(30 June 2004) Who would have imagined that a computer software engineer geek on track to medical school could display such musical virtuosity as on her second release, Warm Strangers (Virt Records (USA) VRT 1007, 2004). Vienna Teng exhibits her tenacity as a talented folk/pop singer/songwriter, with her beautiful lyrics and soaring vocals.
Graceful melodies and evocative lyrics have garnered Vienna critical acclaim and a rapidly growing legion of fans throughout the world. Her days are now filled with interviews and sold-out performances. Needless to say, it has been an abrupt shift from her cubicle days.
But in truth, the jump from code warrior to full-time musician had been a long time coming. Vienna began taking piano lessons at age 5, studying classical composers like Bach and Chopin. Far from being pressured into studying music, however, Vienna asked for piano lessons on her own. While she delved fully into classical works, leading her to even take on the name of Vienna after the Austrian city of composers, she was drawn more to the act of improvisation, and in expressing the ideas that were emerging in her own imagination. She wrote her first song at age 6, and had an album’s worth of instrumentals composed by age 16.
All the songs on Warm Strangers were written by Vienna with the exception of the catchy "Hope on Fire" which was a collaboration with Jim Batcho and David Henry. "Feather Moon" headlines as the first track and presents a soulful and tender beginning. The next track, "Harbor," kicks up the standard a notch with its poignant melody.
Other songs that stand out on Warm Strangers
include the simply stunning "Harbor" and then "Mission Street," "Shasta," "Passage" and "The Atheist Christmas Carol." The final untitled hidden track continues as a culmination of the CD to display the powerful and touching melodies as well as gorgeous singing.
Vienna displays a deep and rich maturity in her material
with an emotional intensity that touches the soul of the
listener. "I realized how much my songs could affect people - that they had some value. People wanted to hear them and wanted to make them a part of their lives," Teng remarks.
Warm Strangers certainly presents itself as the canvas onto which Vienna Teng has painted her heartfelt stories, expressed exquisitely through her orchestral and vocal interludes.
This is a tremendous follow-up album that will delight those that have discovered Vienna Teng previously and draw new listeners into her fold.