As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 21 – Fall 2022
Téja is an Atlanta-based artist who enjoys rocking out! Inspired by musicians such as James Jamerson and Stevie Wonder, Téja is a full-time bassist and songwriter who will not let herself be boxed in by anyone else’s categories. In this interview, Téja goes into a bit of detail about how she discovered her tone.
To Téja, tone is unique to everyone. She exclaimed, “it’s your voice! You should be able to express and explore it as you hone your craft.” Téja believes it’s not about the equipment but about finding the creative process for you. She is an outstanding and inspiring artist who believes magic is in the artist. Téja is not afraid to express her music and explore new styles, which has helped her develop her tone.
Please tell readers about yourself, your musical influences, and your current projects.
Hello, Iʼm Téja! I am a professional bassist and singer-songwriter! I am originally from Miami but am based in Atlanta. My main bass influences are James Jamerson, Nathan Watts, Verdine White, Marcus Miller, Pino Palladino, and Esperanza Spalding. My main musical influences (as an artist) are Stevie Wonder, PJ Morton, and Emily King.
Aside from performing with artists and around town, I am also working on my music! I released my first original single, “Go,” in 2020. You can find it everywhere music is distributed! (You can also find “Go” and my 2017 cover release, The Hopeless Romantic EP, on my website: www.helloimTeja.com)
What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
I feel that “tone” is your fingerprint. It’s your voice! And, I believe it comes from your fingers. The magic is in your hands (not necessarily your gear). I don’t think my definition has changed much, but my approach to “finding” my tone has probably evolved. I’ve learned that – as a bassist – I prefer a rounder, warmer tone bass you can feel! (But still, have clarity). I also learned that the mid-controls are your friend.
Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
I play Schecter Guitars and Ampeg Amplification (I endorse both companies.), I don’t use pedals much (but when I do, I occasionally use an envelope filter or a chorus pedal).
What about strings?
I play DR Strings! My fave is the NEON series. I use pink and green sets on my basses. I have DR flat wounds on my precision bass! I am a proud DR Strings endorsee.
Are there specific recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
When it comes to recording myself, I am a Logic girl! And I prefer to record in complete takes. I hate punching in, so I try to avoid it if I can!
How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
I learned to keep my amp settings pretty flat and use the guitar controls to shape my sound. That way, I am never thrown off if I have to use an amp/system I am unfamiliar with.
What does your practice consist of?
These days, most practices are for learning music for the next show!
What is your advice for young female-identifying artists who hope to work in the music industry?
Never settle for the “girl musician gimmick.” Don’t let people put you in that box. We are equal and deserve to be treated as such! Be the BEST MUSICIAN you can be, period. Work hard, study hard, grind hard. Also, don’t compare yourself to others! Find what makes you YOU and celebrate that! Be consistent and be a professional at all times — whether it’s a “big” or “small” gig. Talent might get you in the door, but your work ethic will keep you getting the calls!