Sat · June 27, 2015
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
World Cafe Live - Wilmington Upstairs
This event is all ages
All sales are final. Ticket prices do not include processing fees. There are no refunds or exchanges. Cameras & recording devices are not permitted. Showtime and supporting acts are subject to change.
All Upstairs tickets are General Admission and seating is not guaranteed.
Dining is available at World Cafe Live. Reservations are accepted for Upstairs Live, our full service restaurant. For more information and to see menus, please read the Restaurant Info and Dining FAQ.
ADA SEATS are located on all seated levels of this theatre. For more information, please contact us at email@example.com or call 302-994-1400.https://www.worldcafelive.com/event/830845/
No wonder JESSI TEICH (pronounced TEACH), the Jersey girl who landed in Philly after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music, is commonly considered an old blues, jazz, and soul singer-songwriter trapped in a young woman’s body. Hence, the pop sensibility found on her stylish new album, TWISTED SOUL (Madame Freak Records), recorded in Paris – yes, Paris – with a sequenced “poperatic” storyline of overcoming tragedy through change and growth. The album not only showcases Jessi’s sinuous vocal prowess, but the heralded songwriting capacity which has earned her 10 international awards, three of which are for songs on TWISTED SOUL. She writes impressionistically about heartbreak, love, loss, gain, and sisterhood on the album, shedding the darkness she bore from surrendering her soul to a controlling lover by finding the liberating strength to regain her self-worth.
“When I write, it feels like I’m vomiting crazy emotions out of my system,” Teich says laughing. “It’s this cleansing feeling. It’s what keeps me alive.”
Each song is a labeled chapter on TWISTED SOUL. Chapter I (Prologue), the lead track, “The Haunting,” already a three-time award-winner, has a remarkable melody displaying Teich’s falsetto and foreshadowing the autobiographical story arc which follows. As Teich explains, the album has a darker “more conflicted” beginning, but as it rolls out, the songs convey the returning consciousness toward her surroundings, and a regaining of strength which allows her to rebuild anew, ultimately freed from the shackles of her emotionally abusive relationship. At the opposite end of the arc is Chapter XII (Epilogue), “The Simple Life,” which she is currently living in the rural suburban Philly countryside. In between are a couple of choice covers, “Clap Hands” by Tom Waits and “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake, fittingly comprise chapters III and X respectively.
Jessi wants the message of hope conveyed in TWISTED SOUL to help other women cope through the devastating grip that abuse can have on one’s life. She supports women who’ve been affected by emotional abuse through Women Against Abuse (www.womenagainstabuse.org), Philadelphia's leading domestic violence advocate, having experienced it firsthand.
“My ex didn’t allow me to wear boots, or wear makeup,” Jessi recounts. "He controlled the way I wrote my music, who I saw, who my friends were, and how i spoke. I lost myself inside of that relationship. I knew I was unhappy and when I started taking control of my music career, everything kind of exploded and set me free.”
The liberating transition took hold during a transformative tour of Paris, where she wowed audiences with a string of appearances while her unhealthy relationship back home was, thankfully, unraveling.
“I always loved Paris,” says Jessi. “I had the opportunity to go home and fix things, and I chose not to because I saw this as a way out of a very detrimental relationship. So I stayed in Europe and chose my music career over my love life.
“One night, we went to a hole in the wall,” she continues. “It was the first time I sang in Paris, they didn’t know songs I knew, I didn’t know songs they knew. So we improvised. I get onstage and start singing and the guys in the back start hooting, hollering, and standing up. I knew I’d made the right choice.”
Jessi fell in with a group of Parisian musicians there and ultimately, returned to record TWISTED SOUL with the Thierry Maillard Trio, led by one of France’s top pianists, at Studio de Meudon. You can hear traces of the familiar French accordion, supplied by Laurent Derache, throughout. Jessi likes to call the album an adult crossover record with a jazz spinal cord.
A couple years earlier, there was another transformative chapter which found her “completely broken” while still in the debilitating grips of her controlling relationship. In December 2010, during a recording session, Jessi noticed a hoarseness and lack of vocal power. She found out she had a cyst that looked like a water blister deep under her vocal fold and severe acid reflux whereby the acid from her stomach was irritating the lining of her vocal folds. At the time she had rigorous schedule as a music teacher to students aged 5-55, giving up to 40 lessons a week, 10 lessons a day.
“I lost an octave and a half of upper range,” Jessi explains of the injury’s affects.
Putting off surgery, she embarked on a scrupulous therapy regime, drastically altering her diet, limiting her intake to small, bland meals, and forgoing coffee and wine. She quit teaching and went to South America for three months, where she realized therapy was not enough and made the risky decision to have surgery.
“Putting a knife to the thing you love the most is a scary thing,” Jessi says. “For a week after the surgery you can’t talk and you don’t even know if you ever will again. I didn’t speak a word for two months. I spoke with a chalkboard, people thought I was handicapped, deaf, or didn’t speak English. And then, lo and behold I had a weird, brand new voice that didn’t sound like I smoked six packs a day anymore. It sounded different. At first, it wasn’t as strong, it was light and feathery.”
She went through a measured but rigorous recovery and finally bounded back stronger than ever. “I feel a power now in my voice that I had never felt before,” says Jessi. “It’s as if I was given a second chance. It’s a scary, career-threatening thing but it’s made me want to advocate and tell people about it.”
It’s also made her rediscover the joys of writing, of singing, and of music, that she had originally found as a child, when music cultivated her life. Since her complete recovery, Jessi has performed with the late Sid Simmons, Mike Boone, Byron Landham, Beyonce saxophonist Tia Fuller, Funkadelic’s Bernie Worrell, Charlie Hunter, Ronnie Earl, G. Love, Jen Durkin, among others, and also has collaborated with Grammy winning producer Phil Nicolo, and Grammy nominated producer Steve “Mr. Mig” Migliore.
Jessi also has been featured at the Roots’ annual Roots Picnic (alongside Kid Cudi, De La Soul, Diplo, St. Vincent, Stretch Armstrong, and DJ Diamond Kuts), WaWa Welcome America!, Bethlehem Musikfest, the Canadian Music Festival and prestigious venues throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, including Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater.
“I was raised on the blues,” she says of her down-home music education. “When I was in second grade, my Dad would drive us to school and we were late everyday because we had to finish this Ronnie Earl song we called ‘The Banana Song.’ At the end of the song, the guitar line goes up and then we would run from the car to school. My dad surrounded me with music, it was like breathing air.”
At 8, Jessi immersed herself in classical piano but by high school, she says, “I got into the ‘bad girl’ genres, jazz and blues” and fell under the influence of Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Carole King. Jessi ended up pursuing music education at Berklee School of Music and embarking on a professional music career upon graduation.
“I never took a songwriting class,” she says. “I never thought I was any good. I knew structure but I wrote from the heart rather than a textbook.”
She credits her father for inspiring her to write when she felt insecure about not having the academic grounding.
“My dad would say to me, ‘Jimi Hendrix never took a songwriting class,” Jessi affirms. “He was right.”
World Cafe Live - Wilmington Upstairs
500 N. Market St.
Wilmington, DE, 19801