Teitur Lassen

Teitur (IPA: [ˈtaitʊɹ]; born Teitur Lassen 1977 in Hoyvík) is a Faroese musician, singer-songwriter and producer based on the Faroe Islands. He is a winner of multiple Danish Music Awards and has toured globally since his debut release, Poetry & Aeroplanes, in 2003.

Since 2001 he has dedicated himself to playing and writing music in English full-time, and has released six studio albums as a solo artist. He has additionally produced, written for, or worked with multiple international artists including Seal, Corinne Bailey Rae, Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Emilie Simon, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Holland Baroque Society, Nolwenn Leroy, Nico Muhly, and Ane Brun.[citation needed] His songs have appeared on major motion picture soundtracks and numerous compilations. In 2010 he was invited to perform for the Queen of Denmark’s 70th birthday celebrations and in 2015 Teitur was a speaker at the TED conference in Vancouver.

After finding both a publishing deal with Windswept Pacific and a record contract with Universal Records in the United States, the Faroe Islands awarded him its 2004 „Businessman of the Year“ award. His first major album, Poetry & Aeroplanes, released in 2003, was recorded in Los Angeles and Spain and featured a number of prominent studio musicians and the production of Rupert Hine.

Within months of its debut, the record found a following among many of popular music’s inner circle. Extensive touring in the US and Canada and rave reviews and industry/musician buzz led to opening slots on tours with Suzanne Vega, Glen Phillips, Rufus Wainwright, Aimee Mann, and John Mayer. John Mayer later described the album in his Esquire magazine article: „it may be one of the best albums to come around in the last five years…Music like this is jet fuel on the fire of a broken heart. Even if you think the flame has died, there’s at least one lyric that’ll hit that last hot spot, and then you’ll find yourself as fucked as you were the day you lied and said you never wanted to see her again. Enjoy.“

Teitur was featured on MTV’s You Heard it First program. While not picked up by mainstream radio, several of the songs on Poetry & Aeroplanes found airplay on major television and motion picture soundtracks, most recently in the 2006 films Aquamarine and My Super Ex-Girlfriend. Teitur continued to tour extensively in over 20 countries, building a firm following and respect amongst media and the musician community, despite the lack of commercial marketing by Universal Records.

On 20 April 2006, Teitur’s management issued a statement that he had dropped Universal as his record label following months of legal problems and creative differences, and from then on his records would be released on Arlo and Betty Recordings, a new label, run by his manager, and named after his two vintage Gibson guitars.

His second studio record Stay Under the Stars, produced by Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz, Ron Sexsmith, KT Tunstall, Train), was released in May 2006 in Scandinavia on Arlo and Betty, licensed to the indie label Playground Music. After spending several months in the Danish Top-40, the album was released in the U.S. and Canada on 5 September 2006 on the newly formed Equator Records, and on iTunes on 8 September 2006 and Edel Records in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The songs circle around the question asked in The Beatles‘ „Eleanor Rigby“ lyric, „All the lonely people, where do they all come from?“ and are written in first person about characters such as hitchhikers, burglars, night shift workers, star gazers and a carousel attendant. Also included is a re-arrangement of the Jerry Lee Lewis classic „Great Balls of Fire.“

In 2007, Teitur released an album performed entirely in his native Faroese language under the title Káta Hornið. It was initially released in the Faroe Islands and Iceland, and Teitur toured throughout the Faroe Islands in its support. The album was recorded in a summer vacation house in Tisvildeleje, Denmark, in January 2007 and mixed in Santa Barbara, California, later in the year.

In October 2007, Teitur started recording a new album, The Singer. The recording studio was set up in the barn of the famous house „Fridhem“ on the island of Gotland, former home and dying place of world-renowned director Ingmar Bergman. The album was produced by Teitur and recorded and engineered by his long-time live sound engineer Jonas Bloch Danielsen, with arranger collaborator Tróndur Bogason. The album was released in Scandinavia on 11 February 2008, and a few months later in the rest of world. In 2009, he was awarded „Danish singer/songwriter Album of the Year“ for The Singer at the Danish Music Awards 2009 and Albums of the Week in the UK’s Guardian and Independent.

