Tennyson King to play Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre on March 11 (Interview)

Tennyson King

Photo Credit: Jen Squires

Tennyson King returns from touring Australia to play in Mississauga, ON

Born in Hong Kong, and raised in Canada, nomadic indie folk musician Tennyson King released his latest album, Good Company, last year and has been touring throughout Australia since November.

On March 11, he will play in Mississauga, ON, where he grew up. The all-ages show will take place at Living Arts Centre – RBC Theatre, at 8:00 pm. Get more information and grab your tickets here.

Watch the video for his latest single, “Life On Shore (mredrollo remix),” which was filmed in Australia below, and learn more about Tennyson King via our interview.

First off, care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi! I go by Tennyson King, and I am a Chinese Canadian nomadic indie folk musician. I write songs and love to bring them around the world to share with others. Word on the street is that my music reminds them of Jack Johnson and John Mayer.

You released your album, Good Company, last Fall. What can you tell us about the writing process behind the release?

I started writing Good Company back in 2018/2019 during my tours and travels in Australia, South East Asia, China, and Canada. While I’m on the road, I’ll get little melodic ideas and lyrical ideas, and I’ll record the idea on my phone. Or sometimes, if I’m enjoying some time on the beach and I have my guitar, I’ll get ideas from just jamming and singing with my guitar as well. At some point, between the tours, I’ll go through my phone recordings and listen back on ideas and turn them into songs. It’s fun because I get to transport myself back in time to the experiences or emotions I was feeling wherever I was in the world.

The songs that made the album have a common theme of exploration and connection with people and places. Often when we travel alone, we are somehow never alone and end up finding our people. We always find good company as long as we project the same energy.

You worked with Ross Hayes Citrullo on the album. How was that experience?

Ross and I had a lot of fun working together. We spent many hours and late nights in the studio together during COVID, playing with endless guitar tones and making many, many Seinfeld references. He understood the vision I had for the album and helped me arrange and record the songs to bring what would become our vision to life. He encouraged me to get the best vocal or guitar takes. Sometimes it would take hours just to perfect one thing, but I respected that and came out a better musician. I definitely learned and grew musically working with Ross, and he really made the right vibe to let me express myself creatively.

You set off on a tour of Australia in November. So far, what has been the highlight?

It’s been great to come back to Australia to tour. I’m writing this from Australia as we speak. The highlight is really just getting in touch with the land, ocean, and nature. It’s where I feel at home, and it is beautiful here. Re-connecting with fans, venues, and friends has also been a highlight. I kicked off the tour playing at the Bendigo Blues & Roots Festival, and it was their last festival, so it was a honor to be a part of it. Honestly… too many highlights to pinpoint just one. Oh, I also played an intimate concert on a sailboat on the ocean, which was a first!

How does touring in other countries differ from touring in Canada?

Touring in different countries can be the same and different in many ways. It’s similar in the sense that I go from city to city, venue to venue, sharing music and connecting with people. But every country is different because the community, culture, and people are different. When I play in Australia, there tend to be a lot more outdoor concerts because of the warm weather all year. In Canada, I hop in my van and hit the road, driving across the country and playing shows. When I was touring in China, I was taking the bullet train, slow train, overnight trains, and flights to get from each city to city. I love the little differences like this as I play in different countries.

You’ll be back in Canada performing shortly, with a show at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre on March 11. What can people expect from your live show?

I’m so excited to play a show in the town where I grew up upon my return from the tour, and to play at the Living Arts Centre has always been a dream of mine. I’ll be bringing my stories and songs I’ve accumulated over the past five years to share with everyone. Some that didn’t make it on any albums and new songs that haven’t been heard. There will be Chinese songs along with English songs. My band will be on stage with me, so it’ll be a wide spectrum of sounds that night. I may even have a special guest or two… What everyone can expect is a beautiful evening filled with joy, laughter, tears, sing-alongs, new connections, and of course, good music.

Being raised in Mississauga, what’s your favourite thing about the music community there?

I remember growing up in Mississauga and going to the Masonic Lodge many weekends to watch up-and-coming rock bands play at this small little basement venue. It was my very first mosh pit experience at this place, and it really got me into the whole live concert experience. Now it is growing with so many up-and-coming artists with a really supportive community. I’m happy to be part of the growth of the music scene in Mississauga.

When it comes to creating a set list, how do you decide what makes the cut?

It usually starts with how long my set is and if I’m playing solo, duo, or with a full band. In general, I try to tell a story from beginning to end in my sets, so the song selection will work into that. I try to ease in with a medium tempo tune that will get the audience feeling good with a level of vulnerability, to open myself up to everyone, so everyone feels like they are in a safe space. Then I bring in some intimate songs with storytelling, which eventually leads into more upbeat songs. By the end, I try to finish on a high note with lots of energy to let everyone exit with a level of excitement.

This summer, you will also be playing various festivals, including Music In The Park, Steamboat Mountain Music Festival, and Peak Music Festival, to name a few. How does your show differ when it’s in a festival setting?

To be honest, it doesn’t differ too much. I still try to take the audience on a journey through a story with a beginning, middle, and end. But often, festival sets are shorter, so I have to condense it. Also, at festivals, the vibe is usually more upbeat, so I try to curate a concert that is groovier, especially if I have the band with me. But really, I just try to do my thing and share my music as honestly as I can.

What’s your career goal for 2023?

For 2023, I’ll be writing my new album and getting into the studio to start recording it as well. I will be touring in the UK for the first time and playing my first headline concerts in theatres in Canada, similar to the upcoming Living Arts Centre show in Canada, along with a Canadian summer tour. I have plans to record some singles with amazing Canadian artists that I won’t reveal just yet 😉 Lots of things to come, and I’m very excited to see where my music journey continues to take me.

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