Today we’d like to introduce you to Teddy Atkins.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been passionately creative since my little legs could hold my weight and keep a steady rhythm on the dance floor. Dance and non-verbal movement was my first and most comfortable form of communication and expression growing up as I was challenged to “find my voice” early on as a timid and shy youth. My father used to produce various reggae and dancehall shows and events in the late 80s/early 90s in Washington D.C. where I grew up, which exposed me to infectious dancehall “riddims” and unique dances like “The Bogle”, and “Skankin”. Thus reggae and dancehall music constantly reverberated through my home growing up and became the foundation of everything I produced going forward.
In grade school, I was deeply engaged in playing trumpet and saxophone and school chorus to stay in-sync with the never-ending “riddims” playing in my head that kept my toe-tapping. College opened up new pathways to different art forms which led me to join a Caribbean dance team and expand to other art forms including competitive runway fashion and a rock band. My creative interests really started to transform at the end of college when I became lead emcee of hip-hop band Urban Cartel and first began to creating and performing semi-professionally. For six years, we were able to produce 2 EPs and an LP, win several regional Battle of the Bands competitions and land various opening gigs for major artists such as Big Sean, Sean Paul, Dead Prez and Nelly. This chapter helped me inch closer to finding the voice I always sought after as a wobbly-kneed kid.
After parting ways with the group, I decided to pivot from my day job as a tech consultant and firmly invest in finding my own voice as an independent creative by relocating to Los Angeles to learn the various pathways to maturing as a professional creative. Since moving to Los Angeles, I have discovered my voice is very much rooted in my Jamaican culture and have leaned into developing dance-friendly Caribbean and Afro style pop and R&B. My experience has also revealed that there is a large demographic of growing creatives in the same space of discovery and trying to find a pathway to “creative enlightenment”, which has sparked new interest in helping advise others to not make the missteps I have made.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has definitely not been the smoothest, but there have been some welcome challenges and obstacles that have made the experience exponentially rewarding. Finding or developing the “right” creative space to hone my skills and produce successfully has been a challenge to navigate in an area with such an abundance of options and resources. Also transitioning from a group act to a solo act has been extremely overwhelming now that a lot of the onus of all creative and business is solely my responsibility opposed to when roles and responsibilities were balanced across multiple members. Finally, being on the opposite side of the country from loved ones who you have history with and understand your strengths, weaknesses, and quirks has be personally taxing.
JAHBLESSTHEO – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I have founded Walk Good Creative, a creative house to support creative’s plan and develop roadmaps for success to meet their creative aspirations. With a blend of creative consulting as well as business advisory, the focus is to clearly identify and scope realistic goals and actionable for creatives to develop their project and prepare to scale and “go-to-market”. The goal is to shoulder the admin and planning aspects of projects to allow creatives to do what they do best, create. The first project managed and delivered by Walk Good Creative is “Thermo” an EP under my stage name JAHBLESSTHEO, which demonstrates the quality and value Walk Good can provide to other creatives that are in need of support.
I have professionally advised Fortune 100 clients across different industries from Consumer Products, Film, Television, Music and Aerospace in developing solution to address unique business needs. In my experience, a common challenge across these industries is insufficient and ill-advised pre-planning of creative ideas and stories or projects, which lead to costly issues down the road that de-rail project timelines or end in failures. I myself have run into the same challenges and hurdles and have learned from my missteps and have learned from other organizations how to avoid issues with investing time and brainpower upfront to ensure success down the road. I would like to help provide a framework to help ensure great ideas see the light of day and get their opportunity to shine.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success (for me) is two-fold. First is achieving self-love and fulfillment as a foundation, because I believe meaningful or enduring success can not be realized without knowing and loving oneself. Second, meaningful outreach and impact on family and community. Uplifting those with you and around you in your own way, whether it be providing resources or just making someone smile are the qualities of success I continuously strive to embody.
- Website: www.jahblesstheo.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @jahblesstheo
- Twitter: @jahblesstheo
Creative Director: Paradeux (@para.deux); Wardrobe/Styling: K+D Styles (@keneeanddshaunte); Photography: Monika Sed (@monikased)