Tenise Marie had to accept she couldn’t do everything if it meant making the album she heard in her head.
The Argenta singer decided she was ready to record an album last year after receiving a Creative BC grant. She demoed 16 tracks and planned to self-produce the album before realizing she was in over her head.
“I realized at a certain point that that was far too overwhelming for me and that it was actually enough that I had written all the songs.”
Marie brought on her friend Aline Daigle, who also plays with Nelson two-piece Rumour Mill, to produce her debut album Storm. Released Aug. 27, the eight-track album of warm folk-pop is a strong introduction to the 26-year-old singer.
She credited Daigle with helping her flesh out the songs in ways she hadn’t previously been able to when performing solo live.
“I think what I’m starting to realize is I am a songwriter, that’s the thing that comes first to me, and I am a performer,” said Marie.
“I’m not really an arranger. I think that I do have vision, but the way you record an album it doesn’t always translate perfectly to live and vice versa.”
That shouldn’t be an issue with Storm, which sounds as though it is being performed near a fireplace on a brisk fall day. Marie’s voice is the clear highlight on songs like “Give Me A Chance,” while Daigle’s violin and Glen Reely’s bass provide an intimate feeling on the track.
Throughout the album, Marie sings about nature and growing up in the rural B.C. community north of Kaslo.
“Tree Story” is about being named by her father after the nearby old-growth forest called Tenise Creek.
“Written in the Stars,” inspired by a walk Marie took with her mother, is about how astrology influenced her childhood and, in a way, Argenta’s small place in the universe.
“That song is so inspired by a really cold, starry night and a place like Argenta, where it’s just so clear you can see all the stars.”
Marie also turned to the Argenta landscape for inspiration in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the B.C. lockdown began in March 2020, Marie found herself uninspired and started running up the area’s mountains in lieu of writing. The album’s title track is about her struggle to write music at the time.
“There were days when I was like, I don’t even want to just sit by myself and write this song, it just feels like torture, so I’ll just run up a mountain.”
Now that Storm has been released, the 2015 Selkirk College music grad is looking ahead to touring the album next year.
But before that happens, Marie says she’s going to recruit a band. Her music, she knows now, sounds even better with a little help from her friends.
“I’m an only child from Argenta, a really small place, and it turns out I actually don’t want to do everything by myself.”
Storm is available for purchase on Bandcamp and streaming on Apple Music and Spotify.