Memphis native Travis Walton, also known as Teddy Walton, has had an incredible year. Most recently, he became a Grammy-nominated producer for his work on Kendrick Lamar’s “LOVE.” as well as GoldLink, Brent Faiyaz and Shy Glizzy’s “Crew.” The up-and-coming creative is being heralded by industry insiders as the next great producer, and it’s obvious from his vision and insistence on doing work that has substance that he has a shot at greatness.
Influenced by artists like Three 6 Mafia and Tame Impala, Walton first gained buzz in the industry by releasing a project in 2012 called EVOL with his brother June. The record made its way around the Internet and soon caught the attention of the likes of Drake and others.
However, a year ago, Walton was dead broke, making beats at home in Missouri — a place he moved to when he was 15 — with no money to his name. Holding true to his ambition and character, Walton kept working and eventually caught the attention of Kendrick Lamar after working with the artist Zacari, who also appears on “LOVE.” His relationship with RCA’s Tunji Balogun would also prove instrumental in landing him a placement with GoldLink for his popular record “Crew.”
When asked about what kept him focused during times of hardship, Walton responded by saying, “for three years straight, I told my self that a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense, I’m throwing it out. Like madness. After you get mad at somebody, what happens? Nothing. It doesn’t make any sense, I don’t get anything from it.” He added by saying, “I just practice treating people the way I want to be treated. Once I started doing that, things that were bad for me like finances did a 180 overnight.”
Billboard spoke to Walton about growing up in Memphis, making music and what he wants people to pay attention to.
When did you know music was your calling?
I knew it was my calling basically when my brother June and I put out our project EVOL. The reviews it got (Pauses) back then it was so crucial to be on blogs and we didn’t have the PR. We literally just put it on Dat Piff and it was on every blog. It got to the point where my brother got invited to go to the Smoker’s Club Tour. I saw 200 people at once sing his words so I knew then it was real.
Speak about the relationship that you have with your brother and how it was pivotal to your career?
When I started doing music, he was actually in jail. I was just making beats before we did the EVOL project. Now, my work relationship with my brother is so crazy and is at the craziest point right now. It’s like me and brother talk on occasion, but when we do, it’s super serious. It’s on a whole other level where he’s making sure I’m saying something. My brother is an artist, writer, producer, motivational speaker, all that.
He tells me if I’m going to get this far, make sure I’m self-aware. Me and his conversations be about what people want musically. For example, tracks like “Crew” with all of the ’90s vibes, sounds like SWV, [and] TLC. My brother was on that four, five years ago. Me and my brother were putting out those vibes a while ago like that and people liked it.
How did you keep your spirits up when you were broke?
Throughout those three years [after making EVOL] of practicing music and being broke, people who saw me as a good person helped me out. I have a lot of people willing to help me anytime just because of the energy I bring when I come around. It’s priceless to be a good person.