Band of the Day

2013.11.15

Tei Shi

Underwater escapism from a single voice that somehow sounds like an ethereal choir of mermaids
I can be your bullet-proof vest, or the gun that you hold to your chest.
lyrics from M&Ms

Tei Shi made a stunning introduction to the music world earlier this year, debuting a soulful pop gem titled "M&Ms." The Brooklyn via Bogotá and Vancouver based vocalist reveals an affinity towards lush dream pop, airy 90s R&B and mesmerizing soundscapes, with a hauntingly minimal instrumental foundation. Tei Shi's layered vocals drive the song, immediately casting listeners under her inviting, pristine spell.

Gorilla Vs Bear premiered the Mac Boucher-directed video to accompany "M&Ms," revealing the artist behind Tei Shi for the first time.

The songs of Tei Shi's debut EP, titled Saudade and produced by Luca Buccellati, trace a surreal aesthetic universe, one that is intricately crafted and flawlessly executed.

And in her own words: "Tei Shi was both a project that came from a really long and evolving personal process, and also something that came together very quickly in terms of the EP, because of a really successful and efficient collaboration. I basically brought a bunch of songs I’d written and wanted desperately to work on but had never shown anyone before to my friend and producer Luca Buccellati. He was the first person who allowed me to really believe in my songs and bring them to life. We decided to work together and with a combination of songs I’d written a couple of years ago as well as a few that are much more recent, we developed the sound and recorded the EP in less than a week.

I listened to a lot of James Blake when I was writing the first few songs, and he has definitely been my overarching musical influence. When the EP was really coming together earlier this year though, I was listening a lot to Rhye, Atoms For Peace, Daughter, and a lot of 80’s/90’s pop and R&B...whether that’s all reflected in my music or not. The funny thing is that when I was going through a big writing phase I was barely listening to any other music at all.

I would say my biggest influence in the general sound is James Blake. In songwriting this is true because I was really impacted by his use of vocal arrangement and minimal production. I never played an instrument well enough to accompany myself while singing, so my songwriting naturally shifted to writing entire songs as just a vocal arrangement, expressing the harmonic changes that would normally go through an instrument, with multiple layers of voice.

I usually write as I record, so I’d have my computer open and record the melodies I was liking, put a lot of harmonies on that, and so on. I think the surroundings definitely influenced the outcome, as the sound in general is very intimate and for the most part minimal. I am only really comfortable writing in complete privacy so being in the comfort of my own room allowed for that."