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Become a Beginner

Insights from local Musician Teressa Mahoney

There is no better scenario when interviewing someone than doing so over a glass of bourbon. Walking into Siena and seeing Teressa with her Old Fashioned at the ready, I instantly knew she was a kindred spirit. Yep, this would be my kind of interview. My suspicion was confirmed in the moments that followed as she told me of her journey to find her music. Her story is inspiring, it is empowering, and it is beautiful, just like the melodies of her songs.

At the ripe old age of four, Teressa was playing in her room and singing songs. Hearing her sing, her mother called out to her from the kitchen, asking her to come down and sing again. Teressa recalls her mom and her aunt sitting there in amazement, listening to her sing, and exclaiming, “She can SING!” From that moment on, Teressa found joy in music. She was able to use her talent through her teenage years, all across the country, while playing at youth conferences. CSU was her alma mater, where she earned her degree in French with a minor in education. When she got married, she took a hiatus from teaching and music in order to focus on her family. Four sweet babies joined her world and she spent many years nurturing and raising them. 

A Turning Point

Out of nowhere, as is often the case, an event occured that altered her life. From one moment to the next, everything changed. Like a ship at the mercy of the waves upon an angry sea, her safe harbor was gone. She experienced a great loss, and it was during this time that Teressa’s mother once again saw something in her daughter and reached out to help in the best way a grandma can help - she took all four kids and told Teressa to “Take some time for yourself today and do whatever you want. Whatever you like to do!”

It was at this point, sitting on the couch alone and staring at the room around her, she realized something profound. Teressa recalls, “I didn't know what I wanted to do. I didn’t know what I like to do on my own time. I spent so many years pouring out my life for my family that I lost sight of … me.” Looking around the room, her gaze fell onto a guitar. Had she ever played the guitar? Nope. So she did what most of us would be far too scared to do: She picked it up, searched the interwebs for guitar videos and taught herself to play. That day was a catalyst for her healing. For her finding joy in the midst of the storm. For her finding her music and finding herself. 

Up until this point, Teressa had never written a song. She had years of singing under her belt as well as learning to play the guitar but she had always been playing what others had written. It became time to sing her own song. As she began to unlock the feelings she had inside, the floodgates opened and words poured from her heart. Five songs later, she had her first album, “Made New.” “That first compilation of songs is like looking through old photos. I listen to the words that I wrote and they are like a snapshot of that point in time. Of what I was thinking at that moment.” Teressa wrote “Sing Out Your Song” for her daughter. Watching her going through the joys of teenage girl school drama, she noticed that her daughter was still able to open up and love people even through being hurt. “I Will Listen” came from her own breakthrough of feeling love for humanity. Teressa takes this notion a step further in her next album. “Beyond, my second album, is a continuation of the idea of loving others. We are so divided. If we could actually see the heart of each person we are talking about we couldn’t avoid identifying with them on their level.”  

“Disillusions” is her third album, which will drop in June of this year. “This album is a compilation of music for people at a turning point. I want these songs to be like the warm hand of a friend to people whose beliefs have been shaken. They attempt to offer the hope that this frightening and isolating feeling is a good and necessary part of a faith journey.” 

Become a Beginner

In recounting her journey, Teressa had so many words of wisdom to pass along to others who want to begin something new. “Many of us are scared to start something that is either new to us or that we haven’t mastered. We think we have to be experts before we put ourselves out there. But if there is something in your heart to be or to do, you cannot ignore it. Don’t be afraid to become a beginner. If you ignore it it is to your own detriment. To simply embrace the beginner aura is so freeing.” 

Even after playing for years on many stages, writing her own songs and recording an album, Teressa still struggled with calling herself an artist and musician. “We all deal with the feeling of being an imposter, but we should realize that we are the real thing - Own it!” 

Goals

One thing I love about his gal is her tenacity and refusal to settle. Finding her inner music and sharing it with the world was just the beginning. This mom of four is an accomplished realtor, artist and musician who uses her free time to help those in need. When I asked her about her future plans, the first words out of her mouth were, “Long term goal for me? Using my time and money to help the victims of human trafficking.” The organization she currently is partnered with, International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org), does just that. They not only send in teams to rescue people, they utilize local law enforcement and lawyers to ensure the perpetrators are taken off the streets for good. Counseling is provided for the trafficked victims in order to allow for healing to occur and a new life to take hold. 

Local Love

Teressa is a resident of Castle Rock and plays live music shows all over, from the Tap Room in Parker to Ecclesia in downtown Castle Rock. Her indie/folk sounds are a fan favorite, causing people to follow her from venue to venue. Because of this, Teressa is now also doing House Concerts as well, which she describes as far more intimate. “The live music I play at local venues is a ton of fun, but the House Concerts are a totally different animal. For each song I am able to give a synopsis of the story behind the music. These concerts are more focused and people can hear why I wrote what I wrote.” You can learn more about Teressa as well as see her show schedule at www.teressamahoney.com.

Her parting words of encouragement to us all: “Become a beginner.”

Day job: Realtor

Hobbies (besides music): Photography, graphic design, yoga

Fun Fact: Teressa is fluent in French

Project During Covid: Creating a non-profit called, “Little Bursts of Joy'' where artists of all kinds could donate items from their collection. You would nominate someone you love to receive a box filled with these items, which Teressa would assemble and mail, bringing “a little burst of joy” to their day. 

Mom To 4: Keaton, Maddie, Weston, Wyatt 

Musical Goal: To collaborate with her brothers in concert in the near future! 


 

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