Fresh off a tour with the Zac Brown Band, Teddy Swims chatted with us at the Life Is Beautiful festival a couple of weeks ago in Downtown Vegas. Teddy talks about his first time performing in front of festival crowds, his hit single, “Simple Things”, and who is influencing the music he is releasing today below.
BTS: Introduce yourself to our readers.
Teddy Swims: I’m Teddy Swims. I’m a singer or something, I guess.
BTS: How does it feel to be at Life Is Beautiful?
Teddy Swims: Oh, it’s beautiful! This is our first time. This is the first festival set we’re playing. I’m really, really excited — The first festival set ever. It’s a privilege and an honor, it really is.
BTS: What’s it like being in front of crowds again?
Teddy Swims: Weird because the last crowds we were in front of were, like, 3,700 so playing to these kinds of crowds is honestly… I guess we’ll see!
BTS: Who or what is influencing your music today?
Teddy Swims: Of course, I will always say the greatest of all time is Frank Ocean. Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, of course. A lot of country, too — Chris Stapleton is an incredible artist. And then there are amazing vocalists out there like Jessie J. A lot of musical theater, too — Lin-Manuel Miranda, I think, is one of the best writers of all time. Sara Bareilles… I could go on and on. I’m just a fan of music, you know?
BTS: Tell me about your song, “Simple Things”, and the inspiration behind it.
Teddy Swims: I don’t get a chance to explain this a lot. I grew up in a really small town. I used to be very upset about the way that I was raised because everybody kind of “lived in a diamond” in my hometown and I always dreamed bigger for myself — I just felt like I had this calling.
My granddad was a Pentecostal pastor, and so he had always told me how I had this calling in my life and to be something huge. I would never understand people with a small-town mindset. There are so many people I grew up with that are still kind of stuck in my hometown who aren’t striving for anything or doing anything. It wasn’t until my granddad passed away that I realized how much work he did for my family. You know, I had always wanted more for myself, but I realized no matter where my spiritual beliefs are now, I definitely realized that he made a covering for my family, gave them a work ethic, gave them a belief system, gave them great morals, gave them great principles to live and stand on, that they didn’t have to do too much for life. He left them stuff and he gave them opportunities to just be simple.
As I’m growing older, I’m starting to realize when I’m seeing some of my friends from high school who have kids, are going to be in the military, or having happy lives being normal, I’m starting to realize how beautiful that is and how much that is also a blessing and also a privilege to be able to have that as well. Honestly, when I think about it now, the best thing you could do is have a simple life and keep it easy. I’m starting to find beauty in simple things.
BTS: What was it like to tour with the Zac Brown Band? Any tour highlights?
Teddy Swims: It was great. We played Fenway Park. It was actually the biggest show to date at Fenway. 38,000 people were there! And Hershey Park was amazing, too. I got to go in and build a big Reese’s Cup!
BTS: Congrats on your release of “Bed on Fire” with Ingrid Andress. How did that collaboration come about?
Teddy Swims: I believe that Dallas Davidson, who I wrote it with, knows Ingrid pretty well and kind of made that happen. He’s the “Michael Jordan of songwriting”. We also wrote the song with Julian Bunetta, my buddy Addy Maxwell, and Kyle Fishman. And when I talked to Ingrid about it, she was like, “I’m just obsessed with the song. I just want to sing it with you.” I think she’s just incredible, too. I’m lucky to have her. She’s an actual angel.
BTS: What are you listening to lately?
Teddy Swims: I’m really, really into Lucky Daye recently. Of course, my very close buddies Mac Aryes and Allen Stone really inspired the hell out of me. I think Leslie Odom Jr. is probably one of the best singers that has ever walked the Earth dynamically. And then YEBBA just recently released an album and she’s an absolute angel. And then the new Drake record — I never get sick of Drake.
BTS: What can we expect from you for the rest of this year?
Teddy Swims: We have a couple of these festivals we are doing.
And at the beginning of next year, we’re supposed to be dropping another EP. With everything the way it is, I don’t want to make any promises. We’ve got things coming and a lot happening.
Get tickets to see Teddy Swims on his “Tough Love” tour here.