For hip-hop heads all around the world, Tedy Andreas does not disappoint. Hailing from Houston but equipped with an East Coast swag, 24-year-old gained a buzz with his standout single “Mercedes” in 2016. Since then, he’s been locked in the lab perfecting his rhymes and sharpening his pen — literally. Read more…
Growing up on the OGs such as Nas, Jay Z, Prodigy, and 50 Cent, Tedy does more than just create music, he studies them. Setting himself apart from the ever-changing genre of what rap has become, the Mad Illusions MC keeps a tunnel vision on not only his own sound, but the sounds that got him through the struggles of everyday life.
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
People tell me all the time it’s boom bap. Real hip-hop a lot of kids say, but I don’t really categorize myself. I definitely can hear that with the lyricism and all that, but to keep it simple, I’m a rapper.
When did you start rapping?
I’ve been rapping since 14 or 15. I was writing maybe even earlier, but I didn’t record my first song until I was 16. I’ve been at it for a minute, that’s how I got so nice. [laughs] It just takes time. Some people just have to take their time.
You’re from Houston but your family’s from New York.
I was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, which is a very nice area. My pops was a lawyer. His family were Greek immigrants, so they moved to the East Coast. I lived out there until I was 6, then we went to Houston. My pops had a job out there, he passed away a year after that. He had cancer.
You have such a thick NY accent!
Everyone says that shit. I get that all the time and I don’t even know. It’s always been like that. I grew up in Houston, that’s my city. But I guess I kept some of the slang, etc. My OGs are all in New York, I got family out there. I love it out there, it’s like a second home. I did move to New York a year and a half back, and then I came back out here again because I liked it out here a lot.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s important. It’s a lot of networking. Some good energy, good vibes. Everybody crosses LA. Everybody from wherever, if you’re somebody, comes out here eventually. I gotta get better at networking, I’m not really utilizing it the best. [chuckles]
Favorite part of the city?
The weather, the vibes, having a car. Not having to worry about getting rained on all the time. Convertible top every day!
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
2015, I put out my first project, Mad Illusions. That started getting a buzz. I got a million views on one song, “Mercedes.” I remember when it had 100K and thinking that was crazy. But I knew it was going to work out because I had been doing it for so long. I always wanted to do it. When I realized it was happening, it was crazy.
How has your sound evolved ever since?
I’m sticking to my roots and still doing the same thing for the most part. Definitely have been experimenting more with different sounds. I’ve been doing more trapped out stuff sometimes, just for fun. It’s fun doing those records because a lot of times, the lyrical stuff is not fun. Stressing over the bars like “yo, this is not hard enough.” You know? Sonically, I’ve been growing, but I like to keep the fans happy too. They like that sound.
What was the inspiration behind keeping your name?
It’s not my real name but it’s similar. Andreadaki is my last name and Theodore in my first name, but I went by Tedy my whole life. It’s just shortened.
Did you go to school and college and all that?
Nah, I went to high school. [laughs] But I didn’t go to college. I was rapping and working a lot. I had a lot of jobs, like 9 jobs. My first job was a grocery store. One summer, I cleaned boats. My last job was 24 Hour Fitness, I was there for 2 years. I got another grocery job, got fired from that shit. I was wildin’, selling dime bags in the parking lot. [laughs] This was back in Houston, I was 15.
You just released your single “Dynasties.” Talk about your mindstate in creating this one.
I made that a few months ago. I had just gone on a hike with my girl and my mind was super clear. I realized that I need to do life stuff more. I heard that beat, and it was flowing. I wrote that whole song in an hour. The way I came in, the first 2 bars just set the whole thing off.
You have a line that says “still paying mama’s bills.” What does your mom think?
She supports me. She lives with my sister in Houston. She’s been supporting me since I was a kid. She was like a father figure too. She went through a lot of stuff, was locked up for a long time. She doesn’t really like when I speak about her too much, so I’ve toned it down. I used to talk about her a lot in my songs. She’s definitely supportive, for sure.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Just inspiration. Anybody can do it. If you got the heart, go for it. I had my back against the wall, I was poor. I didn’t have food a lot of times. If I can get any traction, then anybody can. If you really got heart, it’ll take you a long way. Hopefully they hear the hunger in it.
What is your take on the music industry?
It’s different than it was when I was a kid. It’s a lot of phony shit. A lot of click bait and all that. It’s just a business. I think the artists and creatives are more important the actual business.
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I want to go Platinum one day, with an album, not just a single. Sell out Madison Square Garden, Staples Center, all the arenas. That’s what I want to do for real.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Usually, I try get up early. Have some time to just chill and collect myself. I try to lock in the studio most of the day. I like to work at night too, but I’m not a nighttime guy. I record my own stuff.
You got a studio at the crib?
Yup, I just write it and record it there. That’s what I try to do every day, is work. But sometimes, the ideas aren’t flowing like that. You gotta get out and do stuff, so I kick it with my shawty or something. It’s simple, real simple life.
3 things you need in the studio?
Red Bull, water, and mad paper.
You write your lyrics down? That makes me happy.
Yeah, I don’t do it in the phone. When I started, I didn’t have a phone. It’s a habit. I definitely got verses on the phone, but I like to write. A lot of times if I’m not feelin’ the verse and I start overthinking, I just crumble it up. So I need mad paper.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I used to play sports, but I quit when I was 16. I was getting into stupid shit. I was good at baseball. I like the Yankees, but I’m an Astros fan too.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
A month ago, I was driving out here and saw this white SL 500. “Mercedes” is about my Benz, an SL500 from ‘98. it looked exactly like mine but it was white. I’m getting to a red light, I was right next to Beverly Center. It looked beautiful, super clean. I see this kid and his girlfriend waving at me. The cars aren’t very common so when people see the same car, we always give a little salute, a wave, a thumbs up. I thought it was just that. I was like “yeah cool!” But they wouldn’t stop waving at me so I’m like “I get it, cool. Salute.”
The light turns green and all of a sudden, they’re on my ass. It’s getting kind of weird, I’m like “what’s going on with this dude?” He keeps signaling me to roll the window down because I had the top up. I’m like “alright, I’ll roll it down.” He pulled up next to me and he’s listening to my music. It was super dope. He was like “holy shit, Tedy Andreas!” He was hyped. He told me I was the reason he bought that car. Mercedes has to sponsor me, I’m making them money.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
It depends what time frame you’re asking me because right now, my most played is the Future album. But that’s not the most played artist. I like Future but… probably Hov. I listen to Jay Z every day.
What advice do you have for an aspiring Tedy Andreas?
It’s so simple, but you just gotta be yourself. I can’t harp on it enough. Don’t fake it, just be you.