Female Friday: Tenille Arts

Are you familiar with Tenille's music?

Female Friday: Tenille Arts
Tenille Arts; Photo credit: Rachel Deeb

You may be familiar with Tenille Arts from her multiple appearances performing on The Bachelor, but there is more to the singer than her claim to fame with the ABC franchise. Born and raised in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada, Arts learned the value of a strong work ethic watching her parents and grandparents immerse themselves in farm life. She channels that passion into her own music, particularly her 2020 album, Love, Heartbreak, & Everything in Between.   

In the latest installment of Female Friday, Arts shares her perspective on how The Bachelor has accelerated her career, her biggest achievements thus far and the sobering lessons she’s learned along the way…

SLN: What was it like growing up in Saskatchewan, Canada and how did it influence your music?

Arts: I think it was really great to have the true country, going out to the farm and having that life that’s very simple, but people were hard workers. I learned a lot from my grandparents and my parents looking at them doing such hardworking farming life, I feel like I learned a lot from that. But it was also great [because] the city that I grew up in was about 10,000 people, so it wasn’t super big, but it was nice to be able to go out to the farm, have the space and the time to chill out there, and then normal life back in the city. I definitely think it was a great combination of the two. My grandparents were some of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met and it was so great to see them make everything for themselves. I think I took a lot away from that – if I want something, I have to work for it and I have to go get it for myself. I think that’s probably the biggest thing I learned from them.

How do you apply that mentality to your own life, especially as an artist?

I knew that I wanted to be in Nashville, so I literally just picked up and ended up signing a publishing deal and moving down to Nashville. I kept setting my sights on different goals and once I made that goal, I set another one and tried to work as hard as I could. Especially being away from my family, I wanted to make sure that I was making the most of that time in Nashville. My entire family is still back in Canada, so I wanted to work hard so that it would be worth it.

What have been the biggest ways you have grown as an artist over the years?

I think a few would be the really big moments that I felt like I was finally prepared for. Sometimes as artists we think we’re ready for everything right now and then sometimes you have to go through certain things and then you’re like ‘I wouldn’t have been ready for that if it would have come sooner than it did.’ So for me that was the Opry, that was a huge moment making my debut and being like ‘okay, I’m ready for this. I feel like everything has led up to this moment.’ Another growing point for me was I sang the [National] Anthem at [2020 NBA All-Star Game] and ended up having quite a bit of controversy over my anthem and the way that I sang it. I had never experienced the negative side of social media before, so I think that was a really good lesson and a learning point that you have to realize that those people, they’re not nice, and that’s totally fine, you can’t please everybody. I think that helped me grow quite a bit.

How do you feel like performing on The Bachelor has impacted your career?

That show has been incredible for my career. There’s been millions of people that have been exposed to my music because of it. It’s crazy when you perform on the show, the next day it’s like your song is number one on iTunes, it’s streaming everywhere, it’s added to playlists. It’s just insane the amount of exposure that show can give. I would have never thought that The Bachelor would be the way that I would get my music out there, but it is the perfect audience for country music. It’s the perfect age and they love stories, they love the storytelling side of things, so many of them are country music fans. It’s a really great platform.

What was the writing and creation process like for your album Love, Heartbreak, & Everything in Between?

It was really different from anything that I’ve done in the past. I worked with a lot of different songwriters, a lot of different producers, and I pretty much wrote all of the breakup songs first and then sprinkled in some of the ‘everything in between.’ The love songs were the last to come together for the album and it was so cool to now look back and see everything that I’ve been through over the past year is now in that album. I’m just so proud and happy that it’s out there now.

I actually wrote two of the breakup songs by myself and they were very honest. I sat down at the piano for a song called “Another Life” and said everything that I was thinking. It’s been so cool to see how people are reacting to that song because I honestly almost didn’t share it with anybody because I was like ‘I don’t usually write by myself, is this any good?’ And then I started sharing it with people and their response was so great. It was really cool to see that something so specific to my life, people can relate to it in the most crazy way. It’s amazing to see that.

You released a song called “Breathe” in benefit of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Why is that cause important to you?

I grew up being an assistant dance teacher and there was a young girl in one of the classes that has cystic fibrosis. Her parents approached me because they knew I was an artist, that I was performing around town. They asked me to be a part of their fundraiser, and I honestly didn’t know what cystic fibrosis was back then and I was blown away by how incredible everybody is that is involved in Cystic Fibrosis Canada. There is no cure for cystic fibrosis yet and I couldn’t believe that. I immediately was like, ‘I’m going to do whatever I can to help. All I have really is my voice and I can come and do performances whenever you guys want.’ Over the last 10 years, I’ve been a part of a lot of things and they approached me at one point to record the song that had been written by a guy who had cystic fibrosis, I was so honored that they would ask me. All of the proceeds from the song go to cystic fibrosis research and to finding a cure.

What do you want people to know about you as an artist?

I’d want people to know that what they’re hearing in my music is true and honest. I’m not trying to be anything – this is my music. If people love it, that’s so great, and I’m honored that people are taking the time and letting my music be the soundtrack to their days, that is the coolest thing to me. I’m so thankful that people have fallen in love with my music, I feel so blessed. It’s really great.