by Michael Grondin
VANCOUVER – 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 performs October 11 at Sugar Nightclub (Victoria) and October 12 at the Biltmore Cabaret (Vancouver).