Born in Buenos Aires, raised in Bogota and Vancouver, and now living in Brooklyn, the artist formerly known as Valerie Teicher, Tei Shi, is certainly the most well-travelled chanteuse to emerge from the burgeoning scene known as avant-garde R&B.
The singer-songwriter, who also studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music before settling in the Big Apple, is tipped to make a major breakthrough in 2015 following a year’s worth of blogosphere hype in which she’s been compared to everyone from Beyonce to Bjork.
The former’s influence is evident on her majestic cover of the ex-Destiny’s Child star’s album track, “No Angel,” while the self-described “mermaid pop” of “Nevermind The End” could easily have been lifted from the Icelandic maverick’s early back catalog. But it’s the stark, brooding and minimalistic electro-soul of FKA Twigs and Banks that the majority of her output most closely resembles.
Released back in 2013, “M&M’s” is a beautiful but ghostly hyperballad which first showcased Tei Shi’s breathless seductive vocals. “Nature vs Nurture” and “See Me” are the kind of slow-burning bedroom jams that manage to be both unsettling and strangely sensual, while “Holiest,” a marimba-led hook-up with Oxford indie-rockers Glass Animals, further highlights her ability to think outside the box.
Produced by regular cohort Gianluca Buccellati, Shi’s new single “Bassically” shows another string to her bow as it glides onto the dancefloor with its slinky 80s synths and nu-disco beats, while “Arrest Me,” a recent collaboration with Portland vocalist Shy Girls, continues her impressive run of form.
Tei Shi, who only made her first major live performance at New York’s CMJ Festival last October, is expected to follow up last year’s critically-acclaimed Saudade E.P. with a full-length studio effort in the summer. Few would bet against it appearing on a number of end-of-year polls.