With the release of her critically applauded full-length debut, Crawl Space, the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, electronic music artist and electronic music producer Valerie Teicher, a.k.a Tei Shi quickly established her sound — slow-burning and shimmering, ethereal pop.
Since the release of her debut, Teicher has been rather busy — she’s collaborated with Blood Orange and Diddy on the viral hit song “Hope,” which has amassed over 10 million stream and appears in the accompanying video along with Diddy, A$AP Rocky, Tyler the Creator and Empress Of. And early this year, she joined Blood Orange in a performance of the song at this year’s Coachella Festival. She’s also been busy working on her highly-anticipated and long-awaited sophomore album La Linda, which is slated for a November 15, 2019 release through Downtown Records.
After spending several years in New York, Teicher relocated to Los Angeles last year, and as a result she quickly shifted course on her path as an artist. “I felt like I was closing a chapter in my life that was tied up in a lot of negativity, and reconnecting with open space and my own creativity in a way that I hadn’t in a very long time,” she says. “I wanted this whole project to reflect the feeling of stepping into another world that’s almost surreal or fantastical in its beauty.”
The album’s material reflects that change in artistic path with the album thematically and tone-wise is a purposeful departure. While her full-length debut was centered around emotional claustrophobia and confusion, the material off La Linda was written in the yard outside of her Elysian Park home — a sun-drenched space with roes bushes and berry patches, a herb garden and apple tree. Unsurprisingly, the album, which is Spanish for “the beautiful” also finds Teicher connecting to her Latin roots and cultural identity, with the acclaimed singer/songwriter writing and singing lyrics in her native Spanish. “Moving to L.A. made me feel much more connected to my Latin roots and my cultural identity, in a way that feels really loving,” says Tei Shi, who grew up between Colombia and Vancouver.
While creating La Linda, Teicher took on the role one executive producer and assembled an all-star team of producers that included Blood Orange, who has also worked with Sky Ferreira, Solange Knowles and FKA Twigs; Stint, who has worked with Santigold, HEALTH and Gallant; TV on the Radio‘s Dave Sitek; Noah Breakfast, who has worked with Christine and the Queens, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ty Dolla $ign, among a list of others. For Teicher, working with such an eclectic array of musicians and producers helped to shake her free from creative stagnation. “Part of the motivation to move to L.A. was wanting to be a part of a community of people who were excited to collaborate,” Teicher says in press notes. “I felt like I’d gotten to the point where I wasn’t learning as much or picking up new things, so I wanted to work with lots of different people and take in as much as I could from their processes.”
Sonically, the album was also influenced by a disparate array of artists including German choreographer Pina Bausch and acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. “With Kurosawa, I was so inspired by how each frame is so well-composed that it almost looks like a painting, and how he used these very simple things like rain or a gust of wind to create emotion,” the acclaimed Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter explains in press notes. Interestingly, she also found nature inspiring the album’s material as well. I think I took nature for granted for a long time, but making this album I was so drawn to the mountains and trees and water—I realized how much nature is another form of art,” Teicher says. ““For me this album is about letting go of the past and moving willingly into the future,” Teicher continues. “I hope it can give people a glimpse of something beautiful, and help them look out into the world in a more loving and intuitive way.”
La Linda‘s latest single is the slow-burning, 80s synth soul-inspired, Noah Breakfast-produced single “Even If It Hurts.” Continuing Teicher’s ongoing collaboration with acclaimed synth pop artist and producer Blood Orange, the track is centered around thumping 808-like beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and Teicher’s and Hynes plaintive vocals trading verses on love — particularly how pain in some way or another is always part of love. And while being a soulful synthesis of Teicher’s and Hynes work, the song also manages to sound as though it were drew from the likes of Cherelle‘s “Saturday Love” and Mtume‘s “Juicy Fruit“
“I made this song with two of my closest collaborators — Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) and Noah Breakfast,” Teicher shares in press notes. ” It came together in pieces between LA and New York but sprouted from the lyrics Dev and I kept on singing – ‘even if it hurts…I just don’t mind’. The concept is really the realization and acceptance that pain is a natural consequence of love. It’s a duet about the ways in which we make ourselves vulnerable to those we love, sometimes at a high cost. The video was directed by Cara Stricker and with an incredible and almost exclusively female creative crew. It features a multitude of amazing designers like Collina Strada, Vaquera, Christopher John Rogers, Mugler, Maryam Nassir Zadeh . I wanted to capture the romantic and melancholic elements of the song but put them in a world that feels removed from the every day, its own little odd paradise where Dev and I existed parallel to one another but never really together.”
The video’s director Cara Stricker adds, “I wanted to explore the iconography of love in art history through a modern yet romantic lens. Creating stillness and emotive movement to reflect the physical or emotional space in love… vulnerability, numbing immersion, knowing the truth, becoming closer, fighting for it, letting them in…even if it hurts. It’s a conversation between opposing perspectives in a relationship.”