Sheffield artist TeeDee released his viral TikTok hit on SoundCloud as it reached number 2, overtaking Drake
“I didn’t really want to release the song on SoundCloud, I wanted to release it on a label. But I thought, fuck… I just released it and it exploded, 50, 60,000 views a day. It came in at number 2 on SoundCloud and rose above Drake just behind Central Cee’s Obsessed with You…and all the labels must have started shaking”
Born and raised in Parson Cross, Sheffield. TeeDee aka Tom Dempsey grew up around the burgeoning era of bass music that defined the town in the early 2000s. A scene that saw the rise of other Yorkshire artists like Leeds T2 and Toddla T of Sheffield.
“You know what it is? I’ve spent half my life making music and everything that’s happening now is the result of what I’ve been doing for so long. Now it comes at the perfect time and it’s the timing that’s key here. Not too long ago he signed with Sony RCA UK, sealing the deal with the release of his aptly just-released debut single Love Me. .
TeeDee’s journey to where he is today took him nearly a decade
From his early days as a spunky budding DJ hosting an event that had to be shut down by the police at age 14, such was the excitement for his first event, to producing records for emerging and established artists across the UK Drill, bassline and stage house, as well as setting up his own studios which he would rent out to other musicians and artists along the way. But what were the police, you say?
“Basically what happened was I hosted an event when I was 13 or 14 at a pub called The Forum (in Wincobank) years ago now. But the owner didn’t realize I was actually doing an event I just spoke to one of the bar staff and they probably thought I wanted to do a function so I phoned a few people and I started handing out flyers to the kids at my school, around 7pm I noticed taxis coming with a few girls and thought it was gonna be ”bang on” anyway I’m about to go play DJ and i asked this lady to collect fives and coins from people but she keeps coming up to me with bags of money and at 8 o’clock, it was rammed… I couldn’t see all the way to the bottom it was so full I went to look outside it was crazy The beer garden was packed and there was also people all over the road, people jumping up and down, flares going off and before you know it the police arrived, riot vans and police cars. My dad says we should probably go, so we pulled out and left.
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Footage from the event was shared online, first in community forums on Facebook and then further afield.
“What happened was the director of Plug got in touch and my dad and I went to a meeting. They offered me the chance to use their studios. I was also asked if i would be interested in hosting events there which is great as it is a safer space it was extremely beneficial at the time it was not easy however we had to get all kinds of permissions from the board, which took years to sort out.”
“It was amazing. I was the same age as all the kids here and I was mostly mixing bassline and other music for all of them. I would even bring bands in and play too, like BassBoy and Nitro Clack It was all part of the journey to where I am now.
The name TeeDee might not mean much to many of you, not yet anyway. It goes without saying that it is quite the antithesis of nocturnal sensation.
He’s been putting on the transplant from morning till night, and till dawn, for years now.
“One of the things I really wanted to do when I was at Plug studios was just watch how other people were working. I wanted to be involved and see what people were doing, music is all I lived for and I I didn’t do anything other than that.
TeeDee has patiently honed his craft, his understanding of music and how things work in a music studio. He spent countless hours observing his peers, taking notes, listening to them and learning from them all. While doing these studio sessions, TeeDee ended up meeting an artist called Shaxx who put him in touch with a producer called TomMakesBeats, from there they started a YouTube channel, fueled by interest growing for Type Beats, an online movement where producers release instrumentals that theoretically match those of certain artists. And it worked. One of these beats caused Tee to travel to London for a studio session with Loski and Fredo…after that the sessions continued.
Although it was a very smooth workflow, it just wasn’t enough for TeeDee who felt dissatisfied, “when there’s work to do, I’m just focused.” I sat there doing 12 hour sessions, working on other people’s music and while it was good, I wish I had spent more time focusing on my own.
“I always knew I wanted to do more of my own thing. The sessions were good but they didn’t excite me and I wanted to put myself in the best position to move forward for me”
He went back to the drawing board, while continuing to produce for others and in between selling beats he had created, a solid business in his own right, he decided to go back to making his own videos.
“I wanted to show my personality a bit more, but I also wanted to show people not only how a producer creates, but how I do what I do”
He started recording these videos under the name of TikToks and posting them on Instagram to get more success… then he made the video “How To Make A Tom Zanetti-Type Beat”, which received more than 250,000 views literally overnight. It was then that he knew he was onto something and many others started to notice him, much more than they had before.
After being courted by several major record labels, TeeDee finally made his decision based on what felt most natural to him, signing to Sony RCA UK. Since then he has gone from strength to strength working not only with Fredo but also with Ard Ardz, Loski, RM, G Bugz, Silky and he even worked on a track for Jess Glynne.
TeeDee is very observant and aware of what is happening in and around his hometown, even though his personal circumstances may have changed financially, he still has nothing but love for his hometown. He’s largely a result of his surroundings, “in every city you have all the negativity and shootings and stabbings that are in the media. There’s so much positive stuff here, it’s not about to ignore the bad things but it’s also about putting the same energy into focusing on the good things that are happening.
As a young man who has had some success, although it is important to note that it is well deserved after many years, I wonder what he thinks of what people will think of him or worried about the attention he’s going to get? “It’s important that you choose people you trust to be around you, friends who will watch over you and also not to get carried away or get caught up in the hype” but sometimes hype is nice, is not it ? “It’s nice to be able to indulge myself but I don’t care about stuff and fancy stuff and stuff. It’s okay, yeah. I just want to focus on my music and growing as a person.
When he’s not giving his followers insight into his music-making process on social media or posting the obligatory candle photo, tongue in cheek and still very self-aware, TeeDee is also an amateur boxer it’s a good way for him to focus and decompress in a controlled environment and it benefits him both mentally and physically especially after a bout of covid forced him on last year to step back and basically think about where he wants to go – he also won his last boxing match at the Colley Working Men’s Club in Sheffield.
“I was always into fighting and boxing from a very young age, my dad introduced me to it. Taking me to the gym. Then when I started hosting events my focus slipped, I needed to take a step back from all that was negative and get back to what I do best… which is making music.
For his debut song, he took a snippet of Brownstone’s timeless classic song, If You Love Me, and turned it into Love Me.
It’s a fresh-sounding deep house track, infused with a recognizably ’90s-tinged production style. It’s already been a viral hit with over a million streams on SoundCloud and YouTube alone and with a solid release plan set to become one of the biggest dance anthems of 2022.
For someone who is essentially still in his formative years as a young adult, he has seen so much and has so many stories to tell. As we were talking, an older lady approached us and asked if we would mind watching her bags for a while, which he politely obliged. Behind the carefully curated bravado, early perceptions of what young people are like today are often far from reality. It’s a mark of his character, fame doesn’t change us and doesn’t always have to change us… nor does attention.
“I had to go through so much for this one thing to happen, this one thing that explodes. It’s been hard and do you know what it was worth, I’m grateful… but I’m far from done. I am still growing every day.
Love Me is now available on all digital streaming platforms.
You can follow TeeDee on social media.