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Exploring the Music Business with Tennyson King

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I know that I’m right here,” is a line from Tennyson King’s song, Don’t Know Where I’m Going.  The video for this song shows footage he captured here in Canada, in Australia, in Thailand and in Vietnam. The singer-songwriter-guitarist typically spends ten months of the year performing on the road whether that’s the Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival in Victoria, Australia, or closer to home at the Summerfolk Festival in Owen Sound.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the musician realized immediately that he’d have to stay grounded and center his creative energies. While COVID-19 was clearly an event to take seriously, Tennyson did not see coming off the road as a negative.

“There is a silver lining in everything,” the folk-rock-roots musician explained in a recent interview. “Early on in the pandemic – after I hadn’t really had a place of my own for 4 or 5 years – I was staying in an apartment and there was a dresser. It may not seem like a big deal, but for me it was like, ‘Oh wow! A dresser! I can unpack my clothes here.”

What followed was an opportunity to sit down with collaborators and write a new album. The single Life on Shore, a piece that explores the artist’s deep connections to the ocean, captured a sense of Tennyson’s nomadic adventure through an old school video game.

The collaboration on the game, made by Cesar Barbosa, came about during his time off in Mississauga. The period included time to participate in the Starter Company Plus Program for Music offered through the City of Mississauga Business Entrepreneur Centre (MBEC).

“I feel like it gave me a chance to explore the business side of music more deeply,” the artist explained. “Especially from the financial side. I needed to look at ways my music can help me grow financially and to explore how that could happen in an industry where you put thousands into bringing a song out to people. For me, the answer turned out to be focusing more on radio and making connections with different radio programs that generate a good bit of income. It was super cool to work with MBEC and their experts to help me become more business-minded.”

In Tennyson’s view, performing and touring are still hugely important.

“I get an adrenaline rush from performing and bursts of inspiration from being out in the world connecting with people,” he said. “Encouraging people to travel, to connect with different people and cultures is what I do, but I also know I need time to sit down and go through all the voice notes I make while I am travelling and creatively speaking, pull it all together. I have problems writing complete songs while I am on the road.”

Using that material to make videos and other forms of digital media to connect with his audience when they aren’t going to see each other on tour or at a live performance also has its place. 

“Through touring and performing we are bringing the physical, adding in the digital ways of connecting and making sure the financial side is healthy creates balance. Through the program, I’ve learned that there is creativity in business too,” Tennyson said. “To approach creativity with a business mind and business with a creative mind makes special and good things happen.”

You can also watch Tennyson’s latest music video Share This Moment here.

The Mississauga Business Entrepreneur Centre (MBEC) is a business unit of the City of Mississauga’s Economic Development Office. MBEC is your central source for business information, resources and guidance. For information and guidance, please contact us by phone or email.