Teddy Michaels is a 23 year old unsigned independent pop artist, from Chicago. Born in 1991, his musical influences include Madonna, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. We recently had the chance to have a chat to Teddy – here’s our interview!
You describe yourself as an “independent pop artist, singer, songwriter dancer, actor, phone case designer” which one of those, if any, is your first love?
Yes I’m a man of many trades lol Well my first real true love is music and singing. So I have to say being a singer. Either if I’m performing at Madison Square Garden or singing at a small bar in Ohio or even singing in my shower, I will be singing no matter what.
Like so many people in the industry, you were bullied as a child, how does this influence your song writing/performing, and do you feel it has given you an extra determination to succeed?
Being bullied as a child and as a teenager was one of the hardest times of my life. I used to hate waking up everyday to go to school because someone was going to call me the f word when I walked past them in the hallway. I had a constant fear of being called the n word everyday at school. Being bullied has influenced my music in so many ways. All the pain and aggression that built up in those years I use to my advantage when I’m recording at the studio. I let it all out. It also gives me a extra boost to want to pursue my dreams even more to prove my haters and bullies wrong.
How did you come to speak so many languages, and do you feel it has been an advantage to you?
Well I was born into a multicultural diverse environment with so many different customs and ethnicities, so I had to adapt to my surroundings. I attended a bilingual school throughout the 90s so I took many bilingual classes and had so many friends who were bilingual. I learned how to talk in Polish, Bosnian, Japanese, Chinese, German, swedish and my favorite Spanish lol. What know one knows is that I can totally sing “Mama Mia” in Swedish – the entire song but let’s just keep that between you and me! Okay? Okay! lol
Your mother played a prominent part in developing your love of music, how important do you feel parental support is for an artist?
Without my Mom’s music background I don’t know where I would be as an artist today because she has taught me so much about singing and songwriting. Her dream was to be a big recording artist one day and that’s still her dream. My late grandma was also a singer and was in a Motown-esque girl group in the 60s but It didn’t work out.
As far as parental support, in my opinion that is a beautiful thing for an artist to get that special kinda support from your parents, but sometimes actually in most cases kids might not have that extra backbone. Most parents shame their kids for having a dream to pursue music. Most are told and forced to go to law school, medical school but all they really want to do is SING! So in my opinion parental support is not needed! You can make it with or without parental support.
You clearly have your roots in pop, with artists such as Britney and Michael Jackson. Are there any other kinds of music you enjoy?
I’m a huge fan of rock music and country music. I grew up with Shania Twain and Lee Ann Womack playing around my house. But I’m really really obsessed with Motown, and music from the 60s. I also have a really soft spot for Broadway tunes and showtunes!! Theatre kid right here lol!
You’ve had a lot of near misses on the road to success, what inspires you to stay strong and keep going?
My determination in becoming the world’s next pop icon inspires me to keep going. My passion motivates me to keep going for my fans and supporters! My fans are the main reason why I continue music. They overwhelm me with all the love they give me lol
Your track “Red Lipstick” was a huge viral hit, how did that come about?
I’m so so thankful for the viral success of Red Lipstick. It came about in January of this year. So like 11 months ago, I discovered this producer named “Mchncl” and reached out to him to make a track with him. He gave me the okay to come up with something and 15 minutes later I wrote Red Lipstick at 4 am. 6 hours later after 5 hours of sleep I was on the train to the city to record it with hit music producer, pop artist and VOXO records CEO and founder Kevin Korveil. I was not the biggest fan of Red Lipstick so I didn’t release it until February and I uploaded it to one of my favorite websites called “atrl”, a pop music forum. The reviews were so negative with very little postive feedback. But everywhere elsewhere was a huge hit. It climbed to the top 10 on the CDs music chart and reached 2,000 views in less than a week. I’m so proud of it now. Looking back, I wish there could’ve been a music video but things did not work out financially and artistically.
We’re intrigued by “Teddy Phone Cakes” Can tell us a bit about them?
Well, Teddy Phone Cakes is my first ever business venture and my own company. I started it back in 2013. I basically make phone cases that you will never ever see in the stores. At first my friends and family thought I was completely bonkers for making phone cases but it made me happy and made lots of my fans happy. I sold several but once the official store opens up everything will look more immaculate. I hope you guys at Essentially Pop check it out!
What do you do for fun, away from the music and phone cases?
For fun I love to shop a lot. Shop shop shop until I drop! Especially at thrift stores and vintage boutiques in the city.
You’re working on a new EP and video, when can we expect to see those, and what else do you have planned for the future?
Well right now an EP is planned but there is no exact release date at the moment. I’m mainly focused on releasing singles and promoting those bad boys with state of the art music videos with several creative artist directors. I’m really excited for what’s to come, especially my brand new single that’s coming out at years end with a commercial release on iTunes and Amazon. The new single will be out on physical cd before the digital release which is really different. There’s also a school tour, a club tour and a mall tour planned for 2015. I’m also auditioning for small roles in many independent feature films and getting into musical theatre. So much stuff I know lol but I’m ready for what’s to come!
Thanks for speaking to us! We’re looking forward to see what you get up to, and wish you all the best!
Follow Teddy on Twitter and check out Red Lipstick on YouTube: