As the daughter of Columbian parents who spent her childhood living between Argentina, Columbia and Vancouver, it’s little surprise that people find it hard to characterize the sound of New York-based singer-songwriter, Valerie Teicher. “The changing of my environments is something that has influenced me as a person. It’s affected the way I approach music and my desire to make something eclectic and not easily defined – something that pulls from a lot of different places and sources.”
Better known by the moniker Tei Shi, Teicher’s latest EP, Verde, is at once indie-pop, electronic, minimalist and sumptuous, effortlessly blending ‘80s synths and R&B grooves with silky, layered melodies and soaring, powerhouse vocals. It’s a notable departure from the more melancholy EP Saudade, which Teicher wrote and recorded while studying at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music. She explains, “My first EP was very raw – it was minimal in its production and the arrangements around the voice. I had never done anything like that before.”
In fact, 2013’s critically acclaimed Saudade was not only the product of Teicher’s first professional effort, but also the first of her music to ever go beyond the four walls of her bedroom. “I always had the desire to put my stuff out there, but I never shared it with anyone – not even my family,” she says. “When I put out my first song, they were like, ‘You wrote this?’”
Taking that initial leap signalled a turning point for Teicher: “My life changed a lot after I put out Saudade. I kind of took charge of myself and what I wanted to do. Writing the second EP was very different – it was a little more light-hearted and fun, and more assertive… there was more of a purpose behind it.”
“Bassically”, arguably Verde’s most accessible song, certainly speaks to Teicher’s desire to take charge. With lyrics like “Is that what you want, like the other boys? / Someone you can flaunt like the other toys?” it’s been received as a feminist anthem of sorts – but Teicher said that wasn’t exactly her intention. “It’s funny, because for me personally it was definitely coming from that place, but I never expected anyone to objectively interpret it that way,” she says. “In a broad sense, that song is like a liberation – it can speak to anyone who’s experiencing some sort of frustration.”
For me, [“Bassically”] was more about wanting to prove myself in the music industry and the obstacles of being female in an environment that can be oppressing.
As she elaborates on the motivation behind the song, it’s clear that Teicher – who identifies as a feminist – is no stranger to some of the challenges facing women in music. “For me, [“Bassically”] was more about wanting to prove myself in the music industry and the obstacles of being female in an environment that can be oppressing. You kind of feel the need to break through certain expectations.”
“It’s something that I struggled with a little bit, because most of the time I’m surrounded by guys in my musical environment,” Teicher discloses. “There was a while where I really wanted to have a relationship with a female doing the same thing – I think that’s so important. I can’t say I necessarily have that, but I’ve turned a lot to learning about other women that I admire and reading about their careers and where they started, and that’s definitely been really useful for me.”
Her advice to anyone in her shoes? Accept help when it’s offered – but always stay true to yourself. She explains: “I think that for women in music there’s a sense of needing to do everything alone in order to feel like you’ve proven yourself. I’ve realized that collaboration is something that will make your music better. It’s fine to allow other people to help you, but at the same time it’s important to maintain that sense of self.”
She might be a relative newcomer to the music industry, but Teicher’s experience thus far has translated into a deep-rooted passion for helping other female artists succeed. “Something I feel very strongly about is the need for women musicians to support each other,” she says. “There’s such a weird tension in the music industry around female-to-female competition. At some point, when and if I ever have enough influence to do so, I’d like to create an environment – events and things for female musicians – where we can rely on each other and collaborate.”
In the meantime, Teicher is busy working on her third album. Although still in the early writing stages, she can already say with certainty that it will have a different sound to Verde. “It won’t be a complete departure by any means, but definitely a further exploration musically.”
Possibly a by-product of her nomadic lifestyle, Teicher admits she’s already starting to feel somewhat disconnected from the five tracks on Verde. “I kind of have an approach to things where I don’t get very attached,” she reveals. “I recognize that I’m always changing, which I think is good, so when I make stuff I just accept that it belongs in that point in time.”
Teicher’s forward-looking approach and willingness to test musical boundaries and evolve is what makes her one of the most exciting artists to watch. Stay tuned.
The meaning of Jazz Cartier’s Fleurever is rooted in duality. In the two years since his sophomore mixtape, Hotel Paranoia, the artist has had to “[battle] the balances of love and money, risks and rewards, right and wrong, or living and dying”, alongside coming to terms with the throes of wealth and fame. Subsequently Fleurever—or, as he calls it, his “third project”—explores Cartier’s personal growth in the years following. With his newfound maturity in tow, Toronto’s rising rap star is on course to start a music revolution—well, that’s the idea anyway. Georgie caught up with Cartier to talk about gratitude, the rapper’s personal transformation, and the driving force behind Fleurever. G—Can you tell us a bit about your latest album Fleurever and the inspiration behind it? JC—Most of the inspiration came from growth, and a bit from my departure from Toronto. A lot of the record was made in my last days in Toronto, and just having that cloud over my head and knowing that I’d be leaving soon—it was more so showing my affection for the city that pretty much shaped my sound. G—Did you have a vision in mind when you started writing this album? JC—For the most part Fleurever is just myself and my
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Named for the Toronto area they grew up in, The Beaches are a far cry from a placid day on the lake. Led by singer/bassist Jordan Miller—with her sister and guitarist Kylie Miller, guitarist/keyboardist Leandra Earl and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel—the Canadian four-piece burst out of Toronto with their 2018 debut, Late Show, and have since built up an aura of dissident swagger. Taking home this year’s Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, the all-fem rock quartet is bringing grunge, gloss, and 70s glamour to a predominantly male genre. Georgie caught up with Leandra to talk about the band’s latest music video, taking charge of their music, and three simple ways to keep women in the industry. G—Did you grow up together in Toronto? LE—Yeah, I met the girls in high school. Jordan and Kylie are sisters, so they’ve known each other a bit longer, but they grew up with Eliza in Toronto’s Beaches area. G—What kind of music were you listening to at that time? LE—We grew up listening to all of the music our parents listened to. That definitely influenced us while writing our debut album since we drew from a lot of the 70’s music that our