The Winehouse Mag

June 14th, 2015
AUX Interview: Tei Shi

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Tei Shi made a believer out of Bill Murray. (Originally published on AUX TV). 

On the heels of her stellar new EP, the Brooklyn artist reveals she’s already working on new sounds. 

Last month at SXSW, Tei Shi left the Stubb’s stage in Austin, Texas, after performing for one of the biggest audiences so far in her career, and noticed that her Twitter feed was filled with tweets about Bill Murray. Earlier, Murray had walked across the stage as she sound checked, and was later observed seriously grooving during her set. “People said that they were standing beside him and he was stomping around and seemed really into it,” she laughs over the phone. “So that’s really cool.”

It’s just the latest in many big moments the one-time Vancouver, now New York-based, performer, has had lately: last year she was sought out by British rock band Glass Animals to collaborate on their hit track “Holiest,” giving her international attention (her tour will be making its way to Paris next month). Her track “Go Slow” from new EP Verde (Arts & Crafts) debuted on the hugely influential UK BBC 1 radio program hosted by DJ Annie Mac, making it the first time Tei Shi (pronounced Tay-She) heard one of her songs played on the radio.

“That feeling that musicians used to feel, hearing their song on the radio for the first time, was something I’ve never felt, because it’s always been my decision to just put it out online,” she says. “But to hear it from an outside perspective was exciting.” 

Born in Argentina to Colombian parents, Tei Shi (born Valerie Teicher) spent her youth living between places as diverse as Bogotá, Columbia and Vancouver, BC, where her family moved when she was eight years old. After graduating high school in Vancouver, she spent a year at Montreal’s McGill for psychology before deciding to leave for music school in Boston, and from there made the move to Brooklyn. There she met future friend and co-producer/collaborator Luca Buccellati. The two bonded over songs Tei Shi had been working on throughout her school years and recorded them for what would eventually become the Saudade EP.

Tei Shi

In summer 2013, not sure what she wanted to do with the tracks, she tentatively uploaded the song “M&Ms”; her decision paid off when it caught the attention of Gorilla Vs. Bear, who called it atime-stretching future-pop gem.” Her buzz built one track at a time. Eventually, emboldened by Saudade’s critical success upon its fall 2013 release, she began doing shows, becoming a more confident and less reserved live performer.

Toward the end of 2014, Tei Shi released a sultry cover of Beyoncé’s “No Angel,” and her own intriguingly sardonic record, “Bassically,” a track that builds from “submission to emancipation” and was not about love, but about addressing limiting labels.

“There’s this desire to break through [labels] and go beyond them. That was something I just felt at the time, especially being in music and a new independent female musician.” “Bassically” voices those frustrations, moving from tongue-in-cheek to an ecstatic climatic release.

Tei Shi’s genre defying style is too fluid for her to describe when asked, and she wants to keep it that way. Now that the stellar and simmering Verde is out, next for her is a delicately designed filler-free LP—hopefully released sometime in 2016—that she says may even include more Spanish-influenced lyrics and rhythms, slightly hinted at in Verde’s “See Me.”

“Once I tackle one side of myself or one side of sound, then I want to move on to a totally different one.”

Featured Image via: Eric White / Arts&Crafts

 

Originally published on AUX

 

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