By Michael Grondin
The hypnotic grooves and bombastic beats of New York based Canadian singer Tei Shi are showcased on her debut full-length Crawl Space, what she calls a vessel for her emotions and fears expressed through warm melodies and a liquid-smooth voice.
“Crawl Space is the closing of a chapter and the beginning of something new in my life,” says Valerie Teicher in a phone call from her Chinatown apartment in Manhattan. The album came out in April, and has received rave reviews.
The Colombian-born, Vancouver raised writer/producer claimed some fame after self-producing and self-releasing two EPs, showcasing her charming yet minimal approach to electronic bedroom-pop, layering her vocals over experimental, pop-infused beats.
“The journey of my experiences after having jumped into all of this made me feel like I wanted my first album to push both personal boundaries and re-introduce myself musically,” she says. “A crawl space seemed like this metaphorical space where I could hide to work through fears and anxieties.”
She explained that in the two-year process of writing and producing Crawl Space, her life went through many changes.
“I was dealing with a lot of the eternal conflicts and pressures you feel when you are starting to put together something you love — something that is very precious to you,” she says.
“When I was really working on the bulk of the album and finishing it, I was experiencing the end of many important relationships in my life as well.”
This forced her to reexamine things.
“I re-inserted this period of my life and revisited my childhood life. I looked at things now the way I would have as a kid,” she says. “I wanted to rediscover the roots of why I loved singing and performing. There was a lot of tying back a lot of my current emotions as I tried to stay true to that young part of myself.”
Crawl Space is a mature, fleshed out, 15 song musical effort that pushes far beyond what Teicher released in the past, moving beyond the bedroom and into a studio.
“I was able to bring many musicians in, so there’s a different role you have to play where you have to guide the process but also let things unfold in their own way,” she concludes.
Tei Shi perform October 6 as part of Up + Downtown Fest at the Vinyl Needle Tavern (Edmonton), October 7 at the Commonwealth Bar & Stage (Calgary) and October 13 at the Biltmore Cabaret (Vancouver).commonwealth Bar & Stage, Crawl Space, GGOOLLDD, Lyra Brown, Tei Shi, U.S Girls, Up + Downtown Fest, Vinyl Needle Tavern