Music / StarBiz

The Missing Chapter: Tessa Barton


In my effort to recapture the missing chapter of my life that I first wrote about here, I’d like to use my considerable clout to introduce both of my readers to some amazingly talented, yet remarkably good-hearted artists you’ll want to keep an eye on, because I suspect they’re going places.

Tessa and her brother Luke

Tessa Barton and her sister, Sophie, were an up-and-coming duo when Sophie collapsed and died completely unexpectedly at a church camp for girls. I remember I had a daughter up at the same camp around the same time, so the news felt like it hit pretty close to home. I can’t begin to imagine how it felt for Tessa and her family. We didn’t know them, but our hearts went out to them, and I knew many others felt the same.

I don’t think anyone would have blamed Tessa if she wanted to just hang up the performing thing after that. I got the sense that Sophie was more of the driving force behind the duo. But Tessa told me that she feels closest to Sophie when she is performing. So now she frequently gigs with her younger brothers. In fact, the video she sent us for her audition featured her singing with her little brothers.

You can sense that Tessa is an old soul when she performs. It’s not just her cool style of flowing clothes and hair that all combine into this cool updated bohemian ’70s thing. It’s her flowing lyrics. And it’s the rich texture in her voice that sounds like it is no stranger to tears. There’s a depth there. You can feel it as soon as she starts to sing.

Tessa was a last-minute fill-in on StarBiz. I remember calling her just a few days before we were scheduled to start shooting her episode, which meant she would have to clear several days from her calendar as a photographer. I know it meant some hasty rescheduling of some shoots, but I’m glad she did.

Tessa has several performances you can check out on the internet, including this song that she performed on the show (this version was recorded somewhere else). But I recently came across a charming little video that I hope she doesn’t mind me using as a way to introduce both of my readers to her, because this particular version was shot in the back of a car on the way to somewhere with her brothers. So it’s all a cappella, with what looks to be the car door and knees standing in for a set of drums and a guy singing into his hand supplying bass.

Maybe not exactly pristine conditions for recording a song. But to me, it shows how talented of a singer-songwriter Tessa is. A song that is stripped bare and recorded in a car yet still manages to grip you to the end? Good, good stuff. Enjoy, tell a friend, and keep an eye on Tessa Barton.

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