Q & A: Tenille Townes, Singer/Songwriter of In My Blood
When singer/songwriter Tenille Townes attended the National FFA Convention in October, she never imagined a song would be born. After performing at the convention concert and visiting with FFA students at the RAM trucks’ booth, Townes felt inspired to write In My Blood, a song illuminating women in agriculture. I caught up with Townes while her tours were postponed due to COVID-19.
SF: How did you get started in becoming a singer/songwriter?
TT: I’m originally from Alberta, Canada, and moved to Nashville to chase my dreams like most singers. I grew up singing songs in the backseat of a vehicle driving down the gravel roads where I grew up and dreaming of singing songs for people. It’s been a really wild adventure getting to see that unfold, releasing my music, and being on the road and seeing a lot of those far-off dreams becoming reality. My heart is so very grateful.
SF: What gave you the inspiration for this song and these lyrics? Where did that come from?
TT: I was really excited to attend the National FFA Convention last year and met so many amazing students hanging out at the RAM trucks booth then played later at the show. I was incredibly blown away at the confidence these kids have and the kindness they spoke with. It really stuck with me post-convention. When the opportunity came to be a part of this project, to illuminate 50 years of women in agriculture, it sounded incredible and something I knew I had to be a part of.
It really brought me back to my upbringing through the inspiration of the women in my life. Both of my grandmothers were farmers. I didn’t grow up being a part of FFA or any of those organizations, but I do really feel it in my blood, truly.
SF: Explain the lyrics of this song and the meaning behind it.
TT: I was taken back to my childhood and envisioning the gravel roads I grew up on, seeing those golden fields with wide open spaces and having these incredible dreams. I really wanted to channel that in this song. It talks about my mother and her mother, too, and the generational concept of this is who I am. This farm or these crops or these animals are in my DNA, they’re in my blood.
SF: What would you like farmers and women in ag to know about you or about this song?
TT: I hope they can find a little piece of themselves in this song. That’s what I love most about music. It has this way of pushing down the walls I think we put around our hearts sometimes and makes us feel like we’re not alone in anything that we’re going through. My real hope in this song is to empower those women, honor their stories, and lift up that legacy of this incredible service that they give to the world be being who they are.
SF: What would you say is your favorite part of this experience with this song?
TT: It was incredible to all come together and to have a moment to honor something that is really beautiful and important to our world. In my personal thoughts of writing this song, I looked at the women who were strong influencers in my life. Then seeing them take interest in the song meant a lot to me.
Hearing from students in the FFA was also such a highlight, and I’m so grateful they’ve found of piece of themselves in the song and are enjoying it.
Even recording it was such a joy. We stepped into a studio with an entire female cast of musicians, producers, and engineers. Everyone who worked on this song is truly someone who is an empowered, incredible creative person. It was amazing to see everyone come together for this.
SF: What’s something you’ve learned about and taken away from the ag industry by writing this song?
TT: It’s just such a beautiful reminder of how to treat people and to just be strong in who you are. That’s something I felt from the interaction at the convention last year. Seeing these students looking out for each other, the eye contact they had, and the confidence they carried around. It was a reminder to me that I really do believe the world is in great hands, and I loved getting a front row seat to see that.