Wednesday, April 3 | 8:00PMHard Rock Event Center
ABOUT TEDDY SWIMS
Healing comes in many forms; it takes time, and practice. It rewards effort, and it leaves room for stumbles and failures along its path. The best part about it is also its most frightening proposition: there’s no one way to heal.
Singer-songwriter Teddy Swims (born Jaten Dimsdale) found himself squarely at the center of a path towards self-forgiveness and processing past traumas when he started putting pen to paper for his debut studio album, I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy (Part 1). Though he’s released music and toured the world since making his debut in 2019, the 31-year-old Georgia-born entertainer has spent much of the last four years writing his way towards an album that would tell this story – his story – to the people who were ready to receive it.
An emotionally walloping and deeply resonant body of work, I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy (Part 1), mirrors Teddy’s own journey of self-discovery. The album dives headfirst into healing without any floatation devices. It’s a heart-on-your-sleeve, swords-down, cards-on-the-table body of work brimming with soul, sorrow, and solace in knowing that the only way past is through.
I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy, as Teddy puts it, is a tongue-in-cheek title, an indictment of the way he was raised: “I never learned how to cope, let alone process some of the stuff life throws at you. I bite my nails. I drink. I know what’s wrong with me. This album shows me working that out in real-time as I literally try everything except what I know I probably need the most.”
In the same breath, though, the ten-song Part One finds Teddy working out some very big, very real issues through his music, treating sessions with co-writers and producers like therapy sessions of their own – “safe spaces,” he says, “places with people I could trust to help me tackle everything from heartbreak to relying on crutches like drinking to numb the pain. I got to channel everything right into this album.”
In addition to longtime creative partners like Julian Bunetta, Stuart Crichton, John Ryan, and Mikky Ekko, Teddy surrounded himself with his band members like Jesse Hampton – friends he’s known since middle school – to help push him to honesty and authenticity in his lyrics. “Nobody knows you like your real rock and your foundation that you've had your whole life,” he says with a grin. “They really fight for me too. If I'm circling the same idea over and over again, those guys can always be like, ‘Oh, bro, you can do better than that.’ I needed that on this album, and it really made the work so much stronger.”
What blossomed from those sessions is a tightly structured record unafraid to explore Teddy’s peaks and valleys. Though he approached each session open to what would come, Teddy says he was most surprised by how, this time around, the lyrics flowed out of him when he’d step up to the microphone. “I think that those are the things your heart needs to say, or your subconscious is trying to tell you that you're not fully tapped into,” he says. “There’s been a lot of therapy through that. There were times that I found out that I didn't even know I was feeling this way.”
Loss and acceptance; connection and severance; love’s burning flame and dying embers: they’re all themes that recur throughout I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy (Part One)’s textured terrain. Album opener “Some Things I’ll Never Know” sets the tone, with Teddy gradually approaching a place of accepting the things he can’t control, after having “turned over every stone imaginable” before finally finding the courage to let a relationship go.
“I’m the kind of person that wants to know I’ve turned over every stone and done absolutely everything I possibly could to keep someone in my life. But, sometimes you can’t control what people do or know why people do the things they do and that realization is what my latest single, “Some Things I’ll Never Know” is about. Some relationships end without any closure and leave you with nothing but questions.”
His first single, “Lose Control” – his debut entry on the Billboard Hot 100 chart – chronicles a relationship losing its substance due to substances, “the boat leaving the dock without both of us on it, just watching it leave from the shore,” Teddy says. “I needed to write about the moment we lost our shot in order to help myself make sense of it all these years later.”
Later, “Last Communion,” written by Teddy’s close friend Andrew Jackson, felt “like a song that came down from the sky for me,” he says. With lyrics about religious trauma that mirror the turmoil of a toxic relationship, Teddy notes, “the song is about looking for healing in all the wrong places, and finally finding the courage to look the truth in the eye.”
“The Door” finds Teddy at his most self-actualized, finding the courage to walk out on an abusive partner who’d played a part in driving his friends and family out of his life. “That song is about saving my own life,” he says. “It was so hard to convince myself of that in the moment, but that’s when my priorities shifted from her to me, to saving myself, to loving myself again. ‘The Door’ is about believing that you’re always going to be ok if you trust in yourself.”
The healing he’s most excited for fans to see him achieve? The eternal artistic dilemma that comes hand-in-hand with heartbreak and personal upheaval paying the bills, something Teddy says he’s struggled to make peace with – until now. “For so long, I worried about giving too much of myself in my music,” he says. “I tend to really internalize stuff, and I know I’m guilty about writing about scenarios from 150 different angles and perspectives to help me make sense of it – it’s like a little pet I feed and feed until it gets bigger and bigger. But now I’m watching people connect with the messages and stories and realizing not only are the songs helping me, but they’re also helping them too. It feels like all that work on the back end, all that internalizing, is finally making a difference.”