A New Kind of Folk What: The artist known as Vienna Teng impressed us with her range of sounds and thought-provoking lyrics.
Vienna Tang is one of those rare individuals that can boast strengths on both sides of the brain. The Taiwanese-American California native was born Cynthia Yih Shih and has a past life as a software engineer. It’s not often a Stanford University graduate leaves behind a gig at one of the biggest telecommunications firms (Cisco) to start a musical career, but that’s exactly what happened when the brave twenty-something created an alter ego.
In an effort to define her sound, she has been grouped with a host of talented known artists, including Aimee Mann, Tori Amos, and Regina Spektor, and on some tracks, she reminds us of Vanessa Carlton too. But, what separates her from the pack is not just her ability to move from soft pop to bluegrass-sounding tracks, but the intelligence and thoughtfulness that inspires lyrics covering everything from issues of personal struggle to the plight of illegal immigrants in America. It’s this that reminds us some artists are talented enough to broach the line of musical magical realism, where a sound is soothing and peaceful, but the lyrics are haunting and politically charged. Listen to No Gringo and you’ll catch our drift.
Vienna Teng’s fourth album is produced by Rounder Records. To listen to more tracks, view tour dates or purchase albums, visit the Vienna Teng website.
Photo Credit: Kellie Kano