Long before he came into the world, Theodore Fossi’s life had been meticulously planned out for him according to an unspoken plan passed down through his family’s many generations. They originally came from Sweden and moved to Chicago in the very early 1800s, working mostly as tradesmen and laborers. The first successful member of their family to pull himself out of poverty was Alexander Fossi, who went on to quickly climb from retail employee to salesman and then later on to railway man and later to part owner of one of the largest railroad companies in the United States. To say that the Fossi family was notable and wealthy would be an understatement, to say the least. From Alexander’s children’s generation onward there was an onward drive towards excellence and improving the family’s reputation and – more importantly – fortune. It was the one thing impressed up every single Fossi child and with a few unpleasant (and often ignored) exceptions, they all followed suit.
Theodore’s father, John, had gotten involved in the banking industry right after graduating from college in the early 70s and not long after he moved to New York for work, he met Linda Petrakis in the hallway of his apartment building. It was more or less love at first sight. They began dating seriously and though her family had never had any money to speak of, they owned a few respectable businesses in the city - which meant that to her new fiancé and his judgmental parents, that she was suitable enough for marriage. She was attractive and immensely devoted to John and most importantly she was willing to tow the Fossi family line.
Despite having a Master’s degree in chemistry and the burgeoning career in the field, Linda was willing to put that aside and become a housewife. They bought a big house in Westchester County and decided to try to start a family right away. That was where the couple ran into their first complications and it took five years and thousands of dollars poured into fertility treatments for them to become pregnant with their first child. On June 4, 1978 Theodore William Fossi came into the world and began his first steps towards following in his family’s footsteps.
It was apparent from his earliest years that little Teddy (as he was called then) was a smart, outgoing, and driven boy that had an innate love of the finer things in life. He loved music, art, dancing, languages, horses – anything and everything a blue-blooded, future social climber would be expected to love. His parents were delighted that he was agreeable and flexible, never the kind of boy who snubbed foreign dishes in favor of mac and cheese or threw tantrums over toys where “other people” might see. When he was four, John and Linda decided that they wanted to try and have another child to both keep Teddy company and to hopefully fill the big house up a little more. After two more years of difficulty and two miscarriages, the doctors advised the couple to stop trying because it would only endanger the health of Linda. The news did cause something of a rift between them, but for the time being it was small and they at least had one child to raise and mold.
Up until the day it happened, this particular branch of the Fossi family seemed to have an enviously calm life. John worked long, hard hours and traveled often, but he called enough that they didn’t notice so much. Linda consoled herself with philanthropy and her garden and more than occasionally a nice bottle of wine. As for Teddy, he did what most ten year olds do and he went to school, played sports with friends, procrastinated on his homework, and suffered through piano lessons. And like most of his classmates his life was average, ordinary, boring even. That was until the afternoon of March 19, 1988.
As he stood waiting in front of his school as the line of cars picking up students inched its way along, Teddy was approached by a man he didn’t know who claimed that the usual driver was going to be late and that his mother had sent him to pick Teddy up. The boy had been taught not to trust strangers, but this man seemed to know enough about him and his family that he thought it might be okay, so he went along with the stranger to a car off the side street. Inside was another man who grabbed Teddy and held him on the floorboards of the car while they sped away to an unknown location. They held him overnight while a ransom call went out and then they waited for a reply, which took almost two days to finally come. They wanted $10 million and John Fossi to pull his company’s financial backing from a foreign country that the kidnappers were natives of. The problem came when a day later the police set up a drop-off operation and the kidnappers got spooked, causing them to run.
The news over Teddy Fossi’s kidnapping was overwhelming and his school picture from months earlier was all over the 10 o’clock news and major newspapers. The Fossi name and money seemed to propel it into the stratosphere and it seemed like everyone in New York City was clutching their children to them closely and following every development. Days stretched into week and despite all of the funding and manpower being utilized, no one could figure out where the little boy had gone and how his kidnappers had managed to evade the FBI’s investigators. Rewards were offered, vigils were held, and time ticked by. The longer Teddy was gone, the more people started to believe that the people responsible had gotten too scared and killed him to keep from being caught. John and Linda fought endlessly, their marriage deteriorating quickly as the weeks turned into months and their son wasn’t found.
Two hundred and forty-seven days after he’d gone missing, Teddy suddenly was discovered in an abandoned apartment building in Managua. A merchant who owned a business next door had noticed that an American boy was occasionally coming in and out with several different men over the course of a few weeks and called the local police. His mother was the first one on the plane and ten hours later she had him safe and somewhat sound. Physically he was fine, if not malnourished and pale, but he refused to speak for a long time and suffered other psychological problems for years afterward.
Once Teddy had returned home, nothing was ever the same again and for the first six months people constantly hounded the family for the story. It didn’t help that his parents filed for divorce not long after his return and his father was continually distant. Because he couldn’t seem to get past the ordeal to feel comfortable in New York, Teddy moved with his mother to Vancouver where they had family. Life there was better. Less people seemed to know or care who he was and though occasionally he’d run into people who were overly curious, the passage of time caused most to forget entirely. His fundamental personality never changed, however, but the boy was now quieter and more prone to keeping to himself than before.
The one thing that really seemed to help was the reintroduction of music lessons into his daily life. Teddy – or Theo as he was now requesting to be called – took piano and guitar instruction a couple of times a week and he had a real aptitude for it. As he got older, however, Theo started to struggle with regular schooling and more than that his therapy sessions didn’t appear to be helping him very much. He started high school and struggled with getting there, staying there, and not causing trouble while he was there. Over the course of his four years, Theo’s mother was politely “asked” three times to find a new educational institution for her son because of the disturbances he caused. When he was sixteen he was arrested for shoplifting CDs and electronics, despite the fact that he got a very generous allowance from his parents, and was put on probation. While on it he got caught breaking into a house with his friends and was put in juvenile detention for six months – the remainder until he was legally an adult. He served his time and on his first night home announced to his mother and stepfather that he was using his trust fun his father had set up to move to London. He left the next morning, ignoring their protests and pleading to stay.
London was like another world for Theo and while maybe he should have been scared of something so new and big, he loved every minute of it. He moved into an apartment that he shