I’m letting it all out, and I’m coming out with it. – Tedy
Haitian born “Tedy” now lives in Montreal and has until now lived a life of self-exile in his own world of anxiety, fear, and anger. But the anger was his own invention to protect himself. Now Tedy has broken the cycle, produced an EP “Boys Don’t Cry” and has decided to come out at that same time as the EP. Tedy is very intense and has so much to say in such a short time. The body of work “Boys Don’t Cry” is all about these themes and in the end being your true self. The images from the music conjure up visuals from the film “Black Panther.” It’s a wonderful set of songs, and Tedy is worth giving a listen to. Let’s sit down with Tedy and kick some ass. You don’t need to be afraid of anything (except spiders).
Jeremy Hinks: So, Tedy, congratulations on the new single “Boys Don’t Cry”, that is something to look forward to. What else do you have going on? I hear there are a lot of things happening. I’ve been watching a couple of your TikToks, I guess you are TicTock star, who is now moving over to releasing your music?
Tedy: I actually have been making music for some time before I started with the TicTok videos. I have only been doing TicToc for the last, I’d say 4 months. I had nothing better to do in quarantine, and people were watching them online. And that following grew, but music has been my main focus.
JH: Yeah, my girls watch TicToc, all the crazy ones about people doing their hair, nails, wild filters. So they will get a kick out of yours, with the hair, and glue on the face stunts. So, “Boys Don’t Cry” is coming out in the next few days, and I hear you have lots of excitement going on. So, fire away.
TD: The music video for “Boys Don’t Cry” is the most exciting thing to happen recently. That was very important for me because I am opening up to the world as much as I possibly can, and see what the reaction is. I am a very anxious person, and that forces me to be reclusive, and not open up to the world and to hope that the world will understand me and what I do. But people will not understand me or what I do until I just tell them, I can’t speak in metaphors to them and hope for the best. I need to open up and speak about my experiences and that maybe they will be able to relate to me through that process. Though there were some metaphors in the video, I tried to be as honest as possible. I mean sure, I came out in the video, and with some of the metaphors and imagery. I wanted to speak about the LGBTQ youth, and how people are hurting, because there are so many young people hurting, and made to suffer for just being who they are. I wanted to start that conversation and start the conversation about how people honestly feel emotions. I need to say, “It’s okay to feel, it’s okay to be whatever you are, whoever you are, that is perfectly fine if it’s really you.
JH: Yeah that was the very strong point in the video, everyone is sitting in this “Toxic Masculinity”, and it’s killing everyone is clear, so, what about the metaphors in it.
TD: The metaphors are, well, the spiders are my worst fear in my entire life. But that’s everything, if it’s alive and not human, most likely I’m afraid of it. (laughing) I am a coward in that sense, so I tried to face my fears head-on in reality. And they managed to get the real spiders as a physical version of my fears, and I pulled through, I don’t know HOW I did that. There was also the theme of the young boy trying to represent some experiences in my life. The thing that stood out to me the most is that when I was a young child in Haiti. It was the middle of the night, and this man was jumping from roof to roof, and people were chasing him with torches and machetes, and pitchforks, like in the movies. He was hiding. The morning after, I found out that the man was gay, and they were on a manhunt. So there were experiences like that in my life, that I decided to hide it all, “No one can know”. So for kids who see something happen to other people and they fear it happening to themselves, or they go and harm themselves. That was followed by the punchy thing, that represents the things that keep me from moving forward. In my mind, I am holding myself hostage, and I keep beating myself up and not allowing myself to be great. So the person is “me”, I’m the overseer, but, in the end, it’s the confrontation, it’s me saying, “I have been through all of these experiences, and at some point, I have to be strong enough to take these things and move forward, you’re not needed anymore.” So I will take it all into my own hands and see what the world has to offer. So that is the metaphors in the video explained.
JH: Yeah, there were all of these stories told at the same time. So I understand that this is you coming out, you are announcing to the world that you are gay, and that is who you are. And that these are the fears you have had around it all your life, and that was going to scar you. I mean, having seen those people chasing the guy around with pitchforks in Haiti. There is no way you could have seen that and not be terrified of being open about who you are. I could sense the anxiety, but I picked this up in the other pieces that you sway from one extreme to the other in the feeling of the songs, and in the messages. Example “Twisted” your “So fucked up” line, that’s pretty brutal, towards yourself, but then you say “I hope you choke on your own blood”, and “I hate myself”. So, it sounded almost like multiple personalities.
