Sunday Culture: 
TEI SHI

I’ve said this many times, but Spotify’s algorithm is one of the best inventions of modern times. The company has created algorithms to govern everything from your personal home screen to curated playlists like Discover Weekly, and continues to experiment with new ways to understand music, and why people listen to one song or genre over another. This is how I kept on discovering amazing artists, such as Tei Shi.

—By Marie-Ève Venne

Valerie Teicher Barbosa—her real name— was born in Buenos Aires but moved to Vancouver when she was younger. Before relocating to the West Coast, Teicher made a name for herself as one of the most influential artists within the New York music scene from the release of her first EP Saudade in 2013 to her groundbreaking full-length debut Crawl Space in 2017.

While her 2019 album La Linda’s humble beginnings can be traced back to Teicher’s tiny, Chinatown apartment, the album came together over the last two years in LA. The songs, in both English and Spanish, are informed by the feeling of freedom and sense of rebirth she found there. Over the past year, the Columbian-Canadian singer has been releasing a steady stream of music, including “Even If It Hurts” with Blood Orange.  The song revolves around the concept 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.

tei shi

Tei Shi’s new self-released EP Die 4 Ur Love, which she wrote over six days last January, simmers in heartache, abandonment, and resentment at her former label. She wrote these songs just months before that sense of impending doom became global was just an unhappy accident—Teicher had even initially titled the EP Apocalypse, but after the world went into lockdown, that seemed a little bit too insensitive.

“Die 4 Ur Love” is weirdo-pop’s most expensive-sounding earworm of 2020. As the title track of Tei Shi’s new EP, out today, it sets the tone for a five-song project that wraps up very relevant, universal feelings of sadness into slick, sexy synths and massive melodies. But let’s be real, if you’re not dancing through the potentially nearing apocalypse, you’re doing it all wrong.

Click here to discover the best new upcoming artists.

Written on: August 2, 2020