Jess Tollestrup is a musician and spoken word poet currently living in traditional Blackfoot territory (CKA 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'.
In addition to songwriting, Jess has played keys with country, blues, jazz, pop, and rock groups such as Borscht, the Mark Hall Band, Driving While Blind, and Celery Sticks. They received a diploma in jazz and contemporary piano at Vancouver Community College (2016) and won the Hornby Island Blues Workshop Piano Scholarship (2017).
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. They have performed in festivals like 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). Their poetry has been published in magazines like Capilano University’s 'The Liar' and Lethbridge’s 'Fourth Wave Freaks’.
Early successes include performing their composition ‘Cycles’ in the provincial level of the Kiwanis festival (2010), and their script ‘Not’ being made into a short film after winning the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute’s film contest (2012).