TODDZERO crafts kaleidoscopic sounds with sonic textures that are equal parts inclusive and infectious. The Los Angeles-based artist formerly known as ToddO has garnered success in the blogosphere and from the critics: Anthony Fantano, host of NPR's The Needle Drop podcast hailed TODDZERO as "a charismatic voice" and Under the Radar called the musician "a rare gem."
Like a lot of kids, TODDZERO became obsessed with music at a young age. The first song the Yorba Linda, California native remembers listening to and loving was 'Like a Rhinestone Cowboy' by Glen Campbell. "Something about the lyrics and the melody made me want to sing along," he says. He took a few guitar lessons and played, "in a million bands which then played at a million small venues" before putting music on the back burner in order to build a successful career in business. "There was a several-year stretch there where I didn't even touch an instrument or sing in the shower," he says.
All that changed in 2010. The artist began collaborating with a friend who owned recording equipment. "It was fun at first, but then the bug bit me," TODDZERO says. "What started out as merely a hobby turned into a full-blown calling." Immersing himself in the recording process, he bought his own gear and learned how to self-engineer a record.
In May of 2012 TODDZERO released the "1234567" EP. He says the proces of releasing his first batch of songs was equal parts exhilarating and intimidating. He remembers wondering, "Amidst the sea of music out there who would care that yet another dreamer was writing songs?"
A lot of people, it turns out. "1234567" quickly appeared on NoiseTrade.com's "New & Notable" homepage and eared positive press from the global blogosphere: Cross Rhythms gave the EP 9 out of 10 stars, Alpha Omega News pronounced it "Grade A," and Louder Than The Music raved "5 out of 5 stars... brilliant!" Hundreds of radio stations added the single "Freedom in You" to make it CRW Radio Promotions/Westar Media Group's biggest single of the year, with more than a million listeners tuning in.
Before long, the song and video for "Made" caught the attention of manager Steve Rennie (Incubus) who invited TODDZERO to play on The Renman Show. The momentum surrounding the artist landed his music into the hands of KROQ DJ Nicole Alvarez in Los Angeles who was, in her words, "smitten." In addition, HM Magazine called the EP "infectious and compelling." The release earned TODDZERO a nomination for "Best New Artist" and "Best EP" by a prominent UK music blog and a slot performing at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards pre-show.
Building on the buzz generated by "1234567," TODDZERO returned to his Los Angeles studio to write, record, and produce the bulk of his first full-length album. Stringing together songs full of ecstatic longing for rest and home, "Kid Heart" debuted June 4, 2013 on indie label Hembot Recordings. The album was mixed by Lee Bridges (MercyMe, Newsboys, Chris Tomlin) and mastered by Hans DeKline (Snoop Dogg). Former Capitol Records A&R exec Loren Israel (Neon Trees, Plain White T's, Jimmy Eat World), offered A&R development.
The songs on "Kid Heart" weave electronica, indie, and Gospel to create a wholly distinct, persuasive sound buoyed by narrative songsmithing. Tracks explore lost youth and innocence, as well as spiritual themes of salvation, redemption, and homecoming.
Part diary and part concept album, "The first half of 'Kid Heart' is a collection of deeply personal songs, while the second half is almost a concept album with songs that follow the narrative of the final week of Christ's life from the triumphal entry all the way to the resurrection," TODDZERO explains. "It's a unique mix, to be sure, but I think it's one that both believers and nonbelievers can embrace."
Before the full-length premiered, a couple of tracks leaked out: The album's first single "Kid Heart" gained immediate airplay on iHeartRadio's Los Angeles station Moheak, and the anthemic feel of "We Will Win" made it a good fit as the backing track for the Los Angeles television station KTLA Channel 5's nightly sprts newscast as well as the ABC Family show "The Fosters."
After its debut, "Kid Heart" appeared on Noise Trade's top download list. Louder Than The Music calls the release "heartfelt indie, creative and inspiring music sung by a vocalist who has a voice that most people would love to have. I for one would love to be able to write and sing like this guy. Since I can't, I'll just keep listening to this epic album."
In 2016, ToddZero released "My Precious Limp". See www.toddzero.com for more details.
... It's a very progressive sound that's invigorating and thought-provoking. (Read more)
Todd seems to have it all with a keen production savvy, one of the best pop voices out there and, perhaps most strikingly, an innate ability to put across his point with poetic and intelligent lyrics (Read more)
10 out of 10 stars
When TODDZERO started to write songs for his latest album, My Precious Limp, he faced an unusual dilemma. (Read more)
This album has really really honest stories in song format, and isn't anything like the latest Matt Redman or Rend Collective album. This is in a whole different playing field to the CCM World. As hard as it was to listen to at times, from a creative musical perspective this is seriously good album. (Read more)
4.5 out of 5 stars
... impressive and reflexive ... (Read more)
Translation: "The hook bangs purely good and remains in the ear. Does not seem flat and calculative. That just right mood. Especially because it is not a trouble-bubble Santander Indie. He is innovative and boldly." (Read more)
It is rare to find an album so full of catchy, melodic hooks. Thoroughly recommended. (Read more)
10 out of 10 stars
It works for me, as it's one of the better albums of 2013. Instantly enjoyable for me. (Read more)
I highly recommend getting this album. Fantastic indie rock music! (Read more)
Kid Heart is chalk full of good stuff, infectious hooks, riffs, magical percussion effects and that occasional lovely fuzzy bass that I just can't get enough of. (Read more)
... seamlessly pairs unlikely instruments like the ukulele a lead synth or sleigh bells and lofi piano riffs. (Read more)
... truly in the end, this album is a huge win for ToddZero that is a must have for any collection. (Read more)
Kid Heart sounds somber, sober, emotional and melodic ... (Read more)
4 out of 5 stars
This is heartfelt indie, creative and inspiring music sung by a vocalist who has a voice that most people would love to have. I for one would love to be able to write and sing like this guy. Since I can't, I'll just keep listening to this epic album. (Read more)
5 out of 5 stars
... fun and unique ... (Read more)
3 out of 5 stars
Kid Heart is an encouraging album to hear; expanding from an EP to a full album is a sizeable leap, and ToddZero transitions with ease into a new project bursting with creative energy and his willingness to stretch himself in his musical journey hasn't gone unnoticed. For the uninitiated, both the 1234567 EP and Kid Heart are well worth a listen, as experimental minds like ToddZero's deserve listening ears; an artist like ToddZero is bound to only get more interesting from here. (Read more)
You know you have a good set of songs when you desperately want to put them on again, and that is what the 1234567 EP has done for me. Being seven songs long this is more of a mini album, and if ToddZero is going to keep producing songs and music like this then I am 100% sure we will hear more from this talented singer/songwriter. (Read more)
5 out of 5 stars
We welcome him to the RenmanMB Studio, where he and his choir singers charm us with an acoustic rendition of his original track, "Hallelujah Chorus." (Read more)
... clearly Christian and, refreshingly, steers clear of the Book of Worship Cliches. (Read more)
9 out of 10 stars
...a great indie rock offering with some solid Christian lyrics. (Read more)
Listening to the music offered up on 1234567, it would be very hard to tell that this was an independent album. ToddO recorded wrote, produced, and recorded the entire thing (except the drumming) in his own studio, and it sounds as good as, if not better than, some major label recordings you'd hear today. (Read more)