The Break­out act

ELLE (Canada) - - Radar -

heads up: Tei Shi is go­ing to be 2016’s Kiesza. The 25-year-old’s new EP— dreamy but driven, or­ches­tral yet ur­gently in­ti­mate (like mer­cury mor­ph­ing to the rhythm of a kick-drum beat)—is one of the year’s most-buzzed-about al­ter­na­tive re­leases. The latest sin­gle, “Bas­si­cally,” has over a mil­lion lis­tens on SoundCloud and a video rack­ing up hun­dreds of thou­sands of views and is laden with the sort of prom­ise that makes a mas­sive first al­bum a near­given. Be­fore the Van­cou­ver-raised, now Brook­lyn-based per­former em­barked on a busy sum­mer of fes­ti­val shows, we grabbed her to talk la­bels, names and why she loves be­ing Cana­dian. Your real name is Va­lerie Te­icher. Why did you opt for the stage name “Tei Shi”? “I never thought my given name, Va­lerie, was in­ter­est­ing or sassy. I also like the idea of hav­ing a sep­a­ra­tion be­tween the per­sonal self and the ca­reer self. Tei Shi is very much an ex­ten­sion of me, but it also al­lows me to ac­cess a more ex­treme side of my­self—I feel more free to ex­plore.” You’ve called your sound “mer­maid mu­sic.” What does that mean? “It was just a light­hearted way of not la­belling my mu­sic and call­ing it some­thing am­bigu­ous. It doesn’t re­ally mean

any­thing, so I don’t think it lim­its me in any way.” Do you feel that grow­ing up Cana­dian has shaped the sort of mu­sic you

make? “There’s an in­de­pen­dent mind­set here. When you grow up in Canada, you’re not sur­rounded by lots of peo­ple try­ing to make mu­sic or be­come an artist—but be­cause of that, I had the chance to form who I am as a mu­si­cian in a more gen­uine way. It’s some­thing I feel in young Cana­dian artists.” You live in Brook­lyn right now, but when you think of Canada, what comes to mind? “Fresh air. When I go back to Van­cou­ver, it’s the po­lar op­po­site of New York; it’s like step­ping out of a stuffy oven into an open, fresh gar­den.” Is it eas­ier to be cre­ative in a space like Van­cou­ver? “There are dif­fer­ent kinds of cre­ativ­ity, fu­elled by dif­fer­ent en­v­i­ron­ments. A place that’s so heav­ily charged with energy can be in­spir­ing. On the other hand, it’s im­por­tant to be able to be alone and have the space to be cre­ative, and that’s some­thing that is hard to find in a place like New York.”

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