Anne Reid

How Bonobo Inspired TSHA to Create Music

Apr 4, 2023

Luca Rizzello

2 min read

Celebrated DJ and producer Teisha Matthews – aka TSHA – experienced a rapid ascension in dance music since her 2018 debut. BBC Introducing crowned her the Star of 2020, the same year she signed with her dream label, Ninja Tune. In 2021, she became the BBC Radio 1 January “Future Artist”, made her Essential Mix debut, and featured as a Mixmag cover star. The following year, she dropped a fabric presents compilation album, had a residency at Ibiza’s renowned DC-10, and embarked on a series of extensive UK and US tours.

Matthews’ uplifting and emotive sound is heavily influenced by Ninja Tune’s accomplished live act Simon Green, aka Bonobo. In February 2017, Green was all set for two sold-out shows at London’s Brixton Academy. After accepting a last-minute offer of a ticket to one of the events, Matthews headed over to the venue.

Bonobo’s performance had a transformative effect on Matthews, and as she stood in a crowd of 5,000 mesmerized fans, she imagined herself on stage. “Bonobo was the person that made me really connect with emotive dance music. I would say he was the biggest factor in inspiring me to do what I do,” Matthews explains in an interview with Billboard.

As Matthews moved from strength to strength, it wasn’t long before Bonobo discovered her music and became a fan. Almost two years to the day from the Brixton show, Matthews’ track "Sacred" was released as part of Bonobo’s 2019 fabric Presents compilation. “It was wicked,” she says in an interview with WhyNow. “That helped bring a lot of attention and awareness to me and that’s why I wanted to do the same on my own fabric mix.”

Bonobo’s expansive live set had a prolonged impact on Matthews’ vision. In the run up to the release of her debut album ‘Capricorn Sun’ in 2022, she was already envisioning herself as a live performer as opposed to a DJ. She broke down her earlier material and worked into new reference points, building a bank of refreshed music to match her evolving outlook.

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