Teddy Rankin, a junior at Gannon University, is a local musician who at the age of 20 is about to release his third full-length album, containing 15 songs that he wrote and recorded. This new album, titled “Omitting the Middle,” will be released Saturday at an album release party that will be held at the Presque Isle Lighthouse, located at 301 Peninsula Drive. I got the chance to talk to Teddy about his upcoming album and get his thoughts on the creative process of constructing a full-length album and his excitement about its upcoming release.
Q: Thank you for doing this interview Teddy. For “Omitting the Middle,” what do you hope people get out of listening to the album?
A: This is kind of a tough question because as much as I want people to hear it, I didn’t really create it with the audience in mind. My music is mainly for self-expression. I hope people dig it, I really do. But that wasn’t really my main intention. I think the album will conjure up emotions in the listener about past relationships and the nature of love. Love is a very universal and relatable topic.
Q: Is there a theme to the album? What are some of the messages conveyed in the tracks?
A: This album tells the story of a relationship, “Omitting the Middle.” So the first section is concerned with the emotions before a relationship begins and the second section deals with the feelings after a relationship ends. The song “Omitting the Middle” is mostly instrumental but defines the organization of the record.
Q: Where did you record the album? Did you collaborate with any other musicians on the album?
A: AI recorded the whole thing in my bedroom. I play bass, acoustic guitar and ukulele on the album and sing. The only other musician that appears on the album is my Dad, Glenn, who lends his guitar abilities to “Living Room” and “Pebble Park.”
Q: Did anyone inspire you during the album’s creation? How long did it take for you to create this? What are your favorite songs off the album?
A: My biggest inspiration is always my Dad. He has taught me most of what I know about music. I grew up listening to him play guitar in the living room and that has really shaped my musical tastes. That being said, my favorite artists, and the ones that influence me the most, are the Beatles, Dawes, Conor Oberst and Bob Dylan. I’ve been working on this album for about a year and a half. I think my favorite songs on the record are “Sure as the Sun” “Wanna be” and “Shore” Also there will be a music video for “Shore” in the near future.
Q: With your album being 15 songs, did you ever face any hardships while writing the album through writer’s block? If so, how did you combat it?
A: I never struggle with writer’s block while songwriting because I don’t force myself to sit down and write a song unless I’m inspired.
Q: Have you ever gone through a drought of inspiration?
A: I have droughts of inspiration sometimes but then I don’t force myself to try to write then. I haven’t had too hard of a time with that though because I already have a long list of new songs for my next project.
Q: What genre of music would you classify yourself as and how did you develop this style? How has music played a major role in your life?
A: I would say at this point I’m a folk singer-songwriter. My previous albums have been more pop-oriented but I’m finding my groove and this genre really helps me to be able to tell stories through music. I think that I got into this style of music because I love hearing and telling stories. If you want to go really deep into the birth of my love for music, I could talk more about how the music of the Beatles really helped me through battling cancer. It’s been my strongest coping mechanism ever since.
Q: How did music help you during that time of your life?
A: When I was 10 I was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s disease and had to travel back and forth to Pittsburgh for nine months for chemotherapy and radiation. On those two-hour drives, my parents and I would sing along to Beatles CDs and I still know every word of almost every Beatles song. It was how we kind of distracted ourselves and I think that was a big reason why I write songs now.
Q: That’s an incredible story about the growth for your love of music, Teddy. I heard you were planning an album release party for “Omitting the Middle.”
A: Yes. The album comes out on Saturday and there will be a release party that day at 6 p.m. at the beautiful and historic Presque Isle Lighthouse. It’s free and open to everyone. There will be light food and drinks, live music and it’s the first chance for people to get a physical copy of the CD. This is the first time I’ve had CDs made so I’m really excited for that.
Q: Sounds like it’s going to be a fun time. When does the album drop and where can people find more of your music?
A: It drops on Saturday. It will be available on all platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and teddyrankin.bandcamp.com. I’m on Instagram @reddy_tankin and Facebook at Facebook.com/teddyrankinmusic.
By Gabe Fulgenzio