It was October of last year when former solo artist-turned-songwriter and producer Teddy Geiger came out as transgender. After years of confusion and anxiety, Geiger revealed her biggest secret to Instagram followers and embarked on the road to a happier future being her true self.
Now, nine months later, Geiger opened up to the New York Times about life after transitioning, working with some of today’s biggest pop artists (Shawn Mendes, Christina Aguilera), and being a high-powered transgender figure in the Hollywood scene.
Here are five things that we learned:
Before coming out, she hadn’t even dscussed her transition with her closest friends.
Geiger spent most of October in an intimate house in Malibu with her musical colleagues, including Shawn Mendes. Deep into recording Mendes' self-titled album, Geiger admitted, “We hadn’t talked about it [the transition], but I was dressing in all women’s clothing and wearing makeup.” As she sat on a couch in the studio, she was asked by a fan on Instagram about her changing appearance. Geiger wrote a response to fans. Addressing the elephant in the room, Geiger showed the drafted post to the whole recording team, asking, “Should I post this?” Everyone encouraged her to go for it.
Her songwriting/producing skills are in high demand.
Following her continued success with Mendes, Geiger is finding her schedule booking up with studio sessions. She has recently been in the studio with the Dixie Chicks, as well as rising artists King Princess, Oli O’Brien and Lauv. She also worked with Christina Aguilera on her new album Liberation, featuring the ballad “Unless It’s With You” and title track “Liberation,” co-written by Geiger.
She's making a return to the spotlight.
While making music for other artists is a passion, Geiger also still has aspirations to make music for herself. Appearing in the spotlight again, this time for her own work, newly named “Teddy <3” released the solo song “I Was in a Cult,” featuring raw rock vocals about “acting from a place of freedom.” The multi-talented musician says that she feels more open, because she is “willing to talk about everything now,” which in turn makes others more open with her.
Geiger and close friend Shawn Mendes are very similar.
As a young, aspiring entertainer, Mendes looked up to Geiger in many ways. “She was the person I was trying to sing like,” Mendes admitted, adding, “I met someone who really acts like me in the studio, who really sings like me, who gets excited like me. It was a serious, serious connection — deeper than a songwriter — and from then on, I decided she has to be a part of everything I do.”
Geiger felt the same way about Mendes and felt for him during his rise to fame, as his following and pressure mounted simultaneously. “Everyone that’s around you is working for you, and you feel responsible for them,” Geiger related, saying, “but also you’re a child.”
Before her transition, fame was a difficult and lonely platform for Geiger.
Geiger’s late teen years were a whirlwind of appearances and a focus on success rather than happiness. Between partaking in a VH1 competition show, a record deal, opening for Hillary Duff on tour, appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and covering Seventeen magazine, you would think Geiger would have been on cloud nine. But having an overly ambitious business team ended up running Geiger dry, who was uncomfortable with becoming a sex symbol.
“I was going through adolescence and having sex for the first time, but it was in this really weird context,” Geiger said, admitting, “I didn’t have a real support group.” Being fit into the mold of a star was difficult, as Geiger said, “The only roles I had done were musician roles, and then they were sending me out for the lead in Spider-Man or like, the military boy with a crew cut.” Geiger gestured to her thin body type: “Um, it’s not going to work.”