BEFORE she knew it, Jessi Teich had found herself in a tough spot. She was in an abusive relationship with a man that made her feel like she was “somebody’s pet.”
There was a push and pull in the relationship. Every time she tried to do something one way, it was twisted around to be something different.
The “twisted” aspect of the relationship stayed with her, even after she had extracted herself from it.
And it became a positive inspiration.
The result is Twisted Soul, a crossover record that combines blues, jazz and soul that traces her surrender to — and escape from — that controlling, abusive relationship.
”You don’t see what’s happening to you when you’re in it,” Ms. Teich says. “What happens is the music is a reaction to what I went through and a way for me to understand more clearly and heal from the process of what I went through.
”So coming out of that relationship and writing these songs helped me realize the situation I was in. The songwriting process helped me understand how awful that relationship actually was.”
It wasn’t the only challenge the Clinton native faced prior to making the album. The graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston had to address a health issue even before thinking about getting into to the recording studio.
She had to recover from surgery to remove a career-threatening cyst surrounding her vocal fold. During her recovery, she regained the octave-and-a-half she had lost from her upper range and ended up with a stronger singing voice.
”You just don’t know what’s going to happen when you go through something like that. But I followed every single step that I needed to follow to take care of my voice. I know how to baby it now,” says Ms. Teich.
And now it’s time to get her music out to the masses. Her album was released earlier this month, and a tour is in the works, kicking off with a CD release event on April 18 at the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, Pennsylvania.
Twisted Soul, was recorded in Paris, where Ms. Teich had gone for inspiration. While there, she performed live for French club audiences as well as getting into the Studio de Meudon to record the album with engineer Julien Basseres. Ms. Teich was backed by the Thierry Maillard Trio.
”France allows jazz music to still live in its most core values,” she says. “Even though I’m not a traditional jazz artist, I come from a world of listening to jazz and living and breathing it for 30 years of my life. I felt like maybe I could expand the way that I presented my music and the way that I was perceived in Europe.”
Ms. Teich stresses that Twisted Soul is actually “a celebration of becoming untwisted.” It’s about finding a healthy way to live life again and regaining control.
”It’s a story of success and victory and positive outcome rather than trying to victimize myself. I’m really trying to show that you can come from a very unhealthy and unhappy place into a place that you control and you create for yourself,” she says.
Now based in Telford, Pennsylvania, which is split between Bucks and Montgomery counties in suburban Philadelphia, Ms. Teich was born in New Brunswick, but spent the first 18 years of her life growing up in Clinton.
She says she already has enough songs for another album, but first things first.
”My hope is that people will listen to this album, whether they’re experiencing something similar to what I experienced or another hard time in their life, and find how they can unravel it in a healthy way,” she says.
Jessi Teich will perform at Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville, Pennsylvania, April 18. For more information on Jessi Teich, go towww.jessiteich.com.
- Mike Morsch