Los Angeles is the land of a thousand dreams. One of those dreams came true in March when Teddy Grossman released his debut solo album, “Soon Come.” Now, he is going on his first national tour.
He plays the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Sept. 20, with The War & Treaty.
Grossman, originally from Philadelphia, moved to the Eagle Rock area four years ago to make a career out of music.
“I lived in New York for four years where music was definitely much more on the back burner, and all of a sudden I looked up; I was approaching 30 and not happy,” Grossman said.
As a kid, music played a significant role in his home and inspired his future endeavors.
“From a very young age, it always felt like the thing I wanted to do,” Grossman said.
His parents influenced his tastes.
“I was in elementary school, and I was going to do a book report, and I was deciding between Magic Johnson, John Lennon or Stevie Wonder,” Grossman said.
“Mind you, my parents were 18 years old in 1970, living in New York, so they’ve put me onto a lot of the music that I love today. I think that was instilled in our house from a very early age.”
When he had the change to relocate from New York to Los Angeles, leaving the corporate world behind, he used the stops in his life as steppingstones for his lyrics.
“The songs on this album are rooted in that time in New York, where I was realizing that things were out of balance. Within a year or so (after moving to Los Angeles), I started meeting my collaborators and began making this album,” he said.
Grossman was once part of a band when he lived in Chicago. He knew there was something more for him in music, and when he had this chance, he took full advantage of it.
“My solo endeavor was going to be a more holistic offering artistically,” Grossman said.
“There were seven years in between the last thing that I put out as part of a band and then this album. There were a lot of days when I just was unsure that I was ever going to actually make that leap or get to this point. There’s an enormous sense of just pride and joy in this album.”
Two of his favorite songs from this album are taken from times incredibly important to him. One of them is the song “Crowned,” which he wrote to honor the late Bill Withers. The two spent time together before he died in March 2020.
“I had an opportunity to meet Bill and spend time at his house on a couple of occasions. Bill would just sit there and tell us stories for hours. It was just the most surreal experience from a guy whose music has meant so much to me,” Grossman said.
“I started writing ‘Crowned’ just about those times as it was happening, but Bill passed away during, so it was just a very disorienting time, and I finished writing the song in his honor.”
Grossman is also pleased with his first single, “What I Owe,” about when his yearning to find stability in LA.
“I wrote ‘What I Owe’ once I had finally found my footing in Los Angeles, and contributing to that was recording the album finally,” Grossman said.
“After agonizing over this for five years, writing it in morning pages every day, ‘Am I ever going to do this?’ and then finally the song fell out of me, out of this gratitude for the moment and being here, but also this sense of dues to be paid.”
When “Soon Come” was released in March, Grossman was prepared for any outcome. He didn’t expect to open for Mavis Staples at Union Chapel in London for two nights.
Besides the War & Treaty tour, he’s planning smaller dates near the end of the year in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York. Grossman is hoping to release a few other songs that he has been working on between the shows and next year.
“I have a few more songs that I’m going to be putting out that were some songs that were initially recorded during the same time that ‘Soon Come’ was made,” Grossman said. “However, beyond that, I’m very much just in song collecting mode.”
The War & Treaty w/Teddy Grossman
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20
WHERE: Thousand Oaks Bank of America Performing Arts Center, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks
COST: Tickets start at $36