No matter who you are, you’ve probably had a rough day at the office that changed your perspective, or maybe you made an impulse purchase you really, really wish you could take back. This week, musician Tei Shi took our money-inspired personality questionnaire. Her latest album, “Crawl Space,” is out now.
Below is an edited transcript of the conversation.
In a next life, what would your career be?
I think I would probably want to do something with my hands, like build or create something, whether it’s art or just building things, because I spend so much time making things that are intangible. I think I like the idea of being able to create things, so maybe [I’d be] a sculptor or something like that.
Do you have any hobbies or downtime where you get to actually do that?
I don’t actually, and I think that’s probably why it appeals to me, seeing something from start to finish really physically is interesting to me and maybe now a hobby that I should take up.
What is the hardest part about your job that nobody knows?
The fact that you have to be a million different things, I think, as a musician or as an artist nowadays. Aside from making the music or being creative and inspired and creating material, you have to also be really on top of the business side of things, especially if you’re coming from an independent place. You have to also be able to be a performer and create a live show experience and be able to communicate with other musicians and really be charismatic and be comfortable onstage. Then you also have to be able to put yourself out there and be on social media and have a persona and be relatable.
I think now that we’ve transitioned into the digital age, and everybody is so easily accessible, and people want to know everything about somebody, you kind of have to be super well rounded and have many dimensions to you.
That sounds stressful.
It can be, but I think it can also be really rewarding, and it’s a really cool opportunity to create something that has different dimensions and has depth to it, and it kind of forces you to present yourself as more than just your music.
What is your most prized possession?
I have some pieces of things that belong to my grandmothers. My grandmother on my dad’s side, she spent a lot of time actually — funny, coming full circle — in her later years making things with her hands. She did a lot of arts and crafts, and she did ceramics and stuff. She made this one ceramic: She’s a young girl, and it’s really lovely, because you can see all the indentations of her hands and her fingers. I have a lot of little things like that that she made in her later years.
What advice do you wish someone gave you before you started your career?
I wish that somebody had really encouraged me to trust my gut instinct in terms of the things that you want to do and the things you say yes to or the things you take on.
Do you think that you do that now?
I think I’ve gotten better at doing it. I think it takes a certain amount of confidence and self-assuredness that, I think for me, it’s definitely been a learning experience of getting more comfortable with being the voice of authority. That has come along with that process for me.
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