Welcome Hunger Fighter Musician, Tess Dunn

by admin

17 year old, Tess Dunn was recently the featured/cover story in local Santa Cruz publication, the Good Times, titled  Finding Grace.  It was this article that first caught our attention. Our good friends in local band Blue Weekend knew Tess quite well, in fact, they play as her band quite frequently. We reached out to them and asked if there was a way we could get Tess Dunn to play at our recent Grind Out Hunger Youth Service Day Event, which ended up raising 5,830 meals for kids. After many back and forth emails, texts, and messages, we got in contact with Tess and she immediately agreed to come out to perform. It was during that event that we knew that we wanted to ask her if she wanted to be an official Hunger Fighter Musician.

Tess Dunn has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), an incurable life-threatening disease which causes progressive lung damage, as well as epilepsy and diabetes. She has been very active in helping spread the word about CF and how people can help find a cure. She has the motivation and passion for helping others, so when asked if she wanted to jump on board in the fight against childhood hunger she immediately said yes.

You can visit her Hunger Fighter campaign page at: www.grindouthunger.org/tessdunn 

We sat down with Tess and asked her a few questions:

GOH: Tess, In your own words explain Grind Out Hunger.

Grind Out Hunger is an incredible movement that inspires the youth to get involved with the community. It’s beyond just educating youth about childhood hunger, but it also helps them realize their potential to address the problem and find solutions.

GOH: Grind Out Hunger is focused on Kids helping kids. You are now part of that army, how does that make you feel? 

I am really honored to be working with Grind Out Hunger and being a hunger fighter. I think that its ridiculous that there are 1 in 4 kids going hungry in Santa Cruz alone. Music is a universal language and I am stoked to use my music to spread the word about this problem that really needs to be addressed and fixed full on.

GOH: You have overcome many obstacles and are constantly pushing through them every day. What
advice can you give to the youth of Santa Cruz and beyond to keep their heads high, no matter what struggles they are going through? 

When I perform in front of kids I recently started asking them “who can define a normal life”? The fact of the matter is that no one can describe what a normal life is because everyone is different and everyone faces different obstacles, but everyone has the strength to overcome them no matter how difficult it might seem. no matter what, you are going to come out alive and stronger than before. You can’t let other people tell you that, because of all the difficulties or obstacles in your life, you can’t do something. You can, and you have the power to change what you wish to see in the world.

Final thoughts? 

There are many charities in Santa Cruz that are focused on helping others, but not many use the power of youth to spread the word. Learning that kids are going hungry in Santa Cruz alone is not okay with me. I am going to do everything I can to spread the word through my music and put an end to childhood hunger in Santa Cruz and beyond. Like I said earlier, music is a universal language, and I’m determined to make others aware of childhood hunger through mine.

Here is some info about Tess’ music history. This content is from her website at www.tessdunn.com

Tess Dunn is a 17-year old singer-songwriter phenom who hails from Santa Cruz, California. Tess’ raspy vocals, mature piano compositions and alternative sound transcend her years. She started playing the piano at age 5, began writing songs at age 11 and first took to the stage at age 12. Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), an incurable life-threatening disease which causes progressive lung damage, as well as epilepsy and diabetes, Tess faces issues of mortality that infuse her music and lyrics with radiant richness and haunting depth.

Tess’ first CD, “Darling Just Walk,” released in 2009, was recorded in North Hollywood with a host of internationally recorded musicians, including Ari Shine, Carina Round, Adrienne Pierce and Adam Topol. Dubbed in the media as “the young and the fearless,” one music reviewer wrote that her lyrics “…delve into deeper and darker spaces than the pop stars of her time.” Tess says living with CF is “…almost like having a clock ticking over your head, but it has a way of putting things in perspective.” She “finds a certain beauty in the randomness of life,” and her music explores issues of love, trust and relationships. An affecting advocate for anyone battling the challenges of chronic disease, Tess encourages others due to to her take no prisoners zest for life.

Tess has performed throughout California, including at the Vans Warped Tour at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View in 2011 and 2010, and at the San Francisco Warped Tour in 2009. She has had successful solo shows in Santa Cruz County, and has opened for artists including Karla Bonoff, Nina Storey, Ari Shine, Adrienne Pierce, and Iris DeMent. She contributed a song for an anthology album in Canada, performed for the Santa Cruz TEDx, and participated in a national film and music production, “The Breathe Song Event,” to raise CF awareness. She was recently filmed for the Vans Off The Wall TV “Pass The Bucket” series, which will be released in March 2012.

Tess’ second album, “Honesty Box,” recorded with Ari Shine and Noah Shain at White Buffalo Studios in Los Angeles, was released in February 2012. The first single from the EP, “Shame To See,” was recorded at the legendary EastWest Recording Studios in Hollywood, and the accompanying music video won a S.F. Bay Area contest for Best Local Music Video. 99.7 FM recently named Tess one of the top local artists of 2011 in the SF Bay Area.

For more info about Tess and to follow her music please check out her:

To learn even more about Tess Dunn and her music check out the recently released Vans “Pass The Bucket” video:

You can donate to Tess Dunn’s Grind Out Hunger campaign by clicking the button below:

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