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Tessa Violet

Known initially as a vlogger called Meekakitty, Tessa Violet branched out to whimsical pop music in 2014 with a full-length debut called Maybe Trapped Mostly Troubled. Over the next few years, she gained momentum within certain social media circles, which helped give her effervescent pop single "Crush" viral traction in 2018 and pushed her sophomore effort Bad Ideas into the U.S. Heatseekers Top 20. Along with her growing craftsmanship, Violet has matured, infusing her hooky pop anthems with a strong female empowered energy as on 2023's MY GOD! Born in Chicago, Illinois on March 20, 1990, Tessa Violet Williams claimed Ashland, Oregon as her hometown. She was drawn to theater in her adolescence and during her senior year of high school in 2007, she began vlogging. While she worked as a fashion model in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Korea, she continued to blog, first focusing on fashion and travel but slowly shifting toward sci-fi, video games, comics, and other geeky obsessions. Soon, Tessa Violet -- who was, at that point, releasing her videos and posts under the name Meekakitty -- incorporated skits and comedy into her vlogging repertoire. Among these videos were her first stabs at songs: "Star Trek Girl" and "Wizard Love," the latter featuring fellow online personality Heyhihello. Meekakitty cultivated close relationships with other vloggers, which helped her internet celebrity rise. These connections were pivotal in her winning a 2009 YouTube competition for the most-commented-upon video. Ray William Johnson, a roommate of her cousin's, encouraged his followers to vote for Meekakitty, helping to push her over the top in the contest. She took home $100,000 in winnings. Early in 2012, Meekakitty teamed up with a bunch of YouTube peers, including Shawna Howson (username of Nanalew), for The Dial Up Tour. She and Nanalew teamed up as a duo called the Week to record an album called Days Of. Shortly after this collaboration, Meekakitty began to creep outside the confines of YouTube, appearing in a video for Family Force 5's "Cray Button" in 2012, and also directing the music video for Tedashii's "Chainsaw." She saved her biggest reinvention for 2014, when she left behind the username Meekakitty to release an album under Tessa Violet, a truncated version of her birthname. This debut album, Maybe Trapped Mostly Troubled, found Violet crafting quirky, EDM-inflected indie pop; it peaked at number ten on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. At the conclusion of 2014, Tessa Violet teamed up with fellow YouTube star Rusty Clanton to release the Christmas EP You, Me and Christmas under the name People You Know. The duo supported the album with The Living Room Tour, where the pair performed joint and individual sets; another outing, dubbed Return of the Living Room Tour, followed in 2015. Tessa Violet issued the EP Halloway in October 2016, which was preceded by the single "Dream." In addition to appearing in the 2016 film The Matchbreaker, she continued to tour on both sides of the Atlantic in 2016 and 2017, all the while working on material for a new record. In June 2019, she released "Crush," the first single from her second album, Bad Ideas, which appeared in August of that year. A second single, "Games" with lovelytheband, arrived that September, followed a month later by "Words Ain't Enough." Upon release, the sophomore set rose into the U.S. Heatseekers Top 20. She capped the album cycle with "Bored" performed with MisterWives. In the early 2020s, she released the non-album single "Role Model" with daysormay. She also toured alongside Half Alive. More singles followed, including "Yes Mom," "Breakdown," and "You Are Not My Friend," all of which led up to the release of her third full-length album. Anchored by the bubbly title track, MY GOD! arrived in July 2023 and found Violet balancing pop hooks with a sexually-empowered, feminist point of view.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo


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