Inside Teddy’s Castle Life (+ 2 new songs)
It’s been a breakout year for 21-year-old Teddy. After releasing EP Castle With No Light in September, the New York-based musician wasted no time taking the show on the road with Bexey and Fat Nick. With wild blond hair pouring out from underneath a neon Bass Pro Shop trucker hat, fans across the front rows of U.S. and Canada were quick to extend the musician open arms. While his tourmates are known for their larger than life personalities, Teddy interjected a hazy, less-is-more approach, which translates seamlessly in clubs dimly lit with swaying phone flashlights. Shrouding music’s here-and-now in melancholic waves and a chilling breath of honesty seems to be the secret to building the bear. Before Teddy’s heart-wrenching hip hop was illuminated on stage, he achieved viral success by collabing with cream of the crop colleagues while maintaining a body of work all his own.
Last year’s feature on iLoveMakonnen’s “Drop the Top” showcased Teddy’s abilities as an unadulterated rapper who can slide smoothly into more upturned, bubbly moments. On the same accord, Teddy holds his own on Rich the Kid gem “Out in Paris,” proving that he can play chameleon when it comes to more lyrical demands. Nevertheless, true colors are shown when it comes to being a full-on crossover artist, striking the delicate balance of melody and bangability.
Keeping with his unfolding fairy tale, Teddy enlisted Lil Peep to tell the story of “Dreams & Nightmares.” Blissfully ominous, the track is a cautionary tale of the come up, with Teddy’s singing swinging like a pendulum between the hard bite of Peep’s confessions. Matters all come to a head on Castle With No Light -- an uncharted plane in which Teddy firmly etches out his own universe. Mastering the art of the third way found somewhere between rapping and singing, Teddy weaves sparkly and soft threads, providing a subtle concept that’s nothing short of magic.
Wrapping up 2018 on a strong note, Teddy is dropping two new tracks today. “Broken Hearts,” which features guitar work from his uncle Christian Määttä (a member of Swedish punk band Bombshell Rocks), is an effortlessly cool interpretation of his '90s rock influences.
Similarly, “Taste Me” is a floaty force of groove and grunge as distorted guitar bounces off the beat.
Carrying on the legacy of trails blazed within internet-based music scenes in recent years, Teddy’s emotional attitude proves that the new era of hip hop isn’t just a phase. Welcoming the world into his castle, Teddy opened up his seams and spilled his soft stuffing to BrooklynVegan. Read our interview below...
BV: I'm sure you probably get sick of this question, but could you explain how you got started in music?
Teddy: People always ask me this, but I feel like I’ll never have the right answer to the question. Music has always surrounded me for as long as I can remember, you know? I grew up with musicians in my family, so I never really thought about it too much. But once I started making music, I knew that it was something that I could never live without.
Who did you grow up listening to? Were these artists popular among your friends and peers as well, or were you off in your own lane?
I grew up listening to a bunch of different shit. I grew up loving Nirvana, My Chemical Romance, Future, Young Thug, Bombshell Rocks, and a lot more. I was also huge into SOJA, Rebelution, and Citizen Cope. Some of the artists I was listening to were popular amongst my friends, but definitely not all of it. At the time, I thought I was kind of weird for liking such a wide range of artists, but I quickly stopped caring what other people thought of me. I like what I like.
A common theme in your music this year seems to be castles and fairy tales – what do these symbols mean to you?
I don’t know. I’m honestly pretty weird, but I feel like we’re living in a fairytale and shit. I kind of grew up in a castle, so there’s a whole story behind it that I want to explain one day, but I want to reveal the full story in the future sometime.
You’re wrapping up a pretty comprehensive tour as we speak. How did it compare with your past touring experiences?
This was my first tour, so I had nothing to compare it to, but it was one of the best experiences of my life. I got to learn so much and grow as an artist. I loved being able to see so many different cities and meet all these fans and actually see my music touching all these different lives, it was really amazing.
What are your reflections on tour overall?
Overall, I just learned a lot. There are a lot of ups and downs being on the road, the main thing I learned was that the most important thing is to take care of your body, make sure to drink enough water, and not eat only sour skittles.
Any future plans you'd like to share for the record?
My future plans are to just keep creating and sharing my art with everyone. I hope the world is ready for what I have planned. I want my music to be a place where people can feel free to be themselves and we all spread love and help each other. We are just a big family and nothing makes anyone better than anyone else. We are all human, and I love you all. Castle Life forever!
Teddy has no upcoming tour dates at the moment, but you can listen to his two new songs at the top of this post.