Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Teddy Geiger, who has written hits for some of the biggest names in pop music, has been blazing trails of her own since coming out as transgender in 2017.
In an interview with the "TODAY" show that aired Monday, Geiger talked about her new single “Sharkbait” and opened up about what it was like to be in a high-profile entertainment job while struggling behind the cameras with her own identity.
“For so long, I learned to push away those feelings,” she said. “And when they'd come to me, like, push them away, push them away, push them away, not ever allowing myself to really like explore those feelings and explore those thoughts. And so basically, it was coming out as a lot of anxiety and a lot of compulsions.”
Geiger said she sought out treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder, and it was in a group therapy session that she was first able to put into words the fact that she is transgender. She came out after that to a close circle of family and friends, and then shared her truth with her fans in an Instagram post in October 2017.
“The response I got back from all of them and my family was all like, 'Oh my God, yeah, like, go for it,’” she said. “I was like ... I don't know, I kind of expected less understanding.”
Geiger spoke of her close friendship with the singer Shawn Mendes, with whom she’s collaborated on a number of tracks. She said his support helped her feel safer coming out to the world. In 2018, Geiger was nominated for a Grammy for her work on the Mendes collaboration “In My Blood.”
“I feel like it means something to have a transgender person be nominated for a Grammy,” Geiger said. “It seems like an inspiring thing.”
She also released her own album later in 2018 called “LillyAnna,” a name she formerly used in anonymous chatrooms before she came out as trans.
“The song 'LillyAnna' is kind of to that part of myself,” she said. “And it's like, trying to figure out, ‘What are you?’”
In the years since that album, Geiger said she’s grown as a person and found comfort in spaces in which she might not have known how to navigate before. “Sharkbait” is a reflection of this newfound voice, she said.
“Kind of that idea, like, I'm gonna go out and do the things that I need to do,” she said. “It's my life, and you don't necessarily have to understand.”
Geiger said that the last few years have presented unique challenges, but they’ve been transformative.
“And now, as I'm moving through life, there's so much more space to hear what that inner voice is saying,” she said. “And have a more complete vision of it.”