Valerie Teicher started writing love songs in her diary when she was about five years old; she had no idea what she was talking about, but she’d listened to enough music to understand that love was apparently worth writing about.
Fast-forward a few decades and the love songs she writes as Tei Shi are both sultry and complex, although she still isn’t always aware of what she’s trying to articulate—at least, not until a song is complete. “Writing songs is like channelling my subconscious levels,” she says. “I’m not very aware of what I’m saying until I take a step back and put the pieces together. It’s introspective.”
But introspection requires space. “In the past, I had a tendency to get into relationships, whether friendships or romantic, that were negative and high maintenance and detracted energy from who I am; I only want people around who see me fully,” she says. “Self-appreciation has come through in my vocals, which are upfront and more aggressive— a sort of ‘I don’t give a fuck what you guys think, because this is me.’”
Her favourite love song: “Girl from the North Country,”