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Midhurst singer-songwriter saddling up for Horseshoe Tavern show

Alyssa Tess getting the band back together for performance at storied Toronto venue on March 6

From busking on the streets of Barrie to hitting the stage of one of Toronto’s most storied music venues, local singer-songwriter Alyssa Tess is beginning to make a name for herself.

The 26-year-old, who grew up in Midland and Midhurst, has been a staple on the Barrie music scene for more than a decade, but is now striving to get herself noticed in 'The 6ix.'

“I have been performing since I was seven and I actually got my start in Midland Idol. I knew from that moment that I wanted to have performing in my life in some aspect. As I got older, I realized that music was truly where my heart was at, so I set my sights on being a full-fledged musician,” Tess said.

She started street performing in Barrie when she was 15 as a way to gain both confidence and experience as a performer.

Over the years, Tess, who now splits her time between Midhurst and Toronto, said she would jump on any opportunity that came her way to work with local musicians who would often mentor her and share their knowledge of song-writing, performing and the music industry.

The indie-pop singer told BarrieToday she draws inspiration from artists such as Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Maggie Rogers, and Lizzy McAlpine, adding she has been songwriting since she was 10.

The process, she admitted, serves as an emotional release for her.

“I just see how valuable it is to share your heart and soul through music, because so many people can relate and I think it’s so important that we share that so we have a bit of a community … and we know we are not alone in what we are feeling," Tess said. 

A recent graduate of Humber College’s music program, Tess says she's excited following the release of her most recent single, Two People, on Jan. 25. The track is described as a “joyful folk-pop song all about love.”

“All of the music that I have been releasing lately was recorded at the Humber Music Recording Studio with my band. It’s super exciting to finally have the music out into the world," she said. 

After taking a bit of a hiatus from performing over the last few months, Tess will be getting back behind the mic on March 6 with her band at Toronto’s famous Horseshoe Tavern — a venue which has welcomed some of the industry’s top acts and newcomers alike for more than 60 years.

“I am really excited to be getting my full band back together and performing at such a cool venue. It feels like a really huge compliment that I am going to be able to stand on the same stage as so many big artists before me," she said. "I think it’s a really great venue and there have been so many amazing artists on that stage.

"It’s also humbling having the opportunity to play there as well … but I am excited to show everyone what I have been working on ... and to have some fun and make the most of it.”

No matter how far her music may take her, Tess says she will always appreciate all of the hometown support she has received over the years.

“Even though I'm trying to dip my toes into the Toronto music scene, the fact that my hometown still embraces me, I don't take it lightly. The Simcoe County area, and Barrie, is where I got my start. The fact I still have people out there rooting for me in my hometown means so much.”