Authentic. Fearless. Free.
Born in Tyler, Texas to a religiously conservative family, Tilly started out in this life always drawn to music and having a way with words. “I should have been a lawyer, the way I could argue for things.” she says.
Tilly began loving music at the knee of her Grandmother, who owned an old upright piano. By the age of four she had composed her first work about Midnight, the family dog. Music was a retreat, an escape from where she didn’t quite fit in and a home life that wasn’t always the best. She would take her guitar and notebook out to the woods and spend hours writing and practicing, making music her whole world for those times she could get away. Tilly credits an elementary school teacher with truly changing her life through music. She would offer free guitar lessons after school, providing more time away from home, where time spent making music was frowned upon, at best. At that time, the strict church she grew up in still had a piano in all of their physical churches. There was on member of the congregation that was tasked with learning and playing all of the music and hymns. If they were gone, there was no music. Tilly quickly saw an opportunity to stay involved with music, and further her education by learning to play the music and filling in when the regular piano player was out.
As she grew up, she played guitar at church social functions and family reunions, always playing but never singing. Always writing her poetry, but not confident to put lyrics to music. After years of trying to fit her beautifully square peg into the round hole of the conservative religion and society of her childhood, she broke free. She landed in Kansas City, and quickly immersed herself in the rich musical heritage of Blues and Jazz in her adopted hometown. It was a classic twist of fate, though that gave Tilly the mic and she never let go. While visiting friends at a karaoke night, a regular needed a second on the very un-blusey “Love Shack” by the B-52s and for the first time, Tilly sang in public. She then began to attend shows at Knuckleheads Saloon, a Kansas City music institution, and quickly proved herself. “Julie Majors from Miss Majors and the Minor Mood Swings invited me to sing with them at one of her shows and encouraged me to come back for the open jam sessions. I didn’t know enough to be intimidated.” Knuckleheads regularly plays host to some of the best jazz, blues, rock, and gospel singers in the nation.
Tilly also made the pilgrimage to Clarksdale, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennesee to learn more about the Blues and hear the greats. She has graced the stages at Ground Zero Blues and Red’s Lounge on a few occasions. It was the history of the Blues that convinced Tilly to begin telling her own story through music. Her deeply personal songs are borne from feeling like an outsider to speaking of abuse, recovery and freedom. In just a little over a year, she has a full set of brilliant and polished material to perform. Finding her authentic voice in her songs, Tilly says she is free now in ways she never thought of before. Her music has given her the ability to live free and look forward of what is next in life.
For booking information, please fill out the contact form below or call 816.217.6255.