TD: That song actually for me was a revelation weirdly, I was speaking with my producer, I took an Uber and was thinking this song is so aggressive, but I had to think back, and I realized it went back to my childhood. It was like “I take, I take, I take”, “Hide”, “Don’t show yourself to the world”. “Don’t be angry”, “Do everything to blend in”, all of this to say to myself, stay in the back, and don’t let anyone notice you. The things that I felt like I needed to be on guard 24/7, and I remember realizing that I could not feel angry. I could not understand why I was unable to feel angry, and that bothered me so much, and I remember I listened to “Caesar”s album “Control”. There was a way she expressed herself in such a beautiful intense way, and you could feel the anger and the anxiety, and then suddenly, with all of these feelings, I became obsessed. It was my Gym song, it was everything. I asked myself, “How can she be so angry like that but make it sound so beautiful”? The very first song that I ever wrote in my life when I was angry happened when I was writing and recording “Twisted”. I was releasing all of this stress, all this anxiety, pent up anger, and it felt so good. I was in the back of the Uber when I felt that, then I realized that I was angry at myself, angry at myself for always just taking everything from everyone, never being able to say “NO”, never being able to stand up for myself, and never getting mad, and beating up myself when someone else was at fault. I was angry at other people. It wasn’t you that I was mad at. I was angry at myself for letting you ruin me like this and never doing anything about it it. It was me being able to say, “I’M MAD!!! AND THAT IS OK”. (laughing) But that part about choking on your own blood it is just me expressing those extreme emotions, I don’t want that for anyone else. That’s why in the end, I said, “I hate myself” to say that you should take these lyrics with a grain of salt, think of that as a metaphor.
JH: So ehm… What did the Uber driver think about all of this?
TD: (LAUGHING) I was texting, I wasn’t talking on the phone. I was saying “I KNOW WHAT I’M MAD AT, I’M MAD AT MYSELF” and I got a screenshot of myself saying “I KNOW THAT THIS SONG IS ABOUT NOW”, it’s so funny to me now.
JH: So you are excited about realizing you were just mad at yourself then. Sounds like quite a moment there, and you survived it and put it into a song. I felt a lot of the similar vibes from “Fight Club” when he said “I wanted to destroy something beautiful” after he gave this monologue about wanting to put a bullet through the forehead of every panda that wouldn’t copulate to save its own species. The idea there was that we are regulating our self-destruction. The best line there was “Self-improvement is just masturbation, self-destruction, THAT’S THE ANSWER”. It reminded me of that stuff from the book, more the book than the movie. Similar ideas there, thanks for explaining it. Maybe it will help someone else become in touch with their anger, and let it force them into making positive changes in their lives.
TD: Hey, I hope so too.
JH: You explained being gay growing up in Haiti, when did you realize that you were gay, and how did you manage to handle it all at that age, and moving forward ’til coming out… today…
TD: For me it was weird, I can’t speak for other people, but I knew since before kindergarten that I was different from the other kids. But there are always things you hear and see all the time and think I shouldn’t say that for other people to hear. So, after that I knew I couldn’t trust anyone, just to be safe. Do not trust the world, always stay in survival mode. Having seen that man chased with pitchforks, and understanding that about myself, that is where my trust issues began, and everything seemed like a threat. But, maybe in high school for a fraction of a second, I was angry about it, but that was going to make me think about it and be noticed or something. I don’t really think about myself, I like to keep busy and am always doing something, so I get into something that I can focus on, I got focused on it, be it watching Anime, or reading a book, I would get into it 24/7 to not have to think about myself. I had to escape the world into the movies or books, music, that was all I cared about. I was 15 years old in high school in Florida when I knew this was not going to change and that I was gay, so I decided then that I was not going to care about it. I couldn’t do anything about it, so after that, I never really cared if anyone knew, not that I told everyone, but if someone asked, I would tell them “Yes, I am gay”. What was important to me was that I was going to be me at all times, and I was never going to pretend to be straight for anyone. Never get a fake beard girlfriend, I was going to focus on what made me happy, and that was being creative and diving into my creativity. I look back and sort of regret some of that because I never took the time to be “Me” for so long. I had to focus on so many other things for so long that now I often think that maybe I don’t know “Me”, and how can I be 27 and not know who I am, because I had always focused on other things and people. I decided that I am going to take this “Boys Don’t Cry” sadness and release it into the world. Also through writing “Boy’s Don’t Cry” made me think of going back to that child and seeing that these things made me who I am today. I was in the studio working on this, losing my mind, and saying “I don’t care, I am not going to be looking at myself 5-10 years from now regretting that I did not open up to the world.” So there is a lot on my mind, and emotions going everywhere, still, the ideas are cohesive things coming together.
