True to the Core: TeawhYB

Up and Coming artist TeawhYB is here to show the world that being yourself is the best move one can make

TeawhYB might have played basketball in high school, but he certainly has plenty of experience running and leaping over hurdles throughout the course of his life within the race we all run. He has seen the best and the worst of people through his experiences, and through his music he tries to inspire people to be themselves and love the world around them. Through re-building himself as himself, TeawhYB is only going to continue to grow with his beautiful voice and soul-searching lyrics.

Although TeawhYB certainly sounds like he would have crushed solo’s in choir recitals as a kid, he didn’t begin singing until much later in life. Instead, TeawhYB stayed behind the scenes as part of the whole, participating in his school’s band both as a trumpet and percussionist. When he did start working on his vocals it wasn’t through a professional teacher, TeawhYB started messing around using auto-tune and began understanding how to properly string notes together to unlock his full potential. While the vocal ability of TeawhYB might have been on mute during his childhood, his creative writing ability certainly was not. Starting in middle school TeawhYB would write poetry, inspired by Tupac’s poem book, The Rose That Grew From Concrete, a practice that evolved into freestyling at parties in high school with the homies. Going more in depth, TeawhYB said, “It started just kicking it with the homies, downloading beats and prepping up verses driving around town”, before pulling up to the parties and showing off the work they were putting in. TeawhYB’s high school experience wasn’t all fun and freestyling though, specifically when he was outed and consequently, as to be expected in a small Wisconsin town, saw groups of friends drop away and heard hateful messages left on his phone. Understandably, the rest of the year was spent in a state of distrust and anxiety wondering who around him was talking behind his back. The world certainly has changed from the time that TeawhYB was forced out fourteen years ago until now, with acceptance and understanding climbing at a steady pace. Although the experience was certainly traumatic, TeawhYB doesn’t allow it define him and has seen even the small towns come a long way, “I hang out with a younger group of friends in Eau-Claire and they have no problem with speaking up and holding people accountable”. As he has grown older and started releasing music, TeawhYB has even received phone calls from some of those same people who left voicemails over a decade ago apologizing for their actions.

It wasn’t until he reached the University of Wisconsin – Eau-Claire that TeawhYB turned on the record button while making music. TeawhYB’s first foray into music was somewhat short-lived, after starting to record, he decided to take a break when it seemingly was heading nowhere to head across the country to California. Part of the TeawhYB’s drive to head out of town was the desire to get more in touch with his own identity and who he truly was as a person. When he decided to put on the headphones again and press play on the instrumental, TeawhYB put every part of himself into the tracks, leaving nothing out. There is nothing gimmicky about it though, as listening to TeawhYB speak about romance and love it is non-binary and focused on inclusivity by expressing emotions which are shared by the world as a whole. TeawhYB proudly identifies as gay and is married as well, but in wanting to show others that they can do whatever they want regardless of their identity his commitment to be non-binary and connect with anyone allow for become much deeper expression of love in his music. For TeawhYB, his ability to overcome obstacles in his path has translated to him being unafraid to push himself outside of his comfort box while creating new music. If TeawhYB had to pick a category in which to place his music, he would go with alternative hip-hop. While he doesn’t call himself a rapper, which makes sense given the pop sensibilities he displays on a regular basis, TeawhYB has always been deeply influenced by hip-hop and it can certainly be heard in the tight lyrics he strings together.

            Living in Wisconsin allows TeawhYB to really seclude himself and focus on laying the foundations for growing his career. When he released his last album, he put up a billboard in his city, something that is definitely unheard of in Wisconsin, especially for a hip-pop artist in a smaller town. By creating a following in his community, TeawhYB has positioned himself to be featured on several local news stations doing interviews and promoting not only his own music but also of those around the state. While he knows that building up a following can be hard in a place where he differs from the norm entirely, it doesn’t faze TeawhYB at all. It also focuses him when he is feeling trapped, as there is a whole world out there to connect with and learn from, bringing the experiences and knowledge he gains back with him to enlighten those who are less inclined to expand their worldviews without being forced too. Hard conversations with those closest to us are often the easiest to avoid, but a friend who is willing to be honest are those to keep around. In fact, TeawhYB’s name is derived from such situations, as it stands for Through Every Action Who Has Your Back. His name also has roots stretching back to his time in high school when TeawhYB was outed and the true friends he had became clear through the murkiness of the fake friends around him who turned their back. Although he still has to deal with discrimination due to his sexuality, TeawhYB has also found a fantastic community of fellow LGBTQ artists, content creators and curators who have his back no matter what, something that gives him the confidence to keep going when times get tough.

            2020 has seen TeawhYB making moves across the board, as the quarantine has given him a lot of time to sit in his house and think, outside of taking his goldendoodle for walks to clear his mind. He has been working on creating successful business partnerships for marketing campaigns when he drops his next album. In June, TeawhYB dropped an EP, entitled What We Were, which was a fantastic sampling of songs that saw TeawhYB speaking on missing former lovers and the pains of such memories, but also the beauty of having those memories in the first place. After having to restart as an artist, TeawhYB has seen a lot of success, having performed at numerous UW schools, Freakfest and Cheesefest to name a few, enjoying a great reception anytime he stepped onto the stage. TeawhYB is doing his best to get a tour lined up in 2021 when the world re-opens and live shows become a real possibility again. He is also hoping to enjoy the same type of success when he releases his next full length album which is supposed to be coming out in 2021, with the plan being to get the pre-order out before the end of the year. TeawhYB is himself through and through, and it shows through his music as he waxes over everything he feels in a way that invites everyone to sit back and think and just feel. Don’t miss out on it when it does by following TeawhYB on all his social medias, and make sure to continue to show support and love to those closest around as TeawhYB would do.

Jake Zinda

23 years old, from Wisconsin Hip-Hop Journalist @CMAG N.S.C.T.D.

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