Parisian record company Choke Industry (Lilly Wood & The Prick, Burning Peacocks) scouted 22-year-old Tess Océane Joffroy after hearing her YouTube and Facebook covers. Joffroy hails from Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. Born a dancer, reborn a songsmith, Tess’ first release “Endlessly (feat. A.CHAL)” accumulated 21.6k SoundCloud streams in three months. January 2017 was monumental for Joffroy’s career; French ELLE writer Florence Tredez composed a feature story on Tess, and she unleashed her self-titled debut album.
Joffroy’s “Endlessly” unmask’s her vulnerability, and Peruvian R&B superstar Alejandro Chal (A.CHAL) adds edginess to this Chillwave ballad. In “Love Gun,” Tess buzzes: “Your touch paralyzes me, and I can’t feel my body, anymore.” Although her peaceful tone remains constant during this track, she picks up the pace applying powerful staccato percussion. You might forget Tess is a classically trained guitarist until you hear “Live For Now.” The track’s Johnny Cash magnetism paired with Alessia Cara’s innocent inflection, has us sitting around a campfire listening to tales of heartache and regret.
Check out Tess’ debut, self-titled EP here, and read the exclusive interview below:
1) What were you thinking about during the duration of your Paris flight to audition for Choke Industry?
I simply didn’t view this as an audition; I just had to stay myself. Okay, I was a little bit nervous, but I didn’t make a big deal about it.
2) You write about love, and so does every other female singer/songwriter. How do you standout from the rest of the pack?
Honestly, I don’t know. I just write what I feel in the moment. I’m not really aiming for my songs to be different from the other love songs. I try not to think too much when I write. It’s pretty instinctive and natural.
3) What will lead to your success in America?
First, I sing in English. I think it’s a good start. I’ve always been attracted by this country, it’s music and culture. I really hope that my music will be noticed there.
4) How will performing at Lollapalooza Paris change your life?
It’s a mythical festival in an amazing city in summer! I mean all the dreamy conditions are there. I could meet incredible international singers that I love, and there will be a huge audience. I can’t wait to be there!
5) When did the Elle Magazine opportunity come about?
My label sent them the music, apparently they loved it!
6) Makeup an acronym for your self-titled album T.E.S.S.
7) Which track took the longest to finish on your debut album and why?
All the tracks took time because I lived on Reunion Island, which is 11 hours from Paris and the studio; it was not simple to work fast. I came during the long school holidays. Now I’ve moved, and it’s a lot easier.
8) Who helped you develop your uninhibited voice?
First, me. At the beginning I just sing for myself, in my room and posted some videos on YouTube. It was a simple hobby. I never took singing lessons. My producer was also very good at always making me feel comfortable at the studio. I finally took some lessons two years ago for a month, and it was very helpful. Now I like taking lessons from time to time.
9) How does the “Love Gun” music video’s nature theme relate to the song?
Love Gun is a conflict between opposite feelings: desire and denial. I think the nature of the video is pretty similar because there’s a contrast. There’s something pure and beautiful. There’s also something strong and wild. Moreover, the island feels big with all these different landscapes. You feel free and lost at the same time, but actually it’s so small you can barely see it on the globe.