Los Angeles, California-based indie artist TODDZERO writes songs that explore expansive arrangements, soaring radio-friendly hooks, eclectic sonic textures and storytelling themes of hope, love, loss and redemption. The critcally acclaimed singer has released two albums “Kid Heart” (2013) and “1234567 EP” (2012), has played at SXSW 2014 and Sunset Sessions and has songs used by KTLA Los Angeles and ABC Family.
TODDZERO crafts kaleidoscopic sounds with sonic textures that are equal parts inclusive and infectious. The Los Angeles-based artist formerly known as ToddO has garnered success in the blogosphere and from the critics: Anthony Fantano, host of NPR’s The Needle Drop podcast hailed TODDZERO as “a charismatic voice” and Under the Radar called the musician “a rare gem.”
Like a lot of kids, TODDZERO became obsessed with music at a young age. The first song the Yorba Linda, California native remembers listening to and loving was ‘Like a Rhinestone Cowboy’ by Glen Campbell. “Something about the lyrics and the melody made me want to sing along,” he says. He took a few guitar lessons and played, “in a million bands which then played at a million small venues” before putting music on the back burner in order to build a successful career in business. “There was a several-year stretch there where I didn’t even touch an instrument or sing in the shower,” he says.
All that changed in 2010. The artist began collaborating with a friend who owned recording equipment. “It was fun at first, but then the bug bit me,” TODDZERO says. “What started out as merely a hobby turned into a full-blown calling.” Immersing himself in the recording process, he bought his own gear and learned how to self-engineer a record.
In May of 2012 TODDZERO released the “1234567″ EP. He says the process of releasing his first batch of songs was equal parts exhilarating and intimidating. He remembers wondering, “Amidst the sea of music out there who would care that yet another dreamer was writing songs?”
A lot of people, it turns out. “1234567″ quickly appeared on NoiseTrade.com’s “New & Notable” homepage and eared positive press from the global blogosphere: Cross Rhythms gave the EP 9 out of 10 stars, Alpha Omega News pronounced it “Grade A,” and Louder Than The Music raved “5 out of 5 stars…brilliant!” Hundreds of radio stations added the single “Freedom in You” to make it CRW Radio Promotions/Westar Media Group’s biggest single of the year, with more than a million listeners tuning in.
Before long, the song and video for “Made” caught the attention of manager Steve Rennie (Incubus) who invited TODDZERO to play on The Renman Show. The momentum surrounding the artist landed his music into the hands of KROQ DJ Nicole Alvarez in Los Angeles who was, in her words, “smitten.” In addition, HM Magazine called the EP “infectious and compelling.” The release earned TODDZERO a nomination for “Best New Artist” and “Best EP” by a prominent UK music blog and a slot performing at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards pre-show.
Building on the buzz generated by “1234567,” TODDZERO returned to his Los Angeles studio to write, record, and produce the bulk of his first full-length album. Stringing together songs full of ecstatic longing for rest and home, “Kid Heart” debuted June 4, 2013 on indie label Hembot Recordings. The album was mixed by Lee Bridges (MercyMe, Newsboys, Chris Tomlin) and mastered by Hans DeKline (Snoop Dogg). Former Capitol Records A&R exec Loren Israel (Neon Trees, Plain White T’s, Jimmy Eat World), offered A&R development.
The songs on “Kid Heart” weave electronica, indie, and Gospel to create a wholly distinct, persuasive sound buoyed by narrative songsmithing. Tracks explore lost youth and innocence, as well as spiritual themes of salvation, redemption, and homecoming.
Part diary and part concept album, “The first half of ‘Kid Heart’ is a collection of deeply personal songs, while the second half is almost a concept album with songs that follow the narrative of the final week of Christ’s life from the triumphal entry all the way to the resurrection,” TODDZERO explains. “It’s a unique mix, to be sure, but I think it’s one that both believers and nonbelievers can embrace.”
Before the full-length premiered, a couple of tracks leaked out: The album’s first single “Kid Heart” gained immediate airplay on iHeartRadio’s Los Angeles station Moheak, and the anthemic feel of “We Will Win” made it a good fit as the backing track for Los Angeles television station KTLA Channel 5′s nightly sports newscast as well as the ABC Family show “The Fosters.”
After its debut, “Kid Heart” appeared on Noise Trade’s top download list. Louder Than The Music calls the release “heartfelt indie, creative and inspiring music sung by a vocalist who has a voice that most people would love to have. I for one would love to be able to write and sing like this guy. Since I can’t, I’ll just keep listening to this epic album.” TODDZERO plans to tour in support of “Kid Heart” throughout 2013.