Talking with Tebey
Tebey Ottoh (professionally known as Tebey) is a singer-songwriter who is proud of his Peterborough, Ontario roots. When asked, “If someone were just discovering your work for the first time today, what would you want them to know about you?” Tebey replied:
“The first thing I’d want them to know is where I’m from. I’ve lived in the U.S. for awhile now, but I’m a proud Canadian through and through. Second thing, don’t come to expect a certain sound from me. I am constantly pushing myself to experiment with sounds and melodies from outside the country genre. It keeps the music fresh.”
Today (June 24) marks the annual Tebey Golf Classic, which supports a variety of causes close to Tebey’s heart: “I’ve always been a huge supporter of mental health awareness.I don’t think my fans realize how bad the depression has been for me at various times in my life. So, about five years ago I started an annual golf tournament in my hometown that benefits the Greater Peterborough Health Services Foundation and a shelter in downtown Peterborough for battered women. It makes me feel so good that I can help out the community that I’m from.”
By the age of 12 or 13, Tebey said that he knew he was going to be a part of the music industry “at some capacity”. He has written for many other artists including One Direction, Justin Moore and Cher. However, he has always focused more on the songwriting itself rather than where a song might end up. “I try not to go into a songwriting session with a specific target in mind. I just want to come out with a great song, because a great song always finds the right home.” He explained.
Tebey credited Charley Pride as one of his greatest musical influences. When Charley passed away in 2020, Tebey posted a tribute to him on his Instagram page. He also shared similar thoughts for this interview: “Charley is a true pioneer. When he rose to fame back in the ‘70s, he literally had to bust down the door of Nashville’s gatekeepers. Because of him, I’ve been able to have a great career singing country music. So I am incredibly grateful.” He added that he would ask anyone wishing to follow in their footsteps, “‘How bad do you want it?’ Because this business is tough! ....If you’re not 100% in, you might as well not be in at all.”
Still celebrating the success of “The Good Ones” featuring Marie Mai, Tebey revealed not only how the song came together, but that it might also contain some of his favourite lyrics.
“The song wasn’t originally written as a duet. Then one day after we had already recorded it, my producer, Danick Dupelle (of Emerson Drive) brought up the idea of making it a duet, which I loved! I wanted to work with someone outside of the country genre, because it would be different and unexpected. I have a mutual friend with her manager, so we put the ball in motion and it ended up being a hit for both of us…. I’ve always really loved the second half of the first verse in ‘The Good Ones’:
‘I’d take the bet, that Sting cassette’s
Still stuck in your tape deck but you refuse to fix it, ‘cause you’d rather listen
To the hum of the road and the wind blowing by
That’s still who you are when you cross my mind’”
Finally, Tebey mentioned that he is looking forward to touring again soon. “I really miss seeing the fans, and being on a tour bus, riding down the road from city to city.”
For more information, please visit www.tebeyofficial.com .
Photo courtesy of Tebey.
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