Written by Lauren Rosier
One of my favorite things about working in the music industry is being able to talk to so many interesting people and musicians from all different lifestyles and backgrounds. I was fortunate enough to speak with the talented TJ of Canada’s Tawni Bias for my latest interview.
“I got my music start in my later teens,” TJ of Tawni Bias began. “During that time in my life, I was surrounded by a lot of really cool musicians and bands. So, for that time in my life, I was definitely trying to emulate them by joining and forming my own bands. Unfortunately, the ones I formed and was a part of were all pretty terrible.”
In a failed attempt to be part of a band, it did, however, lead to something greater, in which TJ met three individuals that helped alter the course of his life. The members, Davie Lebsack (Zeij), Travis Wilson (Ghost Story, Future Heights), and Asher Hebert (Myrrh), taught and facilitated the experimentation that helped produce much of TJ‘s musical identity.
In Fall 2019, TJ began writing several tracks that eventually made it onto his latest album, SEL Fellow. “It wasn’t until the release of my debut album, SEL Fellow, that I’d say I got into the music industry. I definitely operated more on the fringes of it, learning and having the pleasure of supporting other artists like Travis Wilson. It’s hard finding the confidence to say something in an industry that is full of people saying their most important something. It took time, failures, and a lot of experimenting for me.”
Growing up, TJ was begging to play music. But his mother had a rough experience being forced to play in a family farm band without any formal experience for mass, public events. “On one fateful, fresh Summer day, I was gifted a Fender Squire, acoustic guitar from Sharky’s Pawn Shop – that was it for me. I was hooked,” TJ admitted.
SEL Fellow, says TJ, was “to feel like each part of the mourning/grief cycle. Not clinically, but naturally to what [I] experienced-with the hope that in the sharing that experience, it might help others through the same. I don’t think I would have finished the album, or even the songs, had I not felt like they could help other minds navigate that low.”
The record was created during the pandemic, but certain life circumstances led to isolation prior to the pandemic. It was important for him to sit down, look at who he was, and everything that had happened.
TJ is currently producing for other artists, as a way to take a break from the emotional weight of creating. He aims to start doing shows sometime in the new year.
Connect with Tawni Bias