JH: So that explains that song “Stuck” but, lemme rephrase the question ’cause you answered part of it. I felt like that song was an echo chamber, it gave me this visual, based on how it sounded even, that I was standing on a platform somewhere, you are on the other side of a chasm, and I can hear you. However, the sound and the music is coming to me, but the point was that you were supposed to sound that distant. Did I miss anything in the song “Stuck” based on what you said? You are giving me plenty to think of and work with and think and see about you, but you are not coming to us.
TD: Yes, the trust issues are real, and I try to open up, it’s important as an artist not to be a total mystery. But the idea that whatever is holding you back, like “You don’t need to love yourself 100%, or to be the best version of you right now”, but still go for what’s important to you. I hope that came through in this song.
JH: Well, I can go back and forth between “Stuck” and “War”.
TD: They are follow-ups to each other actually.
JH: Wow, so I did get that, there you are in your conflicts, in the micro then the macro level, to higher levels. To say “Take this seriously”! It also had this awesome “drumscape” to it, the drums were powerful, and the visuals it gave me was going across this wide space of land, lead by the drums, like they were tour guide across this vast expanse of shit. So, talk about “WAR”.
TD: War was that you are indeed stuck, and you are in this cycle of not being able to be angry, and find people to hurt me over and over again, and I will make excuses for people as to why I am not being treated like a normal person. It was about me saying, okay, you are at war with yourself, and break the cycle. Yes, the drums were meant to feel powerful in the song to feel like an actual battlefield, I wanted it to feel intense for any sort of struggle and to break the cycle.
JH: So, the song “Hopeless”, your titles are not happy, but they all have a lesson to learn.
TD: I cried when I was putting this all together, and I had to put “Hopeless” at the end of it because life isn’t like the movies, there is not always a happy ending. That song is about that, things get worse, things get shitty, hopeless, it’s part of existing, and I just need to accept that. It’s not the only thing, but I wanted to let the world hear or feel the despair that had built up in me in all this time. It was a way of releasing that and hoping someone would get that. If they listen to the body of work they would feel like they have seen part of my life and released some pain along with it.
JH: Well, I was hoping that your life does get better by the time I got to the end of it. I hope that you can be successful? Do you see your life getting better now that you can open up? Come out? Do you see yourself breaking out of those patterns?
TD: These songs were written two years ago, that Tedy does not exist anymore, or at least not like I was then. I feel like the way I handle these things differently. I am much better than I was back then, this is the new improved Tedy.
JH: Well, what about playing live? I can imagine that would be intense.
TD: I did my very first show before COVID, in March, and it was THE BEST experience in my life. The crowd were so loving and accepting, I released my insecurities of performing, I was going to do more of this, then COVID came in and said hello.
JH: My last question, as the guy putting this EP out and coming out at the same time. What would your message be to the young kid who is in the closet and afraid, in a vulnerable state?
TD: Be smart, be in a safe environment, but some people will love you for you, there are people will hate you, that’s alright, you don’t need to change to make anyone else like that happy. And that the things that scare you the most are probably holding back the best things for you. When you get over the hurdle of feeling that you can be and exist, its the best thing ever. Don’t be afraid of anything.
JH: Except for spiders?
TD: DAH SPIDERS, they scare the hell out of me.
JH: WOW, TEDY, thank you so much, congratulations and good luck.