For our new digital cover series Takeover, we chose five of our favorite women who're making a significant impact on the music industry right now. Teddy Geiger, the songwriter behind some of Shawn Mendes' biggest hits, is relaunching her solo music career as Teddy<3. Today, she'll be taking over PAPER with guest edited pieces and appearing on our Instagram.
Related | Teddy Geiger Is Ready For the World
Below, Teddy Geiger asked us to feature Bunny Lowe, a songwriter whose written for major names in pop (Dua Lipa, Kesha, M?, among others) getting ready to release her own music:
How did you get your start in music?
I had a curiosity as a child that I was lucky enough to have nurtured by several influential figures in my youth. Namely my fourth grade teacher who first insisted I was writing poetry beyond my years, then a voice teacher who showed me how to put those words to music, and a piano teacher that knew I was too unruly to learn Chopin and taught me how to make my own work instead. I just started performing at 13 anywhere that would have me. I made a body of work that I uploaded to Myspace and started working as a professional songwriter a few short years after. I've been writing for other artists for a few years now, including writing songs for artists like Dua Lipa, Kesha and M?. It's kind of crazy to think that I'm allowed to do this everyday.
Who are your influences?
Leonard Cohen, Fiona Apple and Lana Del Rey. I like anyone that wields words in a very potent way.
What's your writing process like?
I have dual processes that completely contradict each other. When I'm writing for myself, I lock myself in a room for hours with a piano and notebooks I've filled up over the years and play until something falls into place. It's a very meditative practice. I like to approach creative writing like work. If you sit with yourself for long enough, something always comes. I'll spend weeks to months on songs when I'm writing alone.
It's very different from how you are conditioned to approach writing pop music. That's a very collaborative and vulnerable environment, you have to be brave enough to suck in front of other talented people for a few hours, make lots of creative compromises, and turn in something great by the end of the day. It's a rewarding challenge when all of those pieces do come together.
What are you currently working on?
This past year I've taken a lot of time to work on my own music. I feel ready to share it. I spent a lot of time pushing down everything that felt too personal, but with the way the world is now, life's just too short and fucked up to never say anything. I feel braver than I have, like I truly have nothing to lose, which is so exciting. I've been able to craft about 20 songs that I feel all stand head and shoulders above the rest of my past work. It's like learning to love again. I've been doing a lot of creative modeling for photo work too, collaborating always with my genius photographer friend Lissy Larricchia. She's incredible.
I'm always writing for other people, and that's been a real privilege. I'm always so impressed with whoever invites me into their world, because creating IS so personal, and I'm lucky to call a lot of the artists I've worked with friends. Right now I'm working with Bulow; she is so awesome I can't even describe. I like that she pushes herself. We could have a verse done for hours and she'll come back to it and be like "You know what, this doesn't feel right anymore, I think we can get something better." I like that in an artist.
Any upcoming projects, visions, dreams or goals you can share?
I want to headline Radio City Music Hall. Anything else is just extra.
Photography: Lissy Elle Laricchia