February 17, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 76  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

John Mayer digs Teitur’s laid-back style

By Ash Wittig
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
WHY DO YOU LOOK SO BEMUSED, TEITUR? Maybe it’s because your name is Teitur... how intriguing.

Twenty seven-year-old Teitur, native to the Faroe Islands of Denmark, is the fresh face of laid-back music. His song style is similar to that of John Mayer and Jack Johnson, yet Teitur somewhat reinvents the genre to create a more intimate sound.

“Growing up, I heard lots of music from people singing around me, mostly folk music, so that’s where some of my influences come from,” Teitur says.

The Faroe Islands are populated by a mere 45,000 people and music is a very social aspect of the culture. Instead of listening to the radio, they gather in each other’s homes, or even out on the street to sing and play their instruments.

English being his third language, Teitur displays more than an exceptional ability to write aching ballads about loving, losing, searching and finding.

Involved in music since the age of 13, Teitur claims his most influential artists are Leonard Cohen and Sting, and his voice can take on a Sting-esque lilt in some of his songs, including “Josephine” and “One and Only.”

The new favourite music amongs 20-somethings seems to be heading in the more laid-back direction. “[This is] just an added bonus. It’s becoming popular but this music has always been there — just more people are interested in it now,” he says, adding most music today has the same feel. “It’s melancholy in general; even hard rock bands are melancholy.”

Teitur’s debut album, Poems and Aeroplanes, was influenced by his years of travelling around the world, from London to New York and beyond. “I was writing songs and shaping my sound through influences by many different people that I’ve met along my travels,” he explains.

The title of the album “seemed like the proper title for all the songs, they all kind of have this story in them.” As for how he hopes it is received: “I just like people to feel different.”

For anyone who has had the pleasure of listening to the sweet, honeyed voice of Teitur, they will know it is a very touching and intimate experience. To create this feeling of closeness, Teitur employs many tactics.

“When I write, I normally like to address someone in particular or just imagine that I’m having a conversation with that person. I imagine things I’d like to say to that person whether it is someone I hate, or someone I love, or someone I’m trying to seduce, and I get it all out.”

Another reason his music may sound so intimate is that when he was recording in the studio, his producer, Robert Hine, made a set list for him to play with just an acoustic guitar. Most songs on the album are these original recordings, overlaid by musical accompaniment.

Teitur has been steadily gaining exposure recently, especially considering his opening slot on John Mayer’s tour.

“It was very cool,” he says. “I’m not used to playing in front of an audience of that size. [Mayer] really likes my music and he actually invited me to play with him, and that makes me feel very good.”

What’s on the musical horizon for Teitur? “I want to get more involved arrangements with lots of instruments next time. I want it to be very orchestral.”

He explains that he is already working on new music: “I’m writing a lot of songs and it’s tending to get darker. I’m just going to see what happens and let the writing go in whatever direction it takes me.”

Teitur played London’s Elements Lounge on Feb. 11. His debut album is currently in stores.

 

 

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