TILSEN

TILSEN

Canadian singer/songwriter TILSEN releases her new single “Doubt”.

Co-written by TILSEN, Willa and Emery Taylor, “Doubt” offers a catchy up-tempo pop record exploring TILSEN’s feelings over somebody.

“I was thinking about somebody that I love and how I don’t want them to ever have to worry about my feelings going away; That I was determined to make sure they don’t have to,” says TILSEN.

The new single follows the successful debut single “Hurts” released in March which has reached over 175k streams on Spotify.

The Toronto-based artist writes about her life and her relationships by designing powerful and optimistic pop records.

“Doubt” is now available worldwide.

Photo credit:  Tim Myles

Photo credit: Tim Myles

Introduce yourself - where are you from? 

I’m Tilsen. I’m a recording artist and songwriter. I was born and raised in Toronto and I’ve lived here all my life. I think I’ve been very fortunate because there has been a lot of government support for the arts in Canada. I think that’s a big part of why there are so many talented musicians in Toronto and successful artists coming out of Canada like Arcade Fire, Drake and Justin Beiber. The caliber of musicianship in the city is astounding and I’m lucky to work with such talent. 



What's your story? 

My mom’s a trained opera singer so music was always part of my life. Growing up, I was happy to sing anything, from opera to musical theatre. I always knew I wanted to pursue music as a career, but it wasn’t until I started writing songs at 16 that I decided to pursue a career as a recording artist. Since then, I explored many genres of writing before finding the niche that felt right to me. I didn’t want to release music until I was super proud of it. I’m excited that I finally have that with the music I’m releasing now. My songs are personal to me and I’m excited to see if they resonate with other people as well.


When did your love for art and music begin? 

I grew up in an artistic household with my mum being an opera singer, so music and art have always been important to me. It’s a lifelong love. I’m drawn to anything creative, and I think I express myself best that way. 



Do you come from a musical family? 

Yes! My mom was trained in opera and my Dad is more of a music appreciator but he has a lovely voice and would sing and play the guitar for me growing up. 

I’m lucky that my parents supported me and believed in me. They enabled me to see music as a career choice rather than a hobby. That’s the biggest thing they could’ve done for me. 

I think my parents helped me to develop the confidence to trust that I can pick myself up when I fail and just keep going. I tell myself that if the doors won’t open in front of me, I will kick them down to let me in. 



What did you grow up listening to? 

My mom sang a lot when I was a kid, but when she put music on, it was a lot of jazz, classical and opera. My Dad would put on his classic rock collection, so my first loves were the Beatles and the Beach Boys. The first album I ever owned was Britney Spears “...Baby One More Time”. However, I did more singing than listening as a kid, practicing choral music from choir. 



Do you remember a specific moment in your life where music made a huge difference? 

When I was 11, I was bullied really badly in school. I remember looking forward to my guitar lessons every week. Guitar was my escape from my problems. Since then, music has been my way of working through difficulties I encounter in my life. 


When did you decide to pursue music as a career? 

I always knew that I wanted to pursue music as a career. As I say, I studied many different styles of music growing up, but I started writing my own songs in highschool. That’s when I decided to pursue a career as a recording artist.



Where does your artist name Tilsen come from? 

Tilsen is an anagram for the word “Listen.” I created the name and stuck with it because I felt it suited me and my music.


How would you define Tilsen, the artist? 

Tilsen is confident in her vulnerability, exploring the ups and downs of real love. Her lyrics are honest and conversational, but her imagery is grand. Tilsen has a regal, vintage aesthetic. You’ll find her in ballrooms and vast landscapes, sporting her modern Victorian style clothing. 



"Doubt" is your new single. What's the story behind it?

I was thinking about somebody that I love and how I don’t want them to ever have to worry about my feelings going away; That I was determined to make sure they don’t have to. Then it occurred to me that I could write that in a song. I wrote the chorus lyric right away but noticed that it was a little wordy. I had a session later that day with my writing team so I sat in a coffee shop and sang to myself quietly to come up with the melody. I really loved the concept and was thinking that a melody could sell the idea better. It worked and the chorus melody hasn’t changed much from that for the final. 



Could you describe us the songwriting/production process? Who helped you create this particular song? 

As I say, I brought the idea to a writing session with my co-writers, Willa and Emery Taylor. Emery started to produce the song while the three of us wrote the melodies and lyrics. I recorded a demo of the song that day. We loved the song, so we got together again to improve parts we thought could be better and finish the remaining lyrics. Emery finished the production and mixed the song. Chris Gehringer mastered it. 



What do you like the most about this song? 

I really love the sentiment of the song, but when I first wrote it, I was most excited to dance to the song. I wanted dance to be a feature of the music video and started working on choreography right away. I’m so happy with how it turned out. 



What can you tell us about the artwork for "Doubt"? 

My friend Tim Myles, who has directed both of my music videos and shot my promo photos, shot the photo for the single art. He used a throw-away film camera. We went to an empty school yard in Toronto and I wore my mum’s old prom dress for the shoot. I wear it in the music video for “Doubt” as well. 

What is your goal for this single? 

In a time where short-term relationships are the norm, “Doubt” speaks about lasting love. Committing to someone and sharing all of yourself can be daunting. I hope that sharing that sentiment in song could resonate with people who are losing faith in being able to find love like that. I hope that it inspires you to hold onto love. 


How would you define pop music? 

Pop is full of catchy melodies, sparse production and has clarity of meaning in the lyrics. 



In your opinion, what makes a good song? 

I think a good song communicates a story in a relatable way. The best songs make you feel something. 


As an artist, what do you want to accomplish? 

Human psychology and the way we love each other is fascinating to me. My hope for my music is that it inspires listeners to be more understanding and loving towards each other. I hope that my music sends a signal to people that have had similar experiences to me that they’re not alone. I hope that makes them feel a bit better when they’re down. As an artist I hope that I can use my voice to speak about things that matter. 


How do you want to be remembered for? 

I want to be remembered for speaking honestly through my music. I want to be remembered for being a positive voice in the world. 


In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?

I think that the world would be a better place if instead of just trying to elevate ourselves, we thought more about what we can do to elevate our communities. I think we would all be a lot happier. When we focus solely on what’s best for ourselves, we are left feeling isolated and unfulfilled. I believe in taking care of each other and our planet. 



What biggest life lessons have you learned so far? 

I think it’s really important to let the people you love know how much you love them, and remind them often. Life really is short and you don’t know how long you have with anyone. 

Secondly, if you’re passionate about something and you have the opportunity to do it, go for it. I’ve learned that there is no right and wrong way to live your life. Just making a decision is the first step.

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Olivia Frances

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