Thank you so much for talking with us Tera Lynne and congrats on the new music! We are so excited to premiere your first single, “Hell Raiser,” off your self-titled debut album. Can you tell us more about the inspiration for it?
“Hell Raiser” came about from a comical interaction I had at The Red Door Saloon in midtown. To preface the story, I had been very single for about a year and half, so when this encounter occurred, I genuinely did not have the slightest clue that the gentleman in this story was actually attempting to court me.
I was with some good friends celebrating my girlfriend Hannah’s birthday at the Red Door and suddenly this stranger begins talking to me out of nowhere. I entertained it for a minute because he seemed nice enough, but after a while I was searching the room praying for eye contact with anyone I knew to say “who is this guy and why won’t he stop talking?” I found out that he was friends with the birthday girl Hannah’s boyfriend. He actually had Hannah promise him I was going to be at the party so he could finally make himself known to me. I was a little weirded out. Remember, I was rocking the single life and rocking it hard. So I instantly started spewing out anything I thought would make myself unattractive to him. That’s where the song came in.
In the first verse, I tell him about going to jail for a DUI. The second verse I lead him on saying “heck yea, pay for my drinks, dance with me, I can keep this up all night.” But I had to admit to myself, he was cute, had good music taste, could dance for the most part, and really was being very gentlemanly. So to save myself from myself, I had to bring in the big guns – the boys (my best friends, my band mates.) Yes, I threw this kind man to the wolves. Hence the line, “we don’t care what your name is or what kind of salvation you sell, I’m just a woman trying to do my thing, can’t you just let me raise hell?!” To sum it up, I tried my best, and I got a heck of a sassy psychedelic honky-tonk lady jam out of it. But in the end, that kind gentleman did not give up (thank God) and we have been together for three years now. So there it is the back story of “Hell Raiser.”
What stands out to you about the music we’re about to hear?
What stands out most to me about “Hell Raiser,” sonically speaking, is the raunchiness of the music. I love the honky-tonk about it. The rolling piano and swampy bass hits. I also love that it is a very female strong song. Lyrically speaking, it is all about that hair flip and that Beyoncé sashay out of a room. I love that the lyrics admit my faults, but at the same time own them and kind of say “Hey, it’s who I am and I’m proud of it.” The lessons I have learned growing up the past eight years in this town have made me who I am as a songwriter and as an artist. I wouldn’t take any of those experiences back, even the bad ones. Have I grown up from them? Lord, yes. But do I regret them? Not even in the slightest.
What made you want to self-title and self-produce the tracks? Was that not scary and a big risk?
I do not think I ever had the conscious thought of who do I want to produce my record. Outside of the business part, musically, if the songs are coming out of my head and my co-writers heads, who better to produce the actual physical music than the muse that wrote them. And it’s self-titled, because it’s my work. It is twenty-eight years of Tera in seven songs, so I really did not know what else to call it. We, my co-producers Thom Donovan and Christopher Griffiths of the Will Hoge band, threw some ideas around as far as album titles, but in the end my name won. It just made sense that this is the first time I am ever introducing myself musically to the world, why not start with, “Hi, my name is Tera Lynne Fister.”
Favorite lyric/song from the album?
I am unable to answer this singularly, so I am going to give you a favorite line from each. Lol
“Hammer and Nails” – “Paint may peel, wires may fail, but we got more than a hammer and nails.” It’s the last line of the bridge and it’s my favorite because it ties the entire song together in a sweet hopeful line. It states that no matter what life brings, we have got this because we have each other.
“Hell Raiser” – “I’m just a woman trying to do my thing. Can’t you just let me raise hell?” It’s the female anthem of “I know what I’m doing, for the most part, and we will all have a good time if you just be quiet and get out of my way.”
“Scars” – This is a tough song for me to pick just one line from because I personally think this song is a lyrical gold mine. It has so many one liners. Christopher Griffiths is the co-writer and he is the king of saying something you hear every day completely new, to the point where it hits you in the feels like you’ve heard it for the first time again. I do love the line, “scars in ink are the scars you choose,” because I love the idea that we actually in a weird way get to pick our scars. It’s very metaphorical to me. You pick your lovers that burn you, you pick your tattoos that physically scar your skin, you pick the dreams that very possibly may never come true – and I don’t think humans naturally think of scars as something we willing do to ourselves. So I love the turn around.
“Drunk Gypsies” – “He loves the wings I had to grow to fly.” I love this line because I have been in relationships were those wings were not appreciated, much less encouraged. But it only made them stronger and wider and more colorful in the end. I hope every human finds a love who absolutely adores the wings you had to grow to fly and I hope they help you spread those wings as far and as wide as you can, never questioning why you have to go.
