An Exclusive Interview With Toddy Smith
"Started As A Joke", his YouTube career, and more!
When Toddy Smith enters the Zoom call, he's immediately warm and friendly...a good sign for an interviewer when you instantly feel comfortable with them. We dive straight into his start on Vine, the OG video-sharing app that launched careers for stars like himself, Shawn Mendes, and many more. In Toddy's case, he began making Vines with friend, fellow songwriter, and vlogger Scott Sire.
Sire's Vine fame arose while Toddy was off filming a reality dating show called Sweet Home Alabama. He made it to the top 3 and came back to see that Scott had summated an impressive 25,000 followers. He doesn't take credit for any Vine fame- calling himself the sidekick to Scott, Zane Hijazi, and Heath Hussar's videos.
Through making these videos on Vine alongside Scott Sire, Toddy met his other best friends Zane and Heath amongst other Vine and YouTube creators along the way. But while he was joining the Vlog Squad on YouTube and becoming the massive Internet personality he is, there was always music in his mind.
He tells me how he always admired 21 Pilots and enjoyed writing short stories, finding that lead singer Tyler Joseph matched his writing energy. The similarities and inspiration he drew from the band that gave us songs like "Heathens" and "Stressed Out" pushed him to start creating his own music as a hobby.
Since he had no instrument, he moved to Los Angeles, hired Jason Nash's children's piano teacher, and launched from there. The rest of the pieces fell into place from there- Scott Sire invited Toddy out on tour with him to play the keyboard. It's something he describes as a "dream come true" to play onstage, and the music became more than just a hobby.
His first song was "Natalina", a synth-y, pop-indie sound that he went into writing with the idea already formed, so it felt easier for him to write. And while songwriting didn't come as easily then, he feels much more confident with every song he puts out - honing into his craft, developing his sound, and seeing what works for him.
With songs like "Past Life", his collaboration with Scott Sire, he was able to have a blast creating a track he loved. Nick Anderson, lead singer of The Wrecks, helped create the track with the duo- which came to fruition based on his relationship. He was inspired by M83 at the time and The Drive soundtrack- but perhaps the most interesting part is that the song is unfinished, but they liked how it sounded as it was.
"I set up that session and I had a few keywords ready to go...Nick Anderson is one of the best producers and the best people I know. He really helped bring that song alive...We were just sitting there all three of us kind of throwing words around, but when we sat down that night it wasn't finished and we just liked how it sounded. It's a bit of a weird structure, but Nick's verse just brings it all together."
Alongside 21 Pilots, Toddy grew up with a lot of punk-rock influence like Green Day, Blink-182, The Circle Jerks. The early 2000s were a great time for angst, which is when he grew up. However, his music takes on a more 80's synth pop sound that makes you want to dance around and be carefree. It's a sign he's staying true to himself...after he admits he tried to replicate the 21 Pilots sound, it felt better to make music that worked for him.
It takes us to his most recent release, "Started As A Joke", which actually is the second song he wrote after "Natalina", about the beginning of relationships. "Started As A Joke" is classic Toddy Smith- fun-loving, introspective, and a bit self-deprecating in all the right ways. It takes listeners through two people falling in love when it started originally as a joke for one of them. You can listen to the song here:
Toddy makes music in a way that everyone can respect: only releasing songs that feel right, staying true to lyrics and melody without overdoing it, and never pushing something that isn't serving him. He's the type of person who is always writing- whether it be music or a short story, which he admits he prefers a little more because he can just write anything that comes to mind with no thoughts of melody or diction or style.
Right now, he's back working with Nick Anderson of The Wrecks to challenge himself by turning a short story into a song. While it's unfinished currently, they have a melody and are working backwards with the lyrics and the story. Constantly working, Smith admits a new single also is on its way in the beginning of 2024.
However, as a content creator to his core, Toddy is always looking at different creative outlets. He enjoys making short films and skits, remaining active across social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram to develop his filmmaking and music. While it may look like a relatively quiet period, you can tell that Toddy is genuinely proud of the work he's putting out.
Alongside all of his accolades, Toddy also founded clothing brand GothicMochas which turns basics like trucker hats and oversized hoodies into a fashion statement of their own. It's his way of staying true to his own fashion sense while making high quality, cutting edge clothes...and it works.
It's a dream of his to go back out onstage, but he doesn't currently have shows lined up. For now, it's about the music, his stories, and the films, and we can't wait to see what he comes up with next.