Sometimes we still reach our destination even when our path veers off course. For singer-songwriter Teddy Grossman, that meant a much longer journey into seeing his dream of a debut solo album realized. Now, with that very goal nearing its final fulfillment, Soon Come will come soon enough as an early 2022 release date is set. Fans of soulful songwriting need not wait to hear a sample, however, as a number of singles, including the newly dropped “Ready,” are available now.
I recently sat down with Grossman to discuss following his north star, perfecting his patience, and how music helped to realign his life.
Americana Highways: Sometimes we zig when we know we should zag. Our passions tend to put us back on track though. For you, it sounds like music was that zag. Do you feel like you’re on the right path now after putting music on the back burner to take the road most-often-traveled in a “regular” job?
Teddy Grossman: I sure do. I’m very grateful for that time away though, as I learned a lot about myself. My north star never faded, and deep down I always knew I would get to this point. Some days the vision wasn’t always as clear, but in my gut I always had a sense I was heading towards this destination.
AH: How did that time away from music shape the songwriter you are today?
TG: Playing, recording and performing music was always a central part my life since I was a kid, but my time in New York City in my late 20s definitely had a profound impact on me as a human being (and songwriter): falling in and out of love, growing up and asking the bigger questions on what I wanted out of life. Despite always playing at home, I rarely gigged or recorded new material. I was partying a lot and having other rad life experiences, but I was really sad inside and eventually fell into a low grade depression as apathy began to set in. I think I really needed that time away to experience life, to struggle, to learn about myself, and take the necessary steps to work on myself and reorient my life around what makes me tick.
AH: Your latest single “Ready” dropped on November 17. This song is, in many ways, a preview of what people can expect from your debut album. Why did you choose this song as one of the singles that would be that first impression for so many people?
TG: “Ready” is a triumphant song – I wrote it during the final stretch of finishing the album I’ve always dreamed of making, in the early days of a loving, healthy relationship. As I was writing the song, I felt this spiritual overtone as if also starting a new relationship with the big spirit… the muse… God… or whatever you want to call it. It’s a straight ahead throwback soul record, which is definitely a core element of my sound that I wanted to convey as I introduce myself to all the good folks out there.
AH: Rolling out an album is a long, meticulous process. As the artist, is it difficult to sit on that creative output that you put so much of yourself into? If you had your way, would Soon Come be out today?
TG: Of course I would love to have this music out into the world – yesterday. Above all else I can’t wait to fully shift my creative energy to new songs. That said, given how much went into this album, being my solo debut and all, I’m good to hold out another few months if it helps bring in a few more people into the fold by the time it comes out. After all, the title of the album is literally synonymous with patience and belief.
AH: With the album basically kicking off 2022, what are you hoping the New Year holds for you both creatively and personally?
TG: Continued growth for the mind, body and soul! This is the first time in my life I’ve afforded myself the freedom to pursue my craft as a songwriter, singer, musician, and I intend to get my reps in.
AH: The record is extremely soulful and I can hear those early childhood influences like Stevie Wonder all over the tracks. What did you want to accomplish with the record, especially after steering away from music for so long? Now that it’s done, do you feel like you achieved everything you set out to with Soon Come?
TG: Wow, that is a really kind thing to say – thank you. This being my solo debut, I wanted to offer a cohesive piece of art that shares my story and encompasses my sound: equal parts singer-songwriter and soul. I wanted to step into the arena, and put my stake in the ground as a solo artist. Ultimately, making this album provided me purpose, brought me joy and helped realign my entire life. So, yes, I think I achieved everything I could have hoped for and more – regardless of what happens from here.
AH: What would the young Teddy listening to Stevie Wonder albums think of Soon Come if he had a chance to listen to it way back then?
TG: Considering young Teddy was singing along with Stevie in the mirror, and listening to Harvest every night before bed – I think he would heavily fuck with this album.
AH: Your previous single “Leave it on the Line” has racked up an impressive stream count. What do those digital listens mean to you as an artist, and how do you translate those into success for the album and any upcoming tours-to-be?
TG: I’d be lying if it doesn’t provide a sense of immediate validation out of the gates, and I certainly hope it propels these songs to reach more people and get me on the road performing them to larger crowds. But that stuff can be really arbitrary with the way playlists work these days, and I’ve quickly learned the hard way that getting overly attached to the numbers can really divert your focus from the value of the art itself.
AH: We are just a few weeks away from ringing in 2022. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions that you’re going to put into effect and if so, how do you plan on sticking to them?
TG: Try to write every day. Don’t take myself too seriously. Get in nature every now and then. Keep phone and social media consumption in check… to name a few. A couple years ago my therapist encouraged me to write out a 1, 3, 6, 12 month plan, which has been a really great exercise to do and continually check in with.
AH: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
TG: Hell no! Part of the magic in all of this stuff is wrapped up in the uncertainty (and fear) of it all, ya know?
Teddy Grossman fans can track his happenings here
and here https://teddygrossman.bandcamp.com
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