Still thanks to the Crossroads Festival, we met with Te Beiyo and talked about her projects, the pandemic and about music, of course. Her folk universe is among our favourites and we can’t wait to share more of it with you. This is our bonus this week. Interview.

Unis Son: For starters, TeBeiyo, where does it come from?

TeBeiyo: It’s a name I invented. That came from a friend who said this sentence one day: “The balance is one”. We were talking about life, about how we can cope with difficulties and he said to me “the balance, it’s searching unity, it’s searching peace, which is coming from unity.” He told me that in English so I interpreted it. That makes me feel good to think that we can’t be happy without others around us being happy first. I took the initials and filled the gap. I found myself searching for a name because the first one I choose was already taken, and was too short. So I made a workshop. I told myself I had a month, that summer I must find my name, I will think, do writing workshops, and I had a nap and that came back to me in my dreams. I was quite happy, it was like a sign.

US: I read on your Facebook that you suffered from COVID-19…

TB: Yes.

US: How are you now? And how did you cope during this period, as an artist and with the illness, and the after?

TB: It gave me lots to think about. For the last three years, I’ve running everywhere, I am deeply into it, and I really followed the objectives. There, it’s true that this forced break really made me think differently about life. I like to share good news, especially about the climate and the planet. My relationship to my job is special because I often tell myself that I’m not always in phase with the values ​​that I would like to defend. This forced break allowed me to refocus, to rest, well, to rest after getting so tired because obviously it was long and it was very, very tiring. This disease has this peculiarity where sometimes you have improvements, so I thought I was going to be able to do a live the following week, but I was in such a state, it was impossible when the day came. It was quite a scary time. And after my real vacation, I really had the desire to work differently, not to run everywhere, to refocus on the essentials, especially creation. I made the choice to be a musician and in the end I just feel like I’m not creating enough music. I’m starting to have a network, and venues that support me including La Clef in St-Germain-En-Laye, Le Tamanoir in Gennevilliers, L’Odéon in Tremblay-en-France, La Manufacture Chanson in Paris, La Combo 95 in Cergy and Le Sax in Achère. So it’s start to move forward.

US: You did your live session for the Crossroads, would you do digital concert like that in the future, if it became a sort of normality or if it’s the transition for the future?

TB: I would rather not, really. I’m not at all comfortable with it, really. I did it twice. There, for the Crossroads Festival at La Clef, and a second one that La Clef offered me when it started to reopen a bit. But digital is definitively not a format for me. I need to see the public, I need to be in contact with them. I think that’s what this crisis show, that music, the arts in general, it’s an encounter. I want to be able to feel the vibrations, I want to feel the emotions, I want to exchange. I want to say, doing a concert in front of a camera, I find that very hard. And it’s still a good experience, because you still have all the people behind the cameras. All the filming crew in both case, the crew from La Clef, all were very sweet… But, ideally I don’t want to. Artists are asked to have an existence on the networks and this is something that I’m in constant struggle with. It’s absolutely not my thing. But I do it. I try to respect my values ​​and really do it when I feel it and not to force myself.

US: Admitting everything is going according to plan, what are your projects for the following months?

TB: I pushed back the release of my EP, which should have been released this autumn, but under the circumstances I preferred not to. And it was very complex to organize something in the spring. I don’t want to give a date anymore because I want to wait and see. Especially because the industry is still very fragile this autumn, I don’t see the reprise to be clear and sure. The video clip we filmed it this summer, I’m finishing it now. It’s nice to really take the time. The EP is almost finished, there is a fifth track to do and right now I’m working on a little surprise. On broadcast level, I suspended everything, I even refused some dates. But two concerts are maintained, on September 29th I will be in the opening for Auré at the Trois Baudets in Paris, and on October 3rd, as the opening for Mélissa Laveaux, at the Espace Django in Strasbourg, where I’m from.

Te Beiyo at LC126 Studio in Paris.

US: That bring us to the last question: what is your first musical memory?

TB: Oh! That ask lot of thinking! If we mean the first one, well, it’s cheating because it’s not really a memory. It’s something I’ve been told about, but it’s fun anyway. My mom keeps saying “I felt the musician in you” and that thunderstorms, when I was in her womb, drove me completely crazy. She felt like I was dancing in her womb during storms. So this is the oldest! But otherwise, my own memory… When I was about ten years old I believe, I was looked after by my aunt in Montreuil, I stayed with her all afternoon, and she played Tracy Chapman’s record, which had just been released at the time, on vinyl. She played it on repeat all afternoon. Tracy Chapman, I’m a huge fan, and I think it came from there. I have a completely idyllic memory of this afternoon. I got a feel for it.

We would like to thank Te Beiyo again for the time she took to answer all our questions. You can look and listen to her live session for Crossroads Festival with the replay below.

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