Gospel Relevance

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Tenielle Neda: A Christian Musician You Should Know

Tenielle Neda is a Reformed Christian song-writer from western Australia. With over 25,000+ monthly Spotify listeners, she’s mustered up a bit of a following, all without having released an official album. After listening to her songs you can see the draw. In a day where so much music sounds the same, Tenielle’s style and voice brings a refreshing contribution to the Christian genre.

Her new EP, Mercy, is officially out. There are six tracks on the EP and the theme is God’s mercy toward his people.

My favorite song bears the name of the EP. Inspired by Psalm 86, Mercy is a cry to Lord to answer one in their weakness, a desire to learn the Lord’s ways, and a praise to the Lord for his merciful turning to his people in a weary time. You can listen to it here:

Written by her, below you can find a brief biography of Tenielle.

Tenielle Neda: A Brief Orientation

My name is Tenielle Neda.

Tenielle is my first name, Neda is my middle name. Neda was actually my Baba’s name (grandmother). She was from Croatia and my family told me her name meant, “born on a Sunday,” and I was. Someone asked me how to pronounce my name the other day. So think of Ten Eels. Like eels that swim. Ten-eel. Or Ten-Neil. Then Neda is like Neh-Dah. I think my Mum liked that band from the 70s – The Captain and Tenille. Sometimes when I introduce myself people say “where’s the captain?” and usually crack up at their joke before I can answer.

I spent some of my childhood on a farm in remote Western Australia in the town where I was born. I went to high school in Perth, and then I moved to Karratha when I was 17. After working a few jobs, I ended up becoming a train driver. I still drive trains. Actually – they are the longest & heaviest trains in the world.

I always loved music. My Mum had an old electric organ that I would spent hours playing with when I was a little girl; trying to play the melodies of the songs we had sung at church. I loved to sing. I would spend hours in front of the stereo learning songs. My parents enrolled me into local singing groups and classes. But it wasn’t until I was 15 that I started playing an instrument. I received a guitar for my birthday or Christmas (I can’t remember which) and my childhood best friend taught me to play “You were meant for me” by Jewel. From that day on, as soon as I learnt chords, I wrote songs.

Fast forward a few years, I had the scary experience of being a Top 24 contestant on a reality TV program in my early 20s. I then won a competition which basically provided an artist development kind of program for 12 months (it was called The Telstra Road to Tamworth, but doesn’t exist anymore). It was in this time, that I signed to Mushroom Music Publishing as a songwriter, and released a country/pop single “Better than leaving” by “Tenielle.” Some time later, I signed to Universal Music/Island Records Australia. I can remember thinking how surreal it was sitting in the lobby of Universal in Sydney. I used to be so shy that I wouldn’t sing for my family – I would turn my back to them or make them hide behind a couch. And now, a young twenty-something, I was releasing my first EP “Daylight Disguise”(2013) out into the world – this time as “Neda” – it was more of a folk/pop sounding record.

In my time in Sydney & Melbourne, I was able to work with some wonderfully talented songwriters and producers: Adrian Deutsch, Wayne Connelly, Josh Pyke, Andy Bull, Kim Richey (USA), Mark Myers (The Middle East, Emma Louise), Wayne Connelly (Boy and Bear, Cloud Control) and Neal Sutherland (Bertie Blackman) to name a few. I learnt so much, and felt very privileged that people were willing to spend their time and share their talents with me. I was able to travel and play some amazing shows with some incredible musicians: Parachute (NZ), Americana (USA) & some fun shows/tours/supports on home turf here in Aus. Probably my favourite was the one where I got to play in New Zealand and met my husband (blush).

After some time, it felt like a better way to make music moving forward would be independently. I continued to write, but I had a bit of a break from music. Although, in 2016, I released a pop track called “Prehistoric Love,” which was written with my friends Rob & Denny (The Opposite Kids) in Perth. You might have heard it on the classic Aussie soap opera “Home & Away.” We were super excited when it came 2nd for the Pop/Top 40 Category of the International Songwriter Competition 2015.

Over time, I moved my way from the east coast of Australia back to the West – From Sydney, to Melbourne, to Perth. Most significantly, I became a Christian during my 20s. I got married and studied Theology for a while to learn more about this Jesus who changed my life. I have also had a son. He is amazing. Sometime between my “break” from music and now (maybe 3 years or so), I wrote some songs which I have recorded on an EP titled “Mercy.” The songs are very much influenced and inspired by my faith in Jesus. I wanted to release this EP under my full name – Tenielle Neda (minus my married name). It is different from previous music I have released, and feels like releasing it under my full name is the most genuine way to go (and also the whole name thing I think has just caused too much confusion!). We didn’t have a lot of money to make a record, so we raised most of the funds through a kickstarter campaign. I almost didn’t do it, as I felt pretty vulnerable. But I am so glad we did, and I am so humbled and encouraged by the support we received for the record.

We recorded part of it at home in our spare room while our son napped, in a vocal booth my husband made from hardware store supplies. The rest of it was recorded with a lovely, talented guy named James Newhouse at his studio in Bunbury, WA. It was just the three of us, and my friend Emily – who plays cello and piano. James’ wife Anita also put some piano down for us one night after their three kids went to bed. It really was a family event, and was such a different experience to all my other studio experiences.

Thanks for listening.

With love, Tenielle Neda x

www.tenielleneda.com

P.S. Here are some nice things someone said about me once:

“When I first heard Neda’s music I was genuinely moved by two things: The elegance of her vocal and the maturity of her song writing. For me there is no better combination.” Tim Hart, Boy & Bear

“With a heartbreaking catch to her voice & a strong selection of original material, her future is assured.” Noel Mengal, The Courier Mail


 

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. Learn more>