Teitur recorded his next album, Let the Dog Drive Home, in early 2010 in Copenhagen, with some of his regular musicians and collaborators, arranger Tróndur Bogason, drummer Derek Murphy (Atlanta, Georgia), bass player Mikael Blak (Faroe Islands), and Nikolaj Torp Larsen (London), and a host of guest musicians, and backing singers. Teitur once again produced the album, which was recorded and engineered by his regular cohort Jonas Bloch Danielsen and mixed by George Tandero (Norway) who also recorded and mixed Stay Under the Stars. The song title that spawned the album title is a metaphor for relaxing and letting things just happen. The artwork for the album, is based on a series of drawings by Teitur of a dog character, reflecting some of the lyrics in the album; the graphic design being handled, as on all his albums, by London-based Bob McKie with direction by Christian Ulf-Hansen.

The album was released in October 2010 in Scandinavia, reaching the top 10 in Denmark, preceded by the single „You Never Leave L.A.“ and in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Benelux and Italy, also charting in the Netherlands; the single’s animated video based on the dog character of the album artwork, directed by Alex Lee, took nearly six months to make. The first single in the UK and Ireland was the track „Betty Hedges“, and the album was released on 11 April 2011 there, to great reviews, including „Album of the Week“ in The Independent.

In 2013, Teitur released his fifth studio album in English. The album written, produced and arranged by Teitur is the first one recorded on the Faroe Islands, and it features 78 local musicians from the age of 7 to 83. The recording took place in Studio Bloch, the first professional recording studio on the Faroes, built by long-time collaborator Jonas Bloch Danielsen, who also engineered and recorded the album. The style is described as world music, and it features many references to Faroese culture and traditions such as ring dance, folk music, monotony and nature. The song „It’s Not Funny Anymore“ was arranged for orchestra by Van Dyke Parks and recorded in the Eindhoven Concertgebouw by Reyn Ouwehand, performed by members of the Holland Baroque Society and additional musicians. The first single „Rock and Roll Band“ was playlisted on 120 American radio stations. The album was awarded Artistic Achievement of the Year on the Faroe Islands. An interactive film about the album recordings is in production.

In 2005, Teitur sang the track „Syner“ on the 2005 „Andersen’s Drømme“ album, produced and compiled by Danish producer Nikolaj Norlund. Norlund went on to produce Teitur’s version of „Happy Xmas (War Is Over)“ for the Danish Christmas album, Fra Danske Hjerter (translated as From Danish Hearts) in 2010.

In 2008 Teitur collaborated with composer Nico Muhly for the piece „Confessions“ for the Holland Baroque Society. „Confessions“ is a 14-piece song cycle for baroque instruments and voice. The music accompanies a series of mundane internet videos. „Confessions“ was performed four times in 2008 and an additional nine shows around Holland in 2010 including at the famous Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Teitur produced and arranged the album „Le Cheshire Cat et Moi“ in 2009 for French superstar Nolwenn Leroy, in addition to co-writing five of the songs.

In 2010, the legendary Italian singer Mina recorded Teitur’s song „You Get Me“ as a duet with Seal, which was the first single from her album Caramella, which went top 3 in Italy. Seal went on to record the song again, with David Foster producing, for Seal’s album „Commitment“, which charted in 12 countries, also recording it as a duet with Concha Buika (Spain), TinkaBelle (Switzerland) and Anna Eriksson (Finland).

In 2011, Teitur wrote a seven-piece song cycle for choir and orchestra called „Weekdays“, which was performed in late 2011 by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and the DR Girls choir in Copenhagen.

In 2012, Teitur performed live across the Netherlands with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, while a film was shown which he commissioned and composed the score to, directed by Thomas Koba, under the title „Everyday Song“, with additional music composed for the live show by Trondur Bogason. They also performed as part of the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival (CPH:DOX).

During 2012, Teitur composed the music for the yet to be released indie film The Load directed by Kristian Sonderby.

In 2013 he wrote music to the sonnet requiem „Sommerfugledalen“ by Inger Christensen for full choir, piano and strings. The 30-minute piece was premiered in Holstebro with 100 young choristers in celebration of the 75th birthday of the Holstebro Gymnasium og HF, where Teitur was a student.

In 2013 Teitur appeared as a singer with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in a new Danish requiem by composer John Frandsen with words by Simon Grotian. Teitur sang six songs solo with organ. The requiem premiered in Koncerthuset in April 2013.