Tei Shi Takes Us on Tour in Williamsburg

Last month, Tei Shi stomped on stage at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was a monumental moment for the Canadian-Colombian pop artist, who got her start in New York City.

For over a decade now, the chill-pop chanteuse has been releasing music that is simultaneously hard to categorize yet distinctly her own. Having collaborated with the likes of Blood Orange and Empress Of, her musical output has been constant and cool — but fraught with shaky label deals and music industry powerplay that took away from the music.

Now, Tei Shi has freed herself from the chains of record labels with the release of her first independent LP, Valerie. It’s an eponymous record for Tei Shi, whose real name is Valerie Teicher Barbosa, and taps into the free spirit of her Latine roots, growing up in Colombia, and rebirth. The album itself spans genre in a way Tei Shi has never done before, incorporating bachata, R&B, pop, tropicalia, and shoegaze.

“I’m on the road again,” Tei Shi tells PAPER in an intro to her exclusive diary entry. “NYC is like a shock of blood through my system! I love this city and I feel it love me back. Tei Shi was born and raised here after all. I performed my new album Valerie at Music Hall, drenched in LUAR bebé. The best days on tour feel like playing – like literal child’s play and today was very much that. I had a playdate with the city, with LUAR, with my audience, and here’s a glimpse. Can I just stay here and replay this night over and over and over and over and over and over and over?”

In celebration of this newfound freedom, Tei Shi brought us along with her before and after her show in Brooklyn, where she was dressed in full Luar. Check it out below.

Excuse me, I’m new here… I just touched down from 1892. do you know the way to the Music Hall of Williamsburg?

Grabbing my Korg Kaoss pad and my LUAR, and headed to soundcheck. Kaoss, meet glam.

Post-soundcheck stroll, gathering energy from the streets, absorbing excellence and maybe a little THC.

Merch time! I made these beautiful CDs of my new album Valerie, old school with a fold-out insert featuring lyrics, credits and photography by Vogue Giambri, and a gorgeous poster.

Backstage pre-show. The energy is frantic yet serene. There’s nothing like those pre-stage nerves, but I’m dripping and embraced by this piece of art.

I hit the stage and I’m soaring.

Singing sometimes feels like what I imagine flying must feel like. My body is here adorned by LUAR, but my spirit is in my voice and it’s traveling through melodic space and time.

The cuffs were my special guests.

On my knees for you New York, no other way.

Photography: Andy Martinez
Production: Fish Fiorucci

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