We had the good fortune of connecting with Tess Scott-Suhrstedt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tess, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
There are so many factors that go into being a successful working freelance musician in Los Angeles. I am so grateful to be able to do what I love. While there are so many factors behind my success, such as passion, striving to reach new goals, and support from my loved ones, I would say that for me personally, the biggest factor would be accepting the failures and defeats along with the wins. As a musician, as well as any artist, you are bound to face a certain amount of rejection, and you just have to take a breath and say, “That’s okay”. You can’t let it get you down. You must learn from your rejections and disappointments and go forward with new knowledge you have gained.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being an aspiring musician is certainly a challenge. It takes constant hard work, practice, and dedication. Learning to play an instrument like the viola is also a physical challenge. You have to train your body to control and bond with your instrument. Although I started from a strictly classical background, I have always immersed myself in an environment that is musically diverse. It can be hard when you are attending a classical conservatory to get stuck in a certain genre. It was always very important for me to maintain a diverse taste in music and channel my love of all genres into my classical playing. It is because of that that I am now playing with jazz groups, rock bands, and even electronic DJS and metal bands. I would say that for a while, I was “technically” behind, meaning I was not quite yet at the place of mastering the physical techniques of playing the instrument as my colleagues. I received quite a bit of rejection in my early schooling and career. But nevertheless I pushed through, practicing and learning as much as I could. However, My teachers always told me I had something that you couldn’t teach. I loved music. You can’t teach that. You are born with it, and if you are lucky, it is nurtured. I tell any young musicians, that if you love what you do, there is no end to where you can go. That is my mantra and message I tell myself every day, and what I like to send out to the universe.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am born and bread in this amazing city of Los Angeles. Boy, it is is hard to narrow down my favorite places. We live in such a culturally vast city, and the city is all vast in size. I think the best thing you can do is try to get around to everywhere. The valley is my go-to for amazing strip mall sushi. If I want to take a nice drive down PCH, I go to Malibu for classic 50s style seafood at the the Reel Inn. If I want to treat myself I go sit at the bar at Republique on La Brea, which happens to be where my fiancee bartends so I get to visit with him too. On a rainy day off, I love to go to museums. You can spend an entire day in LACMA. My nephew is 3, and I have recently been taking him to the Natural History Museum and it has become a new favorite spots. The hiking in LA is just incredible. And I’m not talking about the short hikes in the Hollywood hills. If you drive out 45 minutes or so, up into the Angeles National Forest, you can get some of the most beautiful mountain trails. That really became a sanctuary for me curing Covid. Of course this is LA, and you truly can’t ever go wrong with a trip to the beach. My favorite one is Zuma. I feel so lucky to live here, and I think one of the absolutely best things about this city is also the amazing getaway spots that are just under 2 hours drive. That is unique to this city I think. Within a few hours you can be In the mountains of Idyllwild, the dry desert of Joshua tree, a relaxing pool in Palm springs, or wine tasting at a ranch in Santa Barbara. So I would say if you are lucky enough to even stay two weeks in this amazing place, take advantage of one of those also.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First of foremost, my parents are my rocks. They have supported me every step of the way ever since I came home at the age of 7 and said I wanted to learn the viola. I come from an extremely passionate family that all work in the film industry. Not that they ever “expected” me to follow in those footsteps, although most people would not be surprised, they never skipped a beat when I told them about my new dream to learn an instrument. I was enrolled in music classes a week later, and have never looked back. I would also like to take a moment and thank my grandfather, James Scott. He passed away right before I started graduate school, but as my self proclaimed “biggest fan,” I know he is with me at every performance or job that I play.