Pop-Culturalist Chats with Teddy Edwards
Discovering your life’s passion isn’t always easy, that is, unless you’re Teddy Edwards. From a young age, this fast-rising superstar (emphasis on superstar), knew he wanted to pursue music as a career and he’s been channeling his life experiences and relationships into his songwriting ever since. At only seventeen, Teddy is hard at work in the studio, producing, writing, and performing his own material. Pop-Culturalist got all the details about Teddy’s upcoming EP and how he finds the balance between following his dreams and being a normal teenager.
P-C: Can you tell us about your new single, “Always Be There”, and how you decided that would be the first single off your upcoming album?
Teddy: I wrote “Always Be There” last summer and I co-produced it with two guys, Mike Molina and Nelson Kyle, they’re a production duo called The Agency. The song has always resonated with me because I had this friend going through a lot of hard times and everything was just falling apart for her. I wrote the song to be like, ‘there’s always someone there for you’, because she wasn’t talking to her friends. There’s going to be a variety of different vibes and feelings on my album, but “Always Be There” is relaxed and calm, but it also isn’t just flat and it has some life to it. That’s what led me to pick it as my first single. I’ll be putting out another song at the end of this month.
P-C: When will the album be released?
Teddy: The release date will likely be early this fall, maybe end of summer, but I want to make sure that I’ve finished it up as well as I can, so I don’t want to rush the process. Because I’m writing and producing everything, I really have control over it, so I can make every detail exactly how I want it. I’m taking my time to make sure that I do it how I envisioned it, as opposed to rushing to meet a release date. The album is pretty atmospheric. There are some upbeat songs and there are some slower songs like “Always Be There”, but it’s really has a chill vibe. It really encapsulates my life over the past couple of years and things that are universal to other people as well.
P-C: If you had to describe the album in five words, what would they be?
Teddy: That’s tricky! Atmospheric would probably be one of the words, emotional, maybe honest, relaxed, and spacey. It allows you to space out a little bit.
P-C: If you had to choose one song that you’re most excited for fans to hear on the album, what would it be and why?
Teddy: The next single I’m putting out is one that I’m very excited about. It’s different from anything else on the album or what I’ve recorded in the past. The emotional and energy levels are very high in the song, and you can definitely feel that emotion. It’s called “Tell Me How It Is”, and it’s basically calling someone out. When you have a frustration with a relationship and whether or not someone is being honest with you or withholding something, you want them to tell you what’s going on. It brings out a pretty cool part of my voice because it’s on the high side of my vocal range.
P-C: There’s the vulnerability and honesty with your songwriting. How do you decide which experiences you write about, and do you ever feel nervous to expose so much about yourself?
Teddy: I kind of feel more liberated than nervous. I think everyone always has an outlet or someone they can talk to or to whom they can express what they’re going through, and for me, that’s always kind of been my music, and so, when I release a song and it reveals something about me, people are going to look at me differently, but that’s expected, and I think that’s kind of liberating. Also, because it’s a song and not just me talking and confessing things, it’s phrased artistically and not just word for word exactly what happened. People can use their imagination and connect the dots.
P-C :You’ve known from pretty early on in your life that you wanted to pursue music as a profession. How do you find a balance between attending school, being a normal teenager, and then following your dreams?
Teddy: I’ve always loved music, and so, even when I have school or when I want to hang out with friends, I think my music is something that always kind of takes a priority and I think there’s definitely a balance, because you need to be inspired to make music. If you’re just focusing on music and you’re not out there living life, you’re not going to have anything to write about. It’s always about the energy levels, whenever you get down or whenever you wear yourself out. In terms of school, it’s definitely been challenging, but I think I’ve been able to manage it pretty well. I don’t get much sleep, but you gotta do what you gotta do!
P-C: You grew up and lived in New York City. How is that influenced you and your career?
Teddy: New York is so diverse, so I’ve definitely had a lot of perspectives to write about and to learn from. That’s been pretty great. Also, it’s the city where people are chasing their dreams! Even if you’re working at a coffee shop, you’re doing something else because you have some dream that you’ve been wanting to follow and you’re just getting by to pay rent for an apartment. New York is the city of dreamers, and that’s amazing! There aren’t too many places around the world where you can say that pretty much everyone there has an objective and is working hard to achieve something. I think New York is one of those places.
P-C: After you release your album, are there plans to tour, and is there a venue that’s on your bucket list to perform at?
Teddy: A bucket list venue—that’s Madison Square Garden, but that’s going to take a while to build up. I think after I release the album, I’ll definitely be playing a lot of venues. I don’t really know specifics right now because it all depends on what seems right in the moment and how people are reacting to the album, where people are reacting to the album—I think that will ultimately dictate where I go and where I’ll perform. For the most part, I think I definitely will be performing a lot once the album comes out.
P-C: Do you think you’ll do a showcase or album preview before that?
Teddy: Right now, I’d say all my focus is kind of just on finishing the production. Most of the writing is pretty much done, so now I’m just working on finishing up production, mixing, and just making sure everything is coherent on the album and exactly how I want it. Once I get to a place where that starts to get really, really close, then I’ll start thinking about those other details, like touring, an album release party, and all that sort of stuff.
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Teddy: I love Twin Peaks. It’s kind of like, very mysterious and like, a fantasy-type world. It’s real life but it’s also like sci-fi, kind of like Stranger Things, which I also love.
P-C: Favorite book?
Teddy: I’m reading this Beatles book right now—recording techniques that they used at Abbey Road. That’s been pretty cool to look at and it has a bunch of artifacts and stuff like that. I’d say that’s definitely something that is good for anyone interested in music history or any other producers in general.
P-C: Favorite play or musical?
P-C: Favorite social media platform?
Teddy: That’s too tough! Gotta love them all! I think each has a different purpose. Instagram is more for photos and Twitter is more for sharing thoughts a little. I’d say Facebook is more just like a combination of the two but in general, it’s more promotion than anything else.
P-C: Do you have a band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Teddy: I’m a really big fan of Miguel but I don’t think that’s much of a secret; I’m pretty open about that. I just think he’s great. Also, Frank Ocean too and Gambino—all those people.
P-C: Do you remember the first album you ever bought?
Teddy: The first album I ever heard was The Beatles’ 1 album. I got it for Christmas one year and it’s all their number one hits so that definitely inspired me to start writing music.
P-C: Do you remember the first concert that you attended?
Teddy: It was a Paul McCartney concert at Madison Square Garden.
P-C: That’s a good first one.
Teddy: Yeah—dream venue, dream artist.