Shortly after turning 14, Tenille Townes made her first trip to Nashville with her parents and on the drive back up to Canada she “just got to dreaming.”
Then, seven and a half years ago, the singer-songwriter moved to Music City having already written a series of ballads that led to her most recent single, “Girl Who Didn’t Care,” which she co-wrote over Zoom during the pandemic. Some chalk art designs on a sidewalk proved inspirational for Townes, 27, and reminded her of what it was like to be seven or eight with dreams “and not caring about what anyone else thought.”
The idea of holding on to that carefree spirit was just part of a message Townes shared with a music class at Stewarts Creek Middle School on Tuesday morning.
Stewarts Creek is one of four schools Townes, who was recently named the newest CMA Foundation Artist Ambassador, a philanthropic branch of the Country Music Association, will visit with the intention of using music to engage and empower students and educators.
She will also visit a second middle school in Nashville and a pair of elementary schools in nearby Coffee County.
“I just always loved to sing as a kid running around our house,” recalled Townes, who was only five or six when she began singing at weddings and talent shows in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada.
Townes knew then, “That’s what I want to do when I grow up.”
And now she in the early stages of establishing herself as a recording artist and, just as important to her, Townes is about to embark on her first headlining tour of Canada with shows in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Winnipeg.
“Music is such a powerful force in this world and using it to make a difference in somebody’s life is the most important part about my dream and mission as an artist,” said Townes, in an article posted online at musicrow.com.
Townes told the industry trade publication, “Music can completely alter the path of a young kid’s life for the better, giving a sense of purpose, belonging and a safe place to turn to. It still is that place for me, and it makes me so excited to think about so many young students having access to that.”
Townes first gained notoriety in Nashville following the release of “Living Room Worktapes” after signing with Columbia Nashville and has since released an EP, “Road to the Lemonade Stand” in February 2020,” and a full-length album, “The Lemonade Stand,” in June of last year.
“Girl Who Didn’t Care” is her current single from a forthcoming album.
Being less than a decade removed from her own high school graduation, Townes connected with Seth Gregory’s class at Stewarts Creek.
She assured each student her career today began when she was their age “and just writing songs in my bedroom.” Back then, Townes would meet up with friends to “make up songs” on the weekend,” which unknowingly prepared her for co-writing songs like “Girl Who Didn’t Care.”
As part of a question-and-answer session led by Gregory, Townes described Nashville as a “whole world of songwriters and cowriting and collaborating” and later explained how songs go “through such a village of people creatively before anything happens.”
She and Gregory then taught students how to play an E chord on a ukulele.