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Grammy-Nominated Songwriter Teddy Geiger Shares About Writing, Producing, and Becoming ‘Teresa’

Through hazy vocals and dreamy ambience, songwriter Teddy Geiger has officially introduced the world to Teresa.

A lot has happened for Geiger (aka both “Teresa” and “teddy<3”) since she last put out an album; a month after her third LP Lillyanna landed in November 2018, she was nominated for Song of the Year for her work on Shawn Mendes’ hit track “In My Blood”. She’s continued to put out well-loved work with artists across the industry like Caroline Polachek, Greyson Chance, and Niall Horan. And, like the rest of us, she’s tried to make it through the pandemic in one piece.

While Lillyanna gave us a glimpse into Geiger just a year after publicly coming out as a trans woman, a half-decade of further exploration, processing, and emoting come through in Teresa. Tracks like “True Love” and “In Spades” display a fully realized romantic and emotional depth thriving even in the face of heartbreak.

We caught up with the songstress herself to chat about finding Teresa years ago and the musical road she’s traveled since.

How did the project Teresa come to be?

I wrote these songs back in 2019, maybe like a year or so in to my transition, so there was a lot of new in my life. I took a trip to Spain for some self exploration. The album reflects that time. One night on the street in Spain, I got nicknamed “Teresa” by a girl I had met during a happenstance little party that happened when out two groups met in the street. I just loved the way that name felt, and began to use it as a little mantra to point toward some sort of authentic integrated personality. Eventually it became the name of the work.

How has your relationship with this project and its subject matter changed since initially writing it back in 2019?

Oh gosh, so much. I just had a kind of wildly transformative year last year. It feels kind of like looking back at photos of myself as a teenager or something.

Are there any pieces of media that you’ve used as a reference to return to that headspace while continuing to work on Teresa?

I was watching a lot of movies. Actually, I noticed around this time I started feeling extra connected to the female characters and was re-watching a lot of things I had seen before and relating in a completely new way.

It feels like there’s so much focus in the general zeitgeist on your gender, but less consideration as to how sexuality intersects with that. As someone who’s trans and sapphic myself, I’ve found that split in focus interesting considering how often your music deals with the people you love and how you’ve loved them. Could you speak on that experience?

Sure! I would consider myself pansexual; I find myself attracted to people of all genders. It’s been amazing to be able to date with my whole self out in the open. To be honest, I’m still figuring things out. I took a break from all the dating apps last year and just had a lot of Teddy time. More and more, I really enjoy being with myself.

How has your journey with your identity impacted how you approach art in general?

It’s opened up a lot of doors to parts of myself I had yet to explore and also changed the way I connect to the work. Just the hormones themselves seem to change that relationship in subtle ways. It hasn’t changed my process much though!

Are there any songs you’ve written with/for others that you find yourself coming back to? Which one(s)?

I always love going back to “Digital Life” by Empire of the Sun. That day was really special, working at Nick [Littlemore]’s in his garden studio. They had some huge analogue Chroma synth with a special controller that was a blast to play, and so many live midi synched machines in this cute little white building in this gorgeous back yard garden.

What have you loved most about this most recent period in your musical career?

I really enjoy the self exploration and being able to follow the process. I’ve been leaving myself a lot of space.

Is there any further context you hope listeners bring to this album?

I kind of imagined it as an album to be listened to at low volumes, while doing other things. 😉

Check out all of Teddy Geiger’s best tracks:

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