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  • Jia Sharma


Words by Jia Sharma (she/her)

Tessa Hills (she/they), better known as MESSIE, has become the talk of the town lately, captivating both social media and live audiences with her electrifying performances. From sharing the stage with Fred Again at Spark Arena, to accompanying him on tour in Perth, her journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Tessa describes it as if "the universe flipped a switch," marking a monumental leap in her career.

Tessa's passion for music ignited at fifteen when they first picked up the drums, eventually leading her to pursue a degree in music technology at university. Her journey took off as she joined the band Girl Best Friend and honed her skills as a DJ, while living in university halls. Leveraging her band connections, she swiftly secured gigs at venues like San Fran, B.Space, and Valhalla, along with stints as a bar DJ.

Reflecting on her performance at Rhythm and Vines last year, Tessa reminisces, “It was cool cause I’m from Gisbourne, and it was just cool to go back to the hometown and play the dream festival for me when I was young”. With invitations pouring in for festivals, including those across Australia, Tessa's future is brimming with promise.

Known for their dynamic sound that blends a bit of everything from techno to jungle, Tessa's performances radiate energy and enthusiasm. Witnessing her set at San Fran in March was an unforgettable experience—every moment filled with enthusiasm from both Tessa and the crowd.

The whirlwind collaboration with Fred Again has been a highlight of Tessa's career. It all began when she submitted a mix through one of Fred's Instagram stories, catching his keen interest. Their synergy was undeniable, culminating in memorable performances from the Coromandel to Perth. Tessa's journey, from entertaining crowds of 400 at Cuba Dupa to commanding audiences of 35 thousand in Perth, was described as “the biggest jump imaginable”. 

Despite the monumental leap, Tessa remains remarkably composed, saying “I just knew that I had been preparing my whole life for this”. Watching clips of her in Perth, one can't help but admire her composure and confidence.

For those craving a unique blend of "weird drums with funny gay singalongs" (and who wouldn't?), MESSIE's upcoming gigs are not to be missed. With demand soaring, I’m sure we won't have to wait long. Witnessing a Wellington artist's meteoric rise is truly inspiring, and the overwhelming support for Tessa's success speaks volumes. As they continue to line up gigs and offers, I'll be eagerly awaiting the opportunity to catch her live again.


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