For our new digital cover series Takeover, we chose five of our favorite women who're making a significant impact on the music industry right now. Teddy Geiger, the songwriter behind some of Shawn Mendes' biggest hits, is relaunching her solo music career as Teddy<3. Today, she'll be taking over PAPER with guest edited pieces and appearing on our Instagram.
Related | Teddy Geiger Is Ready For the World
How did you get your start in music?
Back home in Colombia when I was four years old, my music teacher made me a choir soloist and I started singing at every funeral and school event there was. Then I just stayed in the choir through middle school, so I could skip class and started taking guitar lessons and writing my own songs that I would demo in my Dell computer as a voice note. And after surviving puberty, I came back to music in a much more serious way and I chose to do music over studying law, so my parents helped me move here to LA when I was 18. Since then, I've been playing and writing and recording basically all the time.
Who are your influences?
I move around a lot between genres and artists and I'm never just into one specific style. I grew up listening to what you would call South American folk-rock that my dad would play all the time — Mercedes Sosa, Juan Manuel Serrat, Silvio Rodriguez, and Soda Stereo. I also love Bossa Nova, people like Djavan and Astrud Gilberto. But after moving here I got deeper into great stuff like Kanye, Elliott Smith, Alex G, Tame Impala, and Karen Dalton. I'm all over the place to be honest.
What's your writing process like?
It usually starts with a lyric line or a cheesy melody and I save it in my phone for weeks or months, and then when I feel like I could write something, I pull that and build the song from there. Usually just me on guitar and sometimes (rarely) with a synth on Logic and I demo it on the spot because I'm pretty bad at playing piano.
What are you currently working on?
I'm releasing in a couple of weeks my EP called The Fall. It's a very organic sounding folk-pop record that I made two years ago, very focused on the raw emotion of a song stripped down and simple. And I've been working on my full length album with Teddy and Evan Voytas during this whole year. It's rooted in what you would call traditional "singer-songwriter" music, but it's much more expanded sonically with a lot of pop and dreamy sounds. Also, a lot more beat oriented and percussive combining what I grew up listening to and the music I've encountered since moving here.
Any upcoming projects, visions, dreams or goals you can share?
Just can't wait to get on the road and play all the stuff I've been working on so hard. And survive 2018 as well. It's been a heated year for sure.
Photography: Felipe Nogueira