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Ask anyone what they remember most about a performance with Téja and their answer will most likely be her infectious smile! However, it’s her killer bass-playing that keeps her working! With the eagerness of a novice, yet the restraint and focus of a more seasoned player, Téja is a musician’s musician. “I just love to play!” she exclaims. “I love being part of a tight unit – love the feeling of creating audible beauty!”
Equal parts Verdine White, James Jamerson and Marcus Miller – all wrapped up in a sweetly soulful voice (think Corrine Bailey-Rae meets Gretchen Parlato), there’s no one way to define Téja’s sound. “I just want to be musically fluid,” she remarks. “I want to be relatable to everyone that happens to listen”.
Big-band jazz-bred and “old-school soul” at heart, the Miami-native [now Atlanta resident] is open to all forms of music. “If I can feel it, I can play it!” she quips. It’s this willingness to embrace all styles that have afforded Téja chances to play with artists of several genres, both on the local and industry levels. She started playing in an orchestra program in middle school on the upright bass, then transferred to a jazz program in high school - where she also picked up the electric bass guitar (as well as several other instruments). Téja started “gigging” around town when she was 16, and has been performing ever since. “I don’t like name-dropping – that’s what resumes are for” she muses, when asked who she’s worked with. “I’ll just say that I’m grateful to God for every opportunity He’s given me to perform, both great and small!”
[Artists Téja has worked with most recently include Janelle Monáe (currently serving as her touring bassist), Musiq Soulchild, Frank McComb, Kenny Lattimore, Angie Stone and Chandra Currelley - as well as her own all-woman band: VENUS].
Most recently, Téja’s drive to succeed and evolve has lead her down a new path: leadership! In April of 2019, she was hired as the newest Music Director of Decatur City Church (one of seven campuses in the North Point Ministries community; Andy Stanley, lead pastor). Téja is the both the first AfricanAmerican AND the first woman to hold this position! “I always want to stay open…I want to learn and evolve and grow…I want to break past barriers and exceed expectations!” she quips.
With years of ensemble-bass under her belt - and new job responsibilities added to her plate – Téja has [still] found time to work on a solo effort! Stepping out front is a different direction, but she’s finally ready to explore this new territory. Not only will she be playing, but writing and singing as well!
“It’s all very new for me,” Téja admits. Already accustomed to her support-role as an ensemble bassist (and occasional background vocalist), assuming the lead is a challenge. “There’s a level of vulnerability that’s required – I’m not able to hide anymore!” she laughs. “However, I know God has given me this chance to live out my dreams and a platform to share them with the world!” With her peers already lining up to work with her, Téja is excited about her forthcoming album!
“This isn’t gonna be your ‘typical bass project’” she remarks. “In fact, I won’t even categorize it. I just want to make good, honest music – stuff that your ears will love and your heart will believe!” Téja’s thoughtful melodies, warm harmonies and heartfelt lyrics have already begun to stir rumblings amongst her musical community.
With a sound as different as her name, Téja’s music is bound to stand out! Warm and light, honest and refreshing – her project is sure to find a home with many listeners! Come ride along as she journeys through self-discovery: armed with a steady pen, a sweet voice and her surefire bass-lines. Next stop: happiness!
*** You can currently find Téja playing bass and singing bgvs on Janelle Monáe’s “Dirty Computer” World Tour, as well as on Sundays at Decatur City Church. Also, check out Téja’s debut cover project, “The Hopeless Romantic EP” at ! Her first original single, “Go”, is slated to drop Spring 2020!***