Valerie Teicher, known by her stage name Tei Shi, defies classification. Songs like “Sleepy” and “Year 3K” share the somber tone that characterizes artists like Lana Del Rey and Lorde. More synth-laden tracks like “Creep” call to mind the likes of Sylvan Esso and James Blake. What remains a constant across all of Tei Shi’s songs is her breathy, ethereal voice, which is what makes the stripped-down version of her single “Keep Running” that she played in the Paste Studio all the more powerful.
Tei Shi has spent the two years since her second EP, 2015’s Verde, fine-tuning her full-length debut Crawl Space, which came out March 31. Between songs at Paste, she talked about the differences between making EPs and creating an entire album.
“I think the creative approach was pretty similar, but it was definitely a different experience working on a full-length and really taking a long time to make it,” she said. “I spent a year and a half to almost two years working on this album, and the EPs were more me dipping my toe into releasing music and putting myself out there. They were like a snapshot in time for me with not as much thought and intention put into them as the album.”
Born in Buenos Aires to Columbian parents, Tei Shi moved around a lot as a kid, from Bogotá to Vancouver to Montreal. She went on to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston before moving to New York City, where she lives today.
“I think New York at this point is kind of my spiritual home because it’s where all of these bits of identities can meet and be comfortable together,” she said.