Seattle's Tess Henley has been described as an emotional voice that you can feel. Tess prefers to think of herself as a songwriter who strives to write musically rich songs (she won the 2013 People's Choice Awards, Soul Tracks International Song Competition and was awarded Top 3 in the prestigious John Lennon Worldwide Songwriting Competition).
Recently opening for Jill Scott & Anthony Hamilton as the winner of Budweiser's Superfest Contest, Tess went on to win the $25,000 Grand Prize as the country's Grand winner. Now one of the top selling new artists for Tower Records in Japan, Tess’ new 7” vinyl took the #1 spot for all genres at Japan's mega vinyl stores, JetSet. SoulTracks.com says “Henley as a vocalist doesn’t suffer from being compared to Alicia Keys. Both eschew the breathy little girl sound that is the rage these days. Henley, like Keys, opens her mouth and gives a full-throated vocal that sounds mature, passionate and believable.” Henley is an artist on the rise.
Tower Records was an early champion of Tess' unique brand of music, pushing a Japanese Special Edition CD with very large in-store displays and recommendations. "Tower has been so nice,” says Tess, “they’ve blessed the record with marketing that some big labels don't even get these days, Arigato! Tower". The respected Soul & Jazz & Funk (UK) says “Tess shows remarkable maturity and focus, her music is draped in luscious harmonies; it’s truly infectious. The Henley approach to music is all about craftsmanship, commitment and an appreciation of what truly constitutes musicality.”
Tess began training under the Suzuki Method for piano at age three and was dissecting harmonies that even her mother – a singer by trade – found difficult. "Boy In The Window” from the 2010 EP, The Appetizer, earned a 2011 Independent Music Award for Best R&B Song, won the 2011 International Song Competition for SoulTracks.com (the largest soul site in America), was awarded top 3 honors in the prestigious John Lennon 2011 International Songwriting Competition and was featured on the soundtrack for 2012’s Hello I Must Be Going starring Blythe Danner.
After Grammy-winning producer Dice Raw from The Roots heard her music, he took an immediate interest in the young talent, taking Tess under his wing. He brought her to Philadelphia – the epicenter of a soul sound all it’s own – and introduced her to fellow-producer Khari Mateen (The Roots, Jill Scott, J*DaVeY). Dice and Khari signed on to produce Tess’s debut album High Heels & Sneakers (released May 2013). The album was recorded at legendary arranger Larry Gold’s “The Studio” over the course of a year and features 14 new songs, including the first singles Daydreaming (2013 “People’s Choice” Independent Music Award), Who Are You and From The Get Go.