By Nicholas Jason Lopez
There’s Dayquil, there’s Nyquil and then there’s Teyquil.
They all have the same goal – to make you feel better. It’s safe to say this Philadelphia born and raised singer, songwriter, producer, writer, actor and performer accomplishes all that and more.
Inspired by the likes of David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Troye Sivan and Sasha Sloan, Teyquil’s music takes on a synth-friendly 80’s vibe while it also upkeeps modern indie-pop production. It’s what would happen if Tommy Vercetti ever met Trevor Phillips.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with Teyquil about his songwriting process, experiences growing up and much more, which you can check out below.
Music Bugle – Would you say music has always been your main mode of expression?
Teyquil – Music is my main mode of expression. In fact, music is my spirit animal, my comforter, my DNA, actually. It plays a vital role in my life and always has. When words fall short and I struggle to find ways to articulate what I’m feeling, music arrives to the rescue in my times of need. It has been the only language I fluently use without a second thought. It’s like riding a bike with no hands or shooting a hoop in a basket with your eyes closed. You eventually get used to this being a part of your everyday life, ya know?!
Music Bugle – We have found that all artists are different, what does the songwriting process look like for you?
Teyquil – Songwriting is fun for me. It’s the perfect time to be creative and pull out all stops when it comes to telling stories through music. I am a sucker for metaphorical approach and when opportunity knocks to exercise that muscle, I jump like a rabbit at the chance to explore those tools and possibilities. It’s probably one of the biggest highlights of my career. (Laughs) So, for me, I think of where I am personally in my life and if others in the world may have experienced anything similar. I start from there first. Then, I give myself a minute to create a word salad where I write down a whole batch of words that represents the theme or topic I want to sing about. Once that’s done, I regurgitate those same words and I pick and choose what best fits my interest as far as building a song structure around them. That’s pretty much my process. (Laughs)
Music Bugle – Let’s go back a little. How has your past, your family or upbringing or education, affected the music you’re making today?
Teyquil – I am a Philadelphia native born and raised and it’s pretty rad being from a city with such a rich history in the arts, culture and music scene out here. Growing up in Philadelphia had its moments and I’ve experienced some hardships in my youth. Living in a neighborhood where poverty existed was rough and the struggle to stay warm, provide for your family, keep a job and stay healthy was the only thing people thought about. My parents had no room to do anything else but work and take care of me and my siblings. My mom worked for the government for years as my dad worked for the city. I saw the exhaustion, the fear, the doubts, the shortage of funds, etc., but I also saw the love, protection, encouragement and the will to persevere with persistence as well. Though they couldn’t give me everything, they gave me the one thing that mattered most and that was their unconditional love. They’re no longer with me, but I hold them dear to my heart and will forever keep that willingness to push through, no matter the odds. I walk in their honor and carry their names with pride wherever I go. The strength they possessed and what I witnessed when they were here is fascinating and I’m grateful to have had them as my parents. Today, I am better for all the ups and downs in my life because it made me stronger. I’ve graduated from college, my music is getting recognized, God allows me to wake up every morning, etc.. Life is unbalanced, so therefore, my music expresses that. The insecurities, the doubts, the risk of failure all play into it, but there’s also some really kickass moments in life too! These intricate little things make up my artistry that feeds me what I need to create the music I make.
Music Bugle – What do you want people to take away from your music?
Teyquil – I want people to take away something that connects them in regards to my music. I want them to laugh and cry with me. I want my listeners to feel less alone and know there’s someone out there that understands. That’s what I would like for them to take away.
Music Bugle – Which artists would you say inspire you the most?
Teyquil – Wow! I’ve been waiting for a question like this. Artists that inspire me would be The Cure, Bowie, Hendrix, Trent Reznor, The Smiths, Ramones, James Blake, Robyn, Sasha Sloan, Michael Jackson and Timbaland, to name a few. I have so many that I’m inspired by.
Music Bugle – If you had to pick any song to be the soundtrack of your life, what would it be?
Teyquil – The song would be “Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure!