interview by Paige Wagner
Edmonton based singer-songwriter, Téa G, has been preforming live music since she was 9. I was lucky to have been introduced to her and her music very early on in her career, as I went to school with her older sister and Téa was in the same class as my brother.
I remember school talent shows and Christmas concerts, when Téa would sing. It was impossible not to be amazed. Her voice has always been powerful beyond her age and it was clear music would take her far. It’s unbelievable to think that I’ve shared the stage with her in our junior high choir!
Now, at 18, Téa has released three original singles and has performed at countless large-scale events, both locally and internationally. I was thrilled to be able to meet up with her over Zoom to chat about her experiences as a young Albertan artist.
When I asked her about what inspired her to pursue music at such a young age, Téa gives a lot of credit to her family.
“My dad used to play instruments,” she shares, “he was in a band when he was younger, and my mom used to sing as well. I was growing up with music around the house all the time. That’s how I got into it and how I decided I wanted that as my career.”
Speaking more about her family, Téa tells me about her Filipino background. While she and her siblings were born in Edmonton, her parents are both fully Filipino. From my own experience as the granddaughter of immigrants, I know that not being in born or raised in your family’s homeland doesn’t necessarily remove you from the influence of their culture or traditions. From what I gathered from my conversation with Téa, I believe she would feel similarly about that.
“The type of music that the Filipinos make is a lot of R&B ballads and stuff like that. I definitely have taken influence from that,” Téa explains, “and especially the vocalists in the Philippines. They’re absolutely amazing!”
When listening to her singles, I can clearly see what she means by this. Her music is very much a pop and R&B fusion, as she explains. “I love the old, kind of, 80s R&B soul type music,” she says, “but I also wanted to kind of throw in a little bit of the modern pop [and] kind of mix those two together.”
Téa and I share a laugh when I ask if she has felt any similar inspiration from Albertan side of things. Albertans really like their country music, and that’s not the typical sound that Téa is going for in her music, but she does admit that she’s definitely been influenced by the Albertan music culture as well.
“The music scene is actually really, really awesome here,” she says. “And I’ve definitely learned a lot throughout my career that it’s nice to even venture off into different genres, into different types of music and vocal styles. I’m very grateful that I get to meet a lot of people in the music scene here in Alberta. It’s been an awesome experience!”
And speaking of country music, opening for Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose (where she also was the winner of the BVJ People’s Choice Award) is only one of many opportunities Téa’s singing has landed her.
“I’ve had the opportunity to open for some Filipino artists that have come to Edmonton. Just last year in September, I went to the Music Matters conference in Singapore. So, I did a big conference and a couple live shows over there.”
She has recently started recording her own original music. Her first single was produced by Terence (TEE) Lam, who has co-written songs for the likes of Alessia Cara, Meghan Trainor, and Drake.
I’ve been following Téa on Spotify, where she has monthly listeners from around the world. Her singles Say, Losing Myself, and Said and Done are beautiful tracks that remind me of the style of artists Téa finds particularly inspiring, like Arianna Grande, Bruno Mars (who is also part Filipino), and Adele. My personal favourite of the three, Losing Myself, is both gentle and stong. Téa’s voice has an incredible richness to it, and paired with the smooth instrumentals, the sound that comes out is magic.
Téa and I chat a little more about her singles. She shares some of the stories behind them. “Demi Lovato is a really inspiring vocalist, as well as being somebody who has a story. I love to write my music based off of my life, and how I’ve experienced things. I mean, I’m only 18. But, you know, I’m growing up, and I like to portray my stories in my music.”
She goes on to tell me how Say, Losing Myself, and Said and Done were inspired by stories from her friends. While Téa herself has luckily never experienced any horrible heartbreaks, her experiences listening to her friends and being a supportive friend have given her a distinct perspective on relationships.
“Basically, the main point of the three songs I created are very much based around self-love and self-worth, and how you shouldn’t let anybody you know walk all over you, and how it’s important to love yourself before you can love somebody else.”
Téa is hoping a fourth song will be out before the end of the year, and when asked more about her upcoming plans Téa tells me that unfortunately she doesn’t have any gig dates planned at the moment because of coronavirus restrictions, but that “if everything goes well with everything going on in the world, I’m potentially wanting to do a mini tour next year.”
Coronavirus hasn’t been all bad for Téa, however, and she tries to focus on the positives. Having just graduated high school, Téa is grateful for the opportunity to focus on herself and decide what she truly wants out of the next few years of her life. “It’s let me kind of reel it back and reflect on how I want my career to really go. To think about the next steps and just to focus on connecting with my fans.”
She continues. “It’s given me a lot of time to create music. To focus on social media because that’s a huge part of my career right now, so I’ve been definitely taking my time on it. Because you know, when you’re super busy, and you’re always on the go, you can’t always focus on that. And it is very time consuming.”
“I’ve mostly been doing a lot of live streams right now on Instagram and TikTok and Facebook. That’s been my main focus at the moment.”
If you’d like to try to catch one of her livestreams, you can follow her on all three platforms, as well as YouTube @teagtunes. As for dates and times, she frequently posts updates on Instagram.
As our conversation comes to an end, we circle back to chatting about our families. She tells me what her sister has been up to over the past year and asks me how my brother’s been doing. Téa is graceful and an absolute pleasure to chat with. Talking to her, it is so clear that she is incredibly passionate about the music she is making and very grateful for the experiences it has given her over the past years. Her music is available for streaming and purchase on basically every streaming platform – Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music – and her website is at https://www.teagtunes.com