Written By Kelly Holm
We all know and love Lady Gaga’s “Telephone,” but if you feel like jamming to another catchy tune about unreturned calls, check out Tessellated’s “No Ansa.” Ft. Crayon. With a reggae hook that’ll remain in your head all day, it’s a perfect kickoff to the soundtrack of your summer.
“Bruk off di waist when she whine like monsta/Feeling the vibe a di time no long talk,” sings Tessellated in the chorus. “Lock off di phone when she call no ansa/Ring off di line she nuh mind no ansa.”
The track, which Tessellated describes as “super dynamic and energetic live,” is a single on the 23-year-old’s debut EP, titled Tropics Vol. 1. Born Joshua Meeks, Tessellated grew up in Jamaica, where he knew by age 16 that performing would be his life’s work. Before he sang, he honed his skills as a DJ.
“I remember my hands shaking as I went to play the first track, but once the music started and the crowd started reacting, everything became calm,” he said. “The first full song I did was a remix I posted up on Soundcloud, and later removed.”
While that particular song might be lost to the void of Internet history, you can check out seven other Tessellated tracks, including “No Ansa,” on the EP, which was written and recorded over a period of three years before finally dropping in December.
“I never set out to create [Tropics Vol. 1] as a whole… it was just me along with friends, chopping up ideas and making music, no big studios or big budgets,” Tessellated said. “I realized I had a slot of great songs and then came up with the vision of putting the best ones together and creating some more to fill in the blanks.”
He says his favorite track on Tropics Vol. 1 is easily “Sweeter.”
“I’m in love with Afro-Latin sounds, and I think to date [‘Sweeter’ is] my best infusion of those sounds,” he tells Elicit. “Plus, having Protoje feature on it with me just makes it even nicer.”
Releasing his debut EP wasn’t the only milestone Tessellated checked off recently. In 2019, the artist’s song, “I Learnt Some Jazz Today,” was featured in an Apple Airpods’ Commercial. Just last year, he was signed to Sony/ATV Music Publishing in London. In March, he performed at 2021’s virtual South by Southwest Music Festival, playing an empty stage to a crowd of remote attendees.
“My band, the Trampoozers, and I locked in for hours at a time, every day just running songs over and over to make sure we got it right,” he says. “It’s interesting, honestly, because when I perform in front of a crowd they almost disappear to me, and I’m really just in the moment. If anything, the virtual aspect made it a little less stressful and easier to focus on getting the perfect sound.”
Still, he misses the “raw energy” a live audience brings to a venue that is “just impossible to fake.”
“You can never replicate the vibe of hundreds or thousands of people enjoying a moment together,” he says.
In the months to come, Tessellated promises his fans that they can expect significant evolution from future releases, describing his musical journey as “a long game” and “a marathon,” with lots of free-flowing, meaningful songwriting occurring lately. He yearns for a dream collaboration with rapper J Hus, but knows that in order to stay grounded he can’t neglect the business side of the industry in favor of the music.
“I want to be balanced in my creative and personal life… music business is just that, two sides of a coin, and you need to be on-point in both,” he muses. “Realizing that I’m actually at the stage where I’m making a living off of music… was so surreal and humbling.”