Teddy Swims: “I can’t think of another job where you can create something out of thin air”

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Teddy Swims: “I can’t think of another job where you can create something out of thin air”

teddy swims
Words by Benjamin Lamb

Teddy Swims is one of those people with effortless charisma.

Entering The Forum with a plush toy in hand, the playful and soft nature of the tattooed troubadour is contagious, you’d be hard pressed not to be in a good mood after an interaction with him.

If you’ve spent any time on YouTube, there’s no doubt you’ve come across the work of the singer, who has dazzled millions across the world with his soul-inspired covers and genre-bending originals, all made something special with his smooth as butter voice.

We’ve seen him pop up on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Ellen, bringing his style to many across America. Now he’s on a debut tour of Australia, we caught up with him on his Melbourne leg to chat about his life in the music world and his love affair with Australia.

Read up on all the latest interviews, features and columns here.

“When I first started doing covers three years ago”, Teddy notes, “it was here and New Zealand that had a big pop.

“I’m so excited to come out here finally, not only has Australia been on my bucket list, and is one of my favourite places, I just love the culture. There’s some much good stuff out here, it’s good to finally be here.”

In the era of fast media with YouTube, any talented person can record themselves covering their favourite singer, but it’s hard to separate apart from the pack. Teddy Swims has managed to make every cover he’s touched his own, there’s something special about the way he approaches a song.

“If I ever touch anything, if I ever do anything, the most important thing is to make sure you’re honouring, paying homage, and not trying to change too much of it. So maybe that’s the reason it works.”

Many of Teddy’s pieces feature his band Freak Freely, who have joined him on this Aussie tour.

“We’ve all known each other since high school, and I think we get a lot of cohesiveness, I think we’re just very lucky to have a solid team and foundation.

They also help me keep my shit together, and not let anything get out of hand, we keep each other grounded.”

Not too often do you get a musician that appeals to a number of demographics, but Teddy manages to get to everyone from “8 to 80”. His covers feature everything from old school Marvin Gaye to Lewis Capaldi, and his original work has flavours of pop, funk, and even a little bit of country.

“During our first tour, we were playing 300 caps (venues) across America, and we were doing primarily covers at the time, and on one of the stops, we had this family, and this lady was about 30, she had her kids and her parents with her.

“So, you had like four generations of family, and they said, ‘every Wednesday we get together and have a family game night, we turn on Teddy Swims top to bottom and play our board games’, I think that’s so beautiful.”

You could argue that to get far in this industry, one must take inspiration from a number of different genres, not just the one they are making music in. Teddy agrees with this sentiment, and has definitely been an important part of his music life since he was born.

“When I was growing up, there was some songs that my Mum liked, and I liked, but then there were definitely some things that I like that my Mum was like ‘Can you turn that shit off?’,” Teddy adds with a laugh.

“I remember I had an ex-girlfriend and she said ‘I hate the Beatles’. And you can’t even say that, because every band you listen to wouldn’t sound like this if there was no Beatles.”

Earlier this year, Teddy shared the Tough Love EP with fans, a journey through some emotional tracks that got a lot of attention from his fans across the globe. On top of that, there’ll be some more new music coming later this year.

“Even with this new EP coming out soon, it’s just been a bunch of writing, collaborating with new people, it’s been a good collection of songs of all different flavours.

Teddy’s been making his way across the world, playing to sold out stages, millions of fans singing back his music to him, a feeling unlike anything else out there.

“It’s the coolest thing. We get together, share these little sacred feelings we have and throw ideas at the wall, that’s kind of unique, isn’t it? When it comes to the idea of music, you could write a song right here with nothing but just our mind and voices. I can’t think of another job where you can create something out of thin air.”

Catch all the latest news on Teddy Swims over on his Instagram here.