“My dress is too short and it’s wearing me the f*ck out,” shares the woman of the hour, R&B soulstress Teedra Moses, referring to her skintight black dress with gold sequins. It’s an uncanny, slightly crass remark from a woman with such a sweet voice, but it makes the crowd gathered inside of Toronto’s Revival nightclub laugh, one fan even yells out, “Work that dress girl.”
The 37-year-old New Orleans native puts in non-stop work on the stage. She is full of energy and life, as she sings and dances — a lot of the time with her back facing the audience — to not only just her songs, but classic soul records as well. At one point she even says to the audience, “I got to be honest with you, most of you can’t handle me.”
Standing front row, centre is burgeoning Toronto singer Leila Dey. Earlier that evening, Leila serenaded the crowd with her own rendition of Teedra’s “Backstroke” (2004) as she opened up the show, looking stunning in her all-white pant suit outfit.
What is perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the entire night is the amount of love and positive energy in the venue. It’s closing night of Canadian Music Week, and R&B/Soul is not a widely recognized genre at the music festival. But from the start of Leila’s performance through to the end of Teedra’s, the crowd sings along, cheers and claps with no reservations. One man even reaches over and hands Teedra a bouquet of flowers; much to his delight he receives a kiss on the cheek from the songstress in return.
A decade into her career, Teedra proves that she is still relevant and her music is timeless. After a strong performance of “You’ll Never Find (A Better Woman)” off her Complex Simplicity project, Teedra turns to the audience, clearly overwhelmed by the amount of cheers she receives. “That shit do something to your heart when it’s real,” she says.
Words By. Priya Ramanujam + Photos By. Candace Nyaomi