Singer-songwriter and pianist Vienna Teng recently released her fifth album, Aims, and will be playing at The Carolina Theatre in Durham as part of her U.S. tour.
Aims is her first full-length album in four years — she just finished programs in sustainability and business at the University of Michigan. The album explores contemporary social issues such as online surveillance and the Occupy movement.
Teng’s chosen cover art features artist and scientist Stephen Von Worley’s visualization of Detroit’s population changes from 2000-10, in shades of purple and orange.
“It was beautiful and striking to me,” said Teng, a Detroit resident. “You can draw the obvious conclusion that, ‘Oh wow, Detroit is in trouble.’ You can look at the situation and be struck by how depressing it is. But if you look closer, there’s other stuff going on. There are opportunities for us to imagine something better than there is now.”
Teng said she got to experiment much more with Aims than with her four prior albums.
“It feels like we’re doing it the right way for this moment in time,” Teng said.
She’s also planning to supplement the experience by adding some musical extras, such as sheet music, to her Bandcamp music site.
“I’m really happy with the sound we came up with. It feels fresh. It’s definitely inspired by lots of different sounds,” Teng said of her album.
For example, the song, “The Breaking Light,” co-written by Alex Wong, was inspired by the tone of a wine glass.