Bad Ass Break-Outs: Theo Katzman

There are very few artists who can make me smile the way Theo Katzman can. Sometimes, the world can spin too fast. Life can be painful and odd and confusing and hilarious; but Katzman’s voice can break through the noise and remind you to find humor.

New York born, Katzman has been making his mark on the scene since the early 2000s. Some may know him as a member of the funk band Vulfpeck. He plays a multitude of instruments and his stunning tenor voice flies above every track. His vocals can be heard on songs like “Lonely Town,” “Animal Spirit,” and “Back Pocket.” 

His solo career began around 2010.

Although Katzman has many talents, I believe his strongest asset is his clever writing. The man never writes anything by accident. As a lyrically driven artist, he plays with ideas musically and intellectually. But you won’t hear how smart it is until the second or third listen because his songs are so catchy. 

This artist is a master of irony and tone. The track “Break Up Together,” off the album Heartbreak Hits, has a wonderfully tragic story under a snappy, tongue-in-cheek tune. You may never hear a break up song that will make you smile like Katzman’s. His song off the same album, “My 1-Bedroom,” makes living paycheck to paycheck in a shoebox apartment feel like a dream.

Theo Katzman can be funny, and dark, and political and satirical, and beautifully absurd. You can listen and hear yourself in his music, because the one thing that’s always present is his humanity. 

One of my personal favorites is “What Did You Mean (When You Said Love)” off his latest album, Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in the Age of Vibe. It’s a song about the word “love” and what happens when someone says it and doesn’t mean it. You can hear the sadness in the words, but the music carries you away and calms you down. It’s nice to have a moment of relief from the pain that life brings us.

The man is multi-talented, witty, and seems genuinely kind. I would love to see him get more recognition and opportunities to showcase his work. Either way, I know he’ll keep writing to try to make us smile.

Take a listen to a few of his songs in our Bad Ass Break-Outs Playlist!

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