Jess Tollestrup is a performing musician, teacher, and poet currently living on Treaty 7 Blackfoot territory (Lethbridge). Their haunting looping pedal compositions - a blend of piano, vocal harmonies, guitar, mouth percussion, and spoken word poetry - have featured in poetry slams and music venues across Canada. In July 2017 they released their debut EP 'The Pluto Year' and chapbook 'Metafesto'. Jess received a diploma in jazz and contemporary piano from Vancouver Community College in 2016 with a minor in classical voice.
In addition to songwriting, Jess has played keys with country, blues, jazz, pop, and rock groups such as Bunny Eyes, Borscht, the Mark Hall Band, Driving While Blind, and Celery Sticks. They have provided musical accompaniment for improv groups like Sorry Not Sorry and The Fictionals. Jess has opened for spoken word folk group The Fugitives (2013) and performed with poets like Jillian Christmas and Edmonton’s past poet laureate Mary Pinkoski.
Festival highlights include Heart of the City (2017), Sled Island (2017), National YouthCanSlam Festival (2014), The People’s Poetry Festival (2012, 2013), Calgary Spoken Word Festival (2013), Vancouver Busker Festival (2013), and South Country Fair (2012). In 2017 Jess won the Hornby Island Blues Workshop Piano Scholarship. Their poetry has been published in magazines like Capilano University’s 'The Liar' and Lethbridge’s 'Fourth Wave Freaks’.