Among the chaos of touring across the country, up-and-comer tiLLie sat down with us to talk about her EP Loudmouth and using songwriting and creating music as a coping mechanism during hard times.
BTS: Can you tell us how you got started making music?
tiLLie: I’ve always been singing, but it wasn’t until my parents separated when I was 11 that it kind of it started being this escape for me and a coping mechanism. So, I started writing songs around that time, but more so in my head – I didn’t play an instrument or anything at that point. Then, when I was 11 or 12 I asked for a guitar, but I got one for Christmas and then it sat in the corner for two years because I was really intimidated by it. I ended up in a guitar class at my middle school in eighth grade and I started learning from there. I taught myself and just kept on going, so that’s when I really started like digging into songwriting and making music.
BTS: Who are some of your biggest influences?
tiLLie: Artists I grew up on like the Talking Heads, Shania Twain, Gwen Stefani, Third Eye Blind, and Fleetwood Mac really inspire and influence me!
BTS: How would you describe your music for someone who hasn’t heard it before?
tiLLie: My manager actually said this to me and I thought it was the perfect way of describing my music – they called it “uplifting anthems with a massive middle finger.”
BTS: Can you tell us about your EP Loudmouth that you released earlier this month?
tiLLie: Okay, so we were talking to a lot of labels at the beginning of last year and kind of among everything, my brother died. So the year was just a fucking whirlwind for me. It changed everything and we were talking to these labels and I wasn’t really ready mostly because of my brother passing. It was hard for me to think about meeting with labels and doing a lot of things since there was so much going on in my life. But I was writing the entire time because it was a huge part of the grieving and coping process for me. Some of the labels we were talking to kept prolonging the conversation, and I got tired of waiting on people. When I was talking with my team about putting something out, I was listening back to all of these songs and they’re very representative of me and what my life was like a year ago. But I was ok with that because making music and growing as an artist is all about building a story, and that was a huge chapter and turning point in my life, so it felt important to document it.
BTS: Do you think these songs have taken on a new meaning since they’re from so long ago?
tiLLie: Yeah I think so, because it’s all written from my subconscious, which can be so ahead of where you are at that time. You may think you’re finding that you’re dealing with something but your songs are the fucking truth. This EP that I put out is kind of like my declaration, and I very strongly feel like this is me coming out to the world as my fully visualized self.
BTS: Can you tell us about your single “Faith”?
tiLLie: So “Faith” was written about the healing process from all the trauma and abuse I went through with my ex boyfriend. Everyone was telling me that I needed to go on and be the bigger person to really work through everything he put me through, but I was pursuing this path of justice instead. It’s basically about me working to find that justice in the situation and find a way to let go. Now I’m at a point where I’ve done what I can do, and I have to just let go and let the universe take control because I can’t let that anger continue to consume me.
BTS: You’re on tour supporting Cherry Pools, how’s that been going?
tiLLie: It’s been good. I’m going to be honest, it’s been really hard. I think especially because I never toured this long before, so I’m still getting used to it and figuring it out. I did two weeks on Warped Tour last summer, but I’m on this Cherry Pools tour for six weeks and then I have to get ready to head to the UK. It’s just crazy to me because it feels like I’ve been doing this forever, but the UK tour is really only going to be my third tour. At the end of the day though it’s so cool and I feel so blessed.
BTS: What can fans expect from you for the rest of the year?
tiLLie: I’m going on tour in the UK for the first time in May and June, which will be great. There are a few festivals I’ll be hitting on the UK trip as well. There are going to be some more music videos for the rest of the EP. I’ve been writing a lot too, so I’m hoping to have more music out soon too!