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 Lil Yachty, JID, Janelle Monáe, Stephanie Mills, Avery*Sunshine, Eric Roberson, Jennifer Holliday, Frank McComb, Musiq Soulchild, Chrisette Michelle, Carol Albert, Kindred the Family Soul, Kenny Lattimore, Angie Stone, Rhonda Thomas and Chandra Currelley - as well as her own all-woman band: VENUS.
Téja has over 20 years of live performance and touring under her belt! She's performed on six continents, on varied illustrious stages including the Grammy Awards, the White House, Saturday Night Live, Radio City Music Hall, NPR Tiny Desk, Jazz in the Gardens, Montreaux Jazz Festival, ACL Festival, Bonaroo, Coachella, O2 Arena, Billboard LIVE, Wembley Stadium, Madison Square Garden, the Late Show, the Today Show, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE, Austin City Limits, the Hollywood Bowl, Essence Festival, the Bitter End, Good
Morning America and tons more!]
In 2019, Téja’s drive to succeed and evolve lead her down a new path: leadership! 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 was both the first African American AND 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.
In recent news, Téja was afforded a great honor by being inducted into the 2023 New Class of the Recording Academy as a voting member!
Throughout her career as a performer, Téja also fostered opportunities to record bass for her peers! Having a home studio allowed her to lay bass and vocals for artists of several different genres!
With years of ensemble-bass under her belt, in 2016 she decided to work on a solo effort! Stepping out front was a different direction for Téja, but she was finally ready to explore this new territory. Not only would she play bass, but write and sing as well! “It was all very new for me,” Téja admitted. Already accustomed to her support-role as a bassist (and occasional background vocalist), assuming the lead was a challenge. “There’s a level of vulnerability that’s required – I’m not able to hide anymore!” she laughed. “However, I know God gave me this chance to live out my dreams and a platform to share them with the world! 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.
In 2017, Téja released her first offering - "The Hopeless Romantic EP", in which she put her spin on a few of her love song favorites! Téja released her first original song - "Go" - in 2020! Written, produced and arranged by herself, her song was well received, and even garnered radio play in America and Europe! She's excited to work on new music soon! 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!
*** Check out Téja’s debut cover project, “The Hopeless Romantic EP” at www.helloimTeja.com, and her first original single "Go" on all your favorite digital music platforms! **