Tenille Arts Looks Inward and Finds Solace on ‘To Be Honest’

17 May 2024 / by Anastazja Marut
Tenille Arts To Be Honest
Album reviews
Tenille Arts To Be Honest
Released: May 3, 2024
Label: Dreamcatcher Artists
Carly Pearce / Maddie & Tae
So Do I, Summer Don’t Go, Jealous of Myself, Last Time Last

Tenille Arts invites listeners to explore love, friendship, and heartbreak with her on her fourth studio album, To Be Honest.


Hailing from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Arts is no stranger to the country music scene. She released her first album, Rebel Child, in October 2017 under an independent label. Following the release of her third album in 2022, Arts signed with Dreamcatcher Artists with whom she has remained since. 


In her release announcement, Arts wrote, “I owe you guys something real. . . and I owe myself something real.” Coming off her tour with Luke Bryan in April, Arts prepared to release her latest record. It comes as no surprise that an album titled To Be Honest strips Arts bare, exposing her innermost thoughts and feelings. She jumps right into it, opening the record with the self-titled track, singing, “To be honest, I’m scared / To be honest, that’s rare.” From here on out, her honesty never wavers.


Arts invites various songwriters to contribute to the record, but perhaps none are as critical as those behind “So Do I.” Upon the track’s release as the seventh and final single in April, Arts described it as the most personal song she never wrote. Through collaboration with Demi Lovato, Sasha Sloan, Laura Veltz, and King Henry, “So Do I” was born. A heartfelt song about seeking comradery amidst mental health struggles, paired with guitar strings and drum beats that come together seamlessly towards the track’s end make it unifying in every sense. “So Do I,” the result of collaboration, strives to unite listeners in their battles with mental health, just as Arts intended. 


Love is won and lost throughout the record as Arts finds new love on “Summer Don’t Go” and watches a lover turn into a stranger on “People Change”: “But there’s something in your eyes I haven’t seen before / Baby, lately, I don’t recognize you anymore.” Her mourning of past relationships continues in “Jealous of Myself” when the gift of hindsight reveals all the good she once had before she lost it. The track begins slowly and quietly, led by Arts’ vocals and a steady piano beat. As it goes on, the music crescendos and the addition of LeAnne Rimes’ powerful vocals adds a new layer to an already passionate performance by Arts.


Arts doesn’t shy away from being reflective, but perhaps does so the most on the closing track, “Last Time Last.” By the fourteenth track, Arts has said all that is needed about love and heartache. Now, she sings about savouring and holding onto moments before they become memories. Contrasting the slow build of the opening track, “Last Time Last” embraces an upbeat tempo, providing listeners with a happy ending. It’s the perfect closer to an encapsulation of memories which have shaped Arts’ life and career.


To Be Honest is a cohesive collection of music and a worthy addition to Arts’ catalogue. Her devotion to her craft is clear from the storytelling and lyrics to the burning passion she exudes at every moment.