There are some artists who command the utmost respect and attention the second you hear that very first note. The voice grabs you; their lyrics hold you. You’ve discovered something rare and precious. You’ll always remember that moment.
Welcome New Zealand’s newest and brightest star – TEEKS.
When TEEKS sings his voice rings out, low and sonorous like a sun on the horizon. His character befits his voice. Deep and in tune with his view of life at the prime age of 24. This begins to tell the story of the singer-songwriter’s music, which blends intimate lyrics, classic soul and modern electronic soundscapes.
Hailing from Northland, New Zealand, TEEKS (real name Te Karehana Gardiner-Toi) grew up surrounded by music and performance. Raised with strong Māori cultural influences, TEEKS took his first steps in the music industry when selected for the prestigious Pao Pao Pao development initiative for emerging and establishing Māori artists.
It set a strong foundation for his next step in the journey – the release of his debut EP THE GRAPEFRUIT SKIES on June 23, 2017.
Recorded in New York and in New Zealand, the EP made a powerful statement and boldly introduced TEEKS to the world, establishing the young artist as one of Aotearoa’s next great talents.
Steeped in old-school soul and yet shimmering with moments that capture TEEKS’ strength of youth, THE GRAPEFRUIT SKIES stopped critics in their tracks and shot straight up the charts, with its lead single ‘If Only’ peaking at #1 on the New Zealand Viral Chart on Spotify and #1 on the R&B/Soul Chart on iTunes NZ.
“THE GRAPEFRUIT SKIES is one of the most original pieces of work a male New Zealand artist working within the genre of soul has produced”
– Mike Alexander, Sunday Star Times
“Teeks has the kind of voice people whisper about. When you’re lucky enough to hear him sing, your jaw will drop a little. Or your eyes will widen and you’ll say something about shivers under your breath, or point at the tiny goosebumps forming on your forearms”
– Lydia Jenkin, Paperboy
In the short space of just five months, the EP went on to achieve more than 2 million streams on Spotify and earned TEEKS three nominations at the 2017 New Zealand Music Awards – ‘Breakthrough Artist of the Year’, ‘Best Soul and R’n’B Artist’ and ‘Te Māngai Pāho Best Māori Artist’, which he won.
Also one of just five acts invited to perform at the live televised awards, TEEKS’ impressive performance of ‘Never Be Apart’ saw the EP soar on the NZ Top 20 album chart and the Official Top 40 album chart.
Throughout 2017 TEEKS honed his live performance, opening for the likes of Kiwi soul singer Hollie Smith and performing with the Blackbird Ensemble. He also impressed with this live RNZ session.
The triumphs continued to roll in, with the singer-songwriter signing in late 2017 with the esteemed UK-based touring label 13 Artists, whose roster includes Radiohead, Paolo Nutini, Alabama Shakes, Michael Kiwanuka and Royal Blood. He was also signed by Australia’s highly regarded boutique touring company and artist booking agency Niche Productions, which works with the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Ladi6, Six60 and Thomston.