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Tessa Violet Williams, popularly known as Meekakitty or Tessa Violet is an American vlogger and singer-songwriter best known for her YouTube videos which are mostly humorous with fast cuts. She grew up in Oregon and performed in theater while in high school. She graduated as a member of the National Honor Society from Ashland High School (Oregon) on June 6, 2008.
Tessa began posting videos to YouTube in 2007 at the age of 17. Though her channel began as a video blog chronicling her life overseas as a young model, she has since shifted her content to include other creative disciplines including fan-made music videos for well-known bands including: Relient K, Family Force 5, and Mika. By 2009 Violet quit modeling completely, dropping the topic from her channel to focus on anecdotal stories and high production music videos.
Violet is known for her trademark flaming red hair and array of large-frame glasses worn in her videos. She is sometimes referred to as a geek girl for having an interest in Digimon, Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and The Legend of Zelda. She started vlogging in 2007 for a school project and began to do so daily when she traveled to Hong Kong and Thailand as a fashion model.
Journey to popularity:
In the Fall of 2008, while living in Seoul, Korea, Violet settled into a more traditional, less travel based format of vlogging. Focusing on stories, music videos, and skits, one of her most popular at the time were two successive videos, in which she played herself and a crazy alter-ego. The two talked back and forth about being obsessed with friend, and fellow YouTube Vloggers, WhatAboutAdam and Frezned.
In 2009, Tessa moved to New York and her YouTube success began to snowball. In 2010, two of Tessa's videos gained impressive popularity and went viral: "Wizard Love" - feat. Heyhihello, and "Star Trek Girl", both original comedy songs released under her name Meekakitty. The videos were produced by Maker Studios.
She was in the process of relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, with fellow YouTubers Zolloc (Hayden), Internallan and Nanalew (Shawna Howson, who was unable to get a visa as she currently lives in Canada). She relocated to Canada since Nanalew was unable to move to the US. After being unable to get a work visa, Violet moved once again to Nashville, Tennessee. Violet's YouTube channel is one of the 500 most-subscribed and in 2009 she won $100,000 in a YouTube competition in which the most commented video would win. Her cousin's roommate at that time, Ray William Johnson, with the then most-subscribed YouTube channel, appealed to his viewers to vote for Violet on the competition.
Beside her own vlogs, Violet also appeared in Ray William Johnson's side project Breaking Los Angeles (and its predecessor BreakingNYC), is the Post Supervisor of Breaking Los Angeles and appeared in three episodes of The Professionals.
In 2011 Tessa Violet was director of Photography and featured in Shawna Howson's (username: Nanalew) viral video "Sail" which has amassed over 174 million views. She now splits her content between anecdotal stories, life-advice vlogs, and musical content.
She is perhaps best known for her most popular music video "Star Trek Girl" which made its debut on her YouTube channel in January 2011 and promptly went viral. This video is no longer on her channel as it was set to private by Violet herself back in November 2011. She recently started to release songs on iTunes and create music videos, such as "The Bacon Song", with Alex Carpenter and Jason Munday, and "Wizard Love", with Heyhihello. On September 24, 2012, Violet appeared in a music video by Family Force 5. The song was a remixed version of "Cray Button", and featured Christian rapper Lecrae. Violet had previously used the FF5 song "Zombie" in one of her videos. She also directed the music video for the song "Chainsaw", featuring Tedashii.
In 2014, Violet released her album Maybe Trapped Mostly Troubled and for the first time broke away from the username: meekakitty, she released it under Tessa Violet. Unlike the comedy songs of the past, Maybe Trapped Mostly Troubled was written entirely by Tessa Violet. The album explores love, love lost, and themes of anxiety, self-worth, and co-dependency. The album spans the stylistic gamut. While the fourth track "Make Me a Robot" boasts EDM influences and attuned vocals, the final track "Now That We're Done" is a single mic, one take folk song with simple guitar, vocals, and body drums. Despite the variety in production, the songs are tied together through melody and guitar. She cites her influences as HelloGoodbye's second album Would It Kill You, Miniature Tigers' first album Tell It to the Volcano, and Rusty Clanton.
Maybe Trapped Mostly Troubled was produced by Seth Earnest at Maker Studios, with John Rueben as A&R.
In Spring of 2013, while Violet was staying in Canada, she began sending demos of her songs to Reuben to get his opinion on the album's potential. Originally going into the LA studio for a weekend to try production on a track "Rose Tyler's Song", another fandom-based song (this time Doctor Who), the trio explored production on one of Violet's non-comedy songs "Sorry I'm Not Sorry", which later became track 7 on the record.
When Monday came for Violet to fly back to Canada, she was denied entry at the border and sent back to LA. Violet has later said that "it was the perfect cocktail of John Rueben's and Seth Earnest's encouragement and talent and the 'having no where else to go'-ness that turned the project from a single into writing 30 songs in a summer and coming out with an album".
Despite the lack of attention from traditional media sources, the record went on to sell 5,000 copies in the first 3 months, and debuted at #10 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, remaining in iTunes pop charts for several weeks after release. It was very well received by the fans.
People You Know:
In December 2014, Violet teamed up with fellow YouTube musician Rusty Clanton to form the band 'People You Know'. The two released a Christmas album named You, Me and Christmas, featuring four cover songs and one original song entitled "You and Christmas".
Following their album release, Violet and Clanton toured the eastern half of the United States in what was dubbed The Living Room Tour where they visited 9 locations (along with several 'secret shows') to perform in people's living rooms. The show's consisted of a half hour of Rusty Clanton's original music, followed by a half hour of Tessa Violet's original music, and ending with 20 minutes of 'People You Know's' music. The two are set to tour the western half of the United States in July 2015, in the 'Return of the Living Room Tour'. More information on the upcoming Return of the Living Room Tour can be found in How to: Getting Over Your Ex beginning.
Violet has directed several unofficial music videos for her channel meekakitty. In 2013 she was hired to direct the official music video for Family Force Five's Chainsaw. Early in her career Violet was said to have a desire to move into directing more, but now has turned her full time focus to music.
Violet went on a 17-city U.S. and Canada tour from January 11 to February 10, 2012, with fellow YouTubers Nanalew (Shawna Howson), LiveLavaLive (Mitchell Davis and Kyle Sibert), Olan Rogers, Jason Munday and Alex Carpenter. Violet has also recently released an album 'Days of' with her friend Nanalew, calling their band 'The Week'. Collectively, Howson and Violet are known as 'Nanakitty' and have released many videos on both channels such as a trailer for a non-existent film called 'Ben'.