Austin singer/songwriter Tje Austin recently released his new EP, I Belong to You, and we’ve taken our time to digest every morsel of it. Tje is a talented musician, that’s pretty evident in everything that he does, but did you know that he also has another big talent that he likes to share with the world? Austin is also a home pastry chef, though his Instagram photo might lead you to believe that he’s a professional.
We’ll dig into his cakes and pies in a bit, but first here’s a little background on Tje’s career as a musician:
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Like many successful people who made names for themselves, Tje got his start in a University of Texas dorm.
“When I moved to Austin to go to UT, when my friends and i would hang out in the dorms, we would have these dope sessions trading songs and spoken word,” he said. “I would sing and they began to encourage me to go perform downtown. I didn’t take it serious at first, but then I was like, ‘I could try my hand at making music in the live music capital.’”
From there, Tje began playing around town and honing skills and talents that ended up landing him on season 1 of “The Voice” in 2011 where he, along with blues man Nakia, represented Austin wonderfully.
But a few sleepless nights helped to add to Tje’s creative repertoire: “I was having sleep issues and I couldn’t always write a song so i decided to start baking. I follow a lot of cool bakers on Instagram and I wanted to try to emulate what they were doing. Baking is just another creative outlet for me now,” Tje said.
If you’re wondering, those Instagram inspirations include @heysugaphotos @jojoromancer @stylesweetca @preppykitchen, and you can find Tje Austin’s cakes at @tjeaustinmusic. There you’ll see him bake up a few of his favorites, including a chocolate porter cake with a chocolate buttercream frosting or a lemon zucchini cake.
And yes, Tje is interested in pursuing baking professionally one day, and gets excited at the thought of being an apprentice baker in the future. His natural talent is already so evident, we can’t wait to see what he has in store with some serious training under his belt.
Now back to the music… Tje counts among his musical inspirations John Legend, India Arie, Adele, Sam Smith, and Ed Sheeran, which is evident in his work.”I love how they all are creatively. I love the melody choices they use in songs,” he explained.
this afternoon i had the pleasure of debuting my EP in its entirety before it's release next week and i was accompanied by the some of the best musicians i know (@alphonsolove @producedbykriskeyz @mattnoveskey and tom palmer) check out that shirt designed by @typebychris and printed here in Austin by @robdru82. 📸 by @hendi11
Speaking of creating songs, Tje tells us that “There are some similarities between baking and writing a song. I have my method of writing songs and I have patterns I like to follow to create what i think a good song is. But there is room for mistakes. It’s okay if I mess up singing a song. In baking you have to be very precise and can’t really make a mistake in measuring or else your cake could come out really wrong.”
Unless you happen to know Tje Austin personally, you will probably only get to marvel over his cakes with your eyes until he begins taking his hobby up to that professional level, though he does occasionally sell a few things online (be sure to follow him on Instagram). You can, however, listen to his music via his new EP, I Belong to You, and go see him live (follow him on Facebook and check out his website to learn about upcoming shows).
In the meantime, here are a few of our favorite tracks from the EP, which we’ve paired with the perfect baked good to nibble on while you listen.
Naturally, a song about whiskey is also a song about heartbreak, and what pairs better than a nice bourbon and a broken heart than chocolate? Because, as Tje sings, “Whiskey never, ever lets me down.”
Tje’s smooth, loving voice voice combined with a full band, but specifically a beautiful horn section manages to be both mournful and hopeful at the same time. He knows he’s hurting right now, but knows that after a few good benders the hangover and heartache will both eventually clear up.
Almost as bad as full on heartbreak is that ache that comes with being placed in the friend zone. In Higher, Tje implores his love interest to let him take her higher with a fun, funky track full of heavy bass licks and beautiful falsettos. This one will have you dancing around the kitchen as you attempt to look for a snack that tries to come close to something like this chocolate Oreo cake that rises to the occasion.
While the title describes a potential relationship with the singer, just read between the lines a little to know that he’s also saying “I will feed you the best baked goods you’ve ever had” when he sings to his love interest that “I could be so good for you, you could be so good for me… Just get to know me.” This upbeat, hopeful ballad is fresh, uplifting, and sweet, just like this gorgeous fruit-topped tres leches cake.
Now go check out Tje Austin’s new album, yourself, and see just how sweet it is.
Featured photo courtesy Tje Austin Music Facebook