
The song is produced by RMDY, mixed by Davey Badiuk (Whethan, Liam Gallagher, Dragonette), and mastered by Chris Gehringer (Lady Gaga, Rihanna, CHVRCHES).
State the names of other members of your band, music producer, crew, or music video director.
Video Directors: Tim Myles and Clara Milo.
Tell us how long you have been in the music business, your experience, and your future goal.
I’ve been in the music industry since I signed an indie record label deal at the age of 16. At the time I was pretty new to songwriting and was still trying to figure out my sound.
Having a label involved in the process of development was hard for me because I wasn’t yet sure of what I wanted and needed space to discover that and grow.
After I parted ways with the label a few years later I explored writing different genres and developed my craft until I was happy with it.
My goal now is to continue to release music I am proud of and to play the songs in my live shows!
Tell us what makes you unique from others.
I’m only as unique as any other person on this planet. My lyrics are the things that I think and my hope is that they send out a signal to people that have gone through the same things or thought the same thoughts that they are not the only ones.
Tell us your weakness and strength pertaining to music.
I’m very passionate and determined in my pursuit of music as a career. I just won’t give up, for better or worse.
I really love writing, so I can spend countless hours finding the right words or melodies and it feels like play to me rather than work.
However, I am very affected by the ups and downs that come with being so attached to such an unstable career path.
I need to take time to figure out ways to turn my brain off so I can sleep better at night. Reading before bed helps me quite a bit.
List your five favorite songs including the artists.
Imagine – John Lennon
Hurt – Johnny Cash
Dancing in the dark – Bruce Springsteen
Running up that hill – Kate Bush
Both sides now – Joni Mitchell.
Tell us your position on “Do It Yourself” and signing to a major label.
It seems to me that it’s easier now to release music independently than in the past.
It can be really expensive to release music.
Having a team of people working on a project can really help…so labels can still be really helpful!
It really depends on the artist and their circumstances.
Tell us other activities you are pursuing apart from music.
I enjoy acting and dancing! I find acting makes me feel more connected to my emotions and dance connects me with my body.
I like fashion and make my own choker necklaces, like the one I made for the ‘Hurts’ music video that I wear in it.
List your various works.
My “Hurts” is my debut single!
State the official date of release.
March 15, 2019.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Tilsen! It is an anagram for Listen. I made it up and it felt right so I stuck with it.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
‘Hurts’ is about the pain of love!