“I Made a Lover” – “Look at you lover.” I love this line because when listening you can’t tell if I’m saying “Look at you, lover” or “Look at you love her” which honestly, if I could say both at the same time, that’s what I would do. It’s a song about seeing an old lover and watching him work all the lines, moves, what have you, to swoon his new lady. And you’re watching from a distance air high fiving him like “look at you go! We did it! I made a lover of you! You’re not going to be everyone’s final great love, so I’d like to move forward hoping everyone finds that amazing “last love” and thinking maybe you helped them get there. Not bitterly walking around after a break up dreading running into them or hating them. It’s a dream world and rarely does it happen, but I love the thought process of the woman lead in this song.
“Home” – Holy nostalgia. My favorite line in this song is, “there were no worries there was nothing but time,” because it shows the innocence of a young mind. The song is reflecting on a time in my life when I was 10-13 years old. A time that was everything growing up should be. Not a care in the world, everything I needed was just given to me. I had a warm bed, family, friends who loved me, horses to ride, sports to play, and sunshine in the sky. But as an adult, when was the last time you had not a single worry and thought time was on your side? It is few and far between for me. The innocence of this song is something, as an adult, I think we all yearn for at points, but can truly never get back.
“Weed and a Rosary” – “With the last moving box she cried on my shoulder. Said, I guess I found the cure to never getting older.” This song is about my experience of the cancer journey with my mom. At the time the song was written I had not lost my mother to cancer yet, so there is a dose of hope in it. That line is my personal favorite because it’s a reality check. Living in Nashville, understandably, I have seen so many women fight their aging process. Until losing my mother I never realized what a privilege getting older is. The sarcasm in this line, along with the brutal reality of it, is just too much to handle sometimes. My mom lost her life at 54. And when “pancreatic cancer” rang out in that doctor’s office I know for a fact she would have given anything for the time to earn more wrinkles than the few she had at 54.
What’s a song you may have written ‘just for you,’ but has had a lot of response from listeners?
A hundred percent, “Drunk Gypsies.” I was really proud of the song when I finished it because it is one of the first times I had written a love song that did not come out sounding corny or mushy. It is sincere, honest, grateful, and genuine. For the most part, I thought it was going to be a song that people talked over when playing it, but it has received some of the most attention on the album. We girls know what we like!
What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
Knowing who to call and when.
What would eight-year old Tera Lynne say to you now about your life and career?
“I knew it the whole time.”
What makes Nashville special to you?
It has allowed me a life driven by creativity.
What would you do on a day off in Nashville, no work allowed?
Hike with my dogs at Cummins. If I had to be IN the city, I would find some friends who are playing and go support the cause.
What are some of your favorite Nashville restaurants?
Star bagel in Sylvan Park!!! Urban Grub in 12th South if you’re looking for date night.
Of course we love your style, any favorite Nashville shops?
Karma on Third Avenue and Commerce! The lady that runs it is a genius. If you have a fringe obsession go see her pieces! She is the queen of fringe and patch work. And I love that you never know when she’s going to be in. You just have to stop by and see if your fates meet!
Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?
If you’re wearing it, and you’re rocking it, no matter what the magazines say or the looks you get on the sidewalk, it’s in style, its fashion, so get it girl! Don’t ever worry about “if it’s in” or not. Who knows, you could be the one who brings it back in style!
What is on the horizon in 2020 for your music career?
Travel. New Faces. New music. Bigger stages. Growing my music community in every aspect. I CANNOT WAIT 🙂
Pink hair. Tattoos. A sassy attitude to go with her edgy guitar licks and gritty power vocals. If you’ve ever listened to live music in Nashville, you may have seen this soul bearing independent artist entertaining locals and tourists alike with her band, Lady and the Gents. Tera Lynne Fister catches the room on fire with a magic her mama used to call psychedelic honky-tonk rock. With a family line of musical talent and exposure to a wide variety of genres since childhood, the St Louis native is now making her music her way in the heart of Music City. Her self-titled debut album, set to release February 21, 2020, is what the songstress affectionately labels “28 years of Tera in a 7 song diary” and will feature the first of three singles dropping as early as November 15th. An all-star team includes co writers and producers Thom Donovan and Christopher Griffiths of the Will Hoge band, as well as five time Grammy award winner Ray Kennedy, who mastered the project. Always one to collaborate, Tera has also lent her talents as rhythm guitarist and background vocalist for Kelsey Hickman, opening for acts like Neal McCoy and Alabama. She can also be seen singing BGVs on tapings of “Real Country”, a singing competition that aired on the USA Network in 2018. Eight years of honing her craft professionally in Nashville has reiterated the importance of growth, community, and perseverance for the self-proclaimed “searcher of art and lover of color”. Tera’s creative input and gifts of empathy and compassion are just the right combination for communicating with audiences on all levels, creating a sense of nostalgia and oneness.