Highland Park native Tess Considine has been writing and singing and recording her own original songs for years. She’s got them for sale on iTunes and her Spotify library stretches back to 2013. Now a senior in high school, her dedication to music finally took her to the red carpet of this year’s GRAMMY Awards. But in a different capacity then she may have imagined.
She was there through the 2017 GRAMMY Camp—Jazz Session, a program created by the GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy that brings talented student artists from all over the United States to perform at GRAMMY-related events leading up to and surrounding the awards ceremony. Considine was one of two students selected for the Media Team, documenting the performances, interviewing people, and creating a social media presence for the Jazz Session students over GRAMMY week.
That didn’t mean she didn’t get to perform. While interviewing influential EDM DJ Skrillex on the red carpet, he turned the tables on her and requested she sing him one of her original songs. So she did.
It all came about through an annual summer program called GRAMMY Camp, where students spend one week over the summer learning from music industry professionals in Nashville, Los Angeles, or New York. Though songwriting is clearly her passion, Considine takes songwriting classes all year at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. So she thought she’d branch out.
“I figured it would be cool to apply for the Music Business career track, because I had no experience there,” she says. “It opened up a new world of how big the music industry is, how many different people play a part in it in terms of recording, law, live, it’s endless.”
Considine spent a week at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles learning from USC professors; representatives from the GRAMMY Foundation; music lawyers; and managers from Philymack, the management company that handles artists like Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas.
“You can’t expect to only have one job in this industry; it’s impossible,” Considine says. “This field is constantly changing, and there are going to be a lot of different steps and positions in your path. I learned a lot so when I’m an artist I know how to control my brand and make sure that I’m working with the right people.”
Controlling her brand and working with good people is something she’s already put to the test at school. At Interlochen, there’s a two-week period after winter break where students studying various disciplines collaborate on projects that combine all of their mediums. The music video for Considine’s song “What I’m Gonna Be” is the result of that collaboration.
Paired with two students from the Motion Picture Arts department, Shane Bagwell and Lane McKenna, they conceived a music video concept around the song Considine wrote, sung, produced, and recorded herself using a music recording program called Logic. They also recruited 10 students from the dance department to choreograph and perform through out the video as Considine stands on a stage and tells the story of a man who doesn’t believe in her and her determination to prove him wrong. The whole thing is really impressive, shot in a cinematic widescreen aspect ratio, the dancing is a wonderfully evocative complement to the smoky vocals, and there are charming little touches like cuts hidden in whip pans and a drumhead filled with star glitter that explodes upwards when hit.
“The hardest thing was actually cleaning up all the glitter,” Considine says. “It was a great collaborative process. We rented out a performance space at our school called the chapel for six hours to shoot it, which wasn’t a lot of time to set up, film, and take down.”
Even though Considine’s first time on the GRAMMY red carpet was as a student journalist, if she keeps projecting the same kind of passion and soul that we see in “What I’m Gonna Be,” next time she’ll be on the other side of the ropes.