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SXSW is a signature intersection of innovation and thought leadership for the future. From space exploration to sustainable farming, from fashion to finance, travel to technology, and so much more–if it’s disruptive, dynamic, and divergent, there’s a stage for that.
Some of the most impactful entrepreneurs around the globe gather for the annual SXSW festival, which also offers music as a core experience, performance being a powerful vessel that propels us forward into the future.
The life of a musical artist is a lot like being an entrepreneur. Business is scrappy, saturated, and savage; a bubbling pot of potion that has to be just right to make magic. Not all entrepreneurs become moguls, not all artists become popstars, and an even smaller number become Rihanna (mogul popstars). But, equipped with some talent and much tenacity, every artist and entrepreneur sets out to create a revolutionary experience, and captivate a committed audience along the way.
This year’s festival was buzzing with talent across the spectrum, featuring the latest heat from young stars like Lil Yachty and Mariah The Scientist, classic anthems from the likes of Bun B and Talib Kweli, plus a bouquet of blossoming new artists who were taking the SXstage for the first time.
Performing at SXSW is a career milestone for many artists, but what exactly does it take to get there? Somewhere sandwiched between sets and soundchecks was a local gem that I had to see shine for myself.
Introducing your next musical muse: TEDDYTHELEGACY. We got to sit down with Teddy to talk about his journey as a musical entrepreneur, and learn the keys to making a long-lasting impact. He’s already building a strong legacy as a two-time performer on the SXSW stage. The latest releases from TEDDYTHELEGACY include his single “Blitz,” plus a robust catalog of heat, out now on a streaming platform near you.
Tell us about TEDDYTHELEGACY. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I’m from Austin, Texas, born and raised. Around junior year of high school, my best friend saw the artist in me. I was just the guy with my feet up at the table during lunch time while people were rapping. But my friend told me to try out the rapping thing, so I tried it out, and then I liked it. I’ve kept going ever since. I’m an introvert–I stay to myself, collect all thoughts, and put it in the music. I feel like rapping one day, singing another day, I don’t limit myself as an artist. I never really sounded like I was from Austin (musically). I didn’t marginalize myself or build myself to be a “Texas rapper.” I want to appeal to everyone.
Who/what are some of your artistic inspirations? They don’t have to be musical.
I used to draw a lot when I was younger. I drew my own tattoos, just doodling everywhere. And I was influenced by a lot of movies growing up–Happy Gillmore was my favorite. But artist-wise, what really spoke to me is when I first heard Kendrick Lamar. It finally connected. I could be a true lyricist, and I learned to appreciate what I could convey in my music. Tyler, The Creator, too. When I saw him perform at the Woodie Awards during SXSW (2011), I thought wow, this is different. And then growing up, T-Pain really inspired me with the autotune; I go crazy with that now. It was looked down on back then, but it’s like an industry standard these days. Plus a lot of r&b artists, like New Edition, Boyz II Men, and Frank Ocean. Frank really helped me figure out where I wanted to go with my own style. But I’m open to so many different sounds. I’ll sing on a boom bap beat just to see how it sounds and try something new.
What is the vibe like this year compared to the past times that you have been here?
This is my second time performing at SXSW. Technically it was my third offer, but back in 2020 everything was canceled. The first time was really cool; you feel like you really have your feet in the game, finally doing some footwork. But this year is electric. And you can tell people are ready to have a good time. I’m excited to experience the crowd this year, each one has its own unique energy.
What was the biggest challenge for you artistically during COVID? What kept you inspired during that time?
Not performing shows was the most difficult part. Other than that, I took full advantage of putting out music and spending time in the studio, making songs and more ideas. Austin being a big city for music, I was quick to hop on any digital show opportunities, and performed virtually for the first time. I’m a bedroom artist myself, so I stayed in the house and kept going. What really inspired me was listening to my old projects. I studied what I wanted to do for the next one, what I wanted to expand on, just to keep the ball rolling and the concept sharp.
SXSW showcases the convergence of new industries looking to the future. Do you see yourself merging your artistry with new technologies like Metaverse, AI, and other virtual realities? Would you do virtual concerts?
I always dreamt about this. Especially with Fortnite, having your own interactive world as an artist. I even wanted to tap in with Oculus and have my own studio in VR where I could perform shows. I feel like it just adds on to the product. Live shows are never going to end–we’ve been doing that for thousands of years. So I feel like virtual reality and Metaverse is just an add on to what you can bring to the table.
Being an artist in today’s world is essentially being an entrepreneur. What is one thing that you think is essential for working in this industry?
Staying organized! Make sure you have people around you who are willing to work, and get the job done. Make sure everyone has the same vision, the same end-goal; we all know where we want to go and what level we want to reach next. Keep the tunnel vision going. Organization being at the core of all of that.
An artist’s team can make such a difference when you’re evolving at this level. What is the most important quality of a great team?
People who are there to keep you on point when you’re not. We can’t always be at our 100% best, so you have to have someone who is there to get you back on the road. Being an artist, sometimes you get stuck and all you want to do is create; you can get clouded by the business, and that can make you feel like you don’t really want to do this. So having somebody that can remind you, “Hey, we gotta do this!” is a major key component of a great team.
SXSW is a dream for a lot of developing artists. What advice would you have for those artists who are just starting to submit for bookings?
Take advantage of the open mics in your own city. I’ve performed in backyards before, for five people. Take advantage of any show that comes across the table because you have to get used to that stage. When you’re on stage, you’re creating your own stage presence–creating your own show. So you have to make it the best way that fits you. And then once you get here (to SXSW), keep taking opportunities. There’s a lot of new brands that are coming up at SXSW and getting their own stages, too, and they’re always looking for new talent. I’m still learning to this day. It’s important to adjust and be quick on your feet; knowing your music set and reading the crowd so you can make changes in the moment is super important. Have a lot of music ready to go so you can pick and choose what you want to do.
What can we expect from the future?
Album coming soon! And more visuals. But hopefully, we’re going to have our own showcase. We’re working on it. We want to give opportunities to new artists coming up.
New music, virtual concerts, and a showcase in the works. What is the best way people can tap in with you?
They can follow me on Instagram @TEDDYTHELEGACY. I love engaging with fans or talking through ideas with other creatives who share the vision.
So what is the key to building a lasting legacy? Whether you’re a musical artist or an entrepreneur, there’s a whole ring of them. Amongst the bunch is an unwavering commitment to learning, a humble but persistent approach, and a firmly planted place at the forefront of new beginnings. Thank you TEDDYTHELEGACY for taking time to talk with us during the wild week of SXSW 2023! We spoke to him before the show, but his actual performance had the crowd jumping the whole time. Our favorite thing about TEDDYTHELEGACY is his mission to leave a lasting impact through character and creativity! What will your legacy be?
Teddy the best of him self in the city!! Seen my brotha push and push to be the best! Amazing interview and write up!