Exit the rap, the young Tessae unveils this Friday “Sérendipité”, a first album entirely sung. She tells BFMTV.com the path taken, both professionally and personally, to achieve this pop success.
Tessae changes records. Two years after emerging on the urban scene, the 20-year-old Marseille artist unveils a first album in which she erases the slate of her debut. With Serendipity (Belem Music), available this Friday, the young woman takes off the rapper’s cap to take on the role of singer.
The world of rap had however opened its arms to him: in 2019, a competition won on the internet had earned him the chance to go on stage with Booba at the We Love Green festival. His first EPs, gathered in the mixtape Seasons (2021), gave it a great resonance with the public and the media. Particularly thanks to the buzz on TikTok of the song Blinghis first big success.
But it is with what she calls “alternative pop” that the young artist is making her comeback. Surrounded by producers Prinzly, Paco Del Rosso and Klefman, she drew on electro, rock and R&B to offer the 15 tracks that make up Serendipityled by the single Without Grudge.
With this disc, Tessae reveals a new version of herself, more melodious, more singular and undoubtedly more sincere. Early fans may be surprised, but not disappointed: the singer remains faithful to the lyrics full of doubt and vulnerability that resonated with her young audience.
Because the one who has always evoked her chronic anxieties and her anxiety reconnects with her demons. They are both the adversary and the engine of this disc as dark as it can be solar, as aerial as it can be dancing. The whole thing sounds like a realization: to get rid of what is eating away at us, we have to confront it. This is what she explained to BFMTV.com during a conversation in the image of her work: lively, generous and honest.
Why did you abandon rap for more melodious music?
I never thought that I would become a rapper, and I don’t consider that I know how to rap. There have been Booba’s boostthen Bling who performed, and I was introduced as a rapper. It was my thing, it came very naturally, but after Bling I felt compelled to fit that label. From that moment, I started to twist in relation to the music. I had to get away from that and manage to make myself heard as I want to be heard. With SerendipityI wanted to show that basically I love music because I sing.
“Serendipity” comes from the English “serendipity”, which translates as “happy chance”. What message did you want to convey with this record?
This word came at the last moment, when I was wondering what was the link between all the pieces. I went through a period where I was not doing well at all, I had become my own demon, I was self-sabotaging myself both personally and professionally. “Serendipity” is the awakening, when I realized that for the past few years, I have lived either in the past or in the future but never in the present moment. By making these songs, I managed to heal a little the worries I had.
You speak of a period of malaise…
After Bling and the image of a rapper that resulted from it, I myself began to not really know how to situate myself, even though I was just using music to feel good. When I lost my footing in relation to the music, the mind followed. I no longer knew what was me and what was not. A big feeling of emptiness took place, I found myself grounded by my anxiety. And that’s when I started writing the sounds for the album.
Listening to this disc, we actually feel a very strong inner struggle. In the title ‘Headstrong’, you ask ‘when am I going to let myself go?’…
I was at a point where I could no longer appreciate anything: as soon as something positive happened to me, thoughts came to counter it. In this song I ask when I’m gonna get my brains on off to be well. On the whole album, I wonder why I do this, what! (laughs).
You have other very harsh words in “a few seconds”: “If I had a few seconds to change the world, I would trade myself”…
My head is the essence of all my worries. It is she who influences the vision I have of what is happening around me, and I know that if I could change that, nothing would be the same. Writing these songs allowed me to take a step back by accepting the problem. Saying to myself ‘okay, I self-sabotage a lot, I have negative thoughts, but getting mad at it is not going to help me’. I wanted to normalize the thing, try to move forward despite everything.
We feel strong support from your audience. On Instagram, you posted an excerpt from a concert where someone in the audience shouts “Tessae, I love you!”: that must be very gratifying, right?
It’s so cute but I only realize it later. ‘Cause when I’m on stage, I freak out crazy. On this concert, we had a lot of technical problems, and the public was super cool. They caught on and they took over. Sometimes people come to thank me for helping them in bad times, and it touches me a lot but at the time I don’t really know what to do. Me too, artists have supported me in complicated times, so I know what it’s like but I don’t know how I would have liked us to react. So I give them hugs, I give them support, I talk to them a bit like friends. I can’t imagine a hierarchy weird between artist and fan. Anyway, I’m so afraid of people that I will never be able to feel above it! (laughs)
Even today, although you are doing more and more concerts?
Yes! When I talk to them, I’m judging what I’m saying while talking… My anxiety drives me crazy all the time.
We also hear, in your album, a desire to free ourselves from these demons, especially in Let It Be So or Without Grudge. You wanted to imagine a sequel without all these worries?
Yes, that’s the goal! (laughs). In Without racune, I say to myself ‘It does not matter, accept and do not blame yourself. You will eventually understand why you are acting like this. All that was really raw at that point were things that I didn’t understand. The more I advance, the more I say to myself that in fact, it was not so big. We are the key to getting better and I hope, I hold on to this idea that there will be a positive future. I know that many young people listen to me, and I also want to send them this message. I don’t think we can really get stuck with the same problem.
In Serendipity, you talk about heartbreak in a way you haven’t before. Would you say this is your most personal project?
I think yes. It is even sure. During the writing, I had to deconstruct everything I had in mind in relation to my way of living, of feeling, of understanding things. That’s kind of what the album is about. A break between the person I was before and the one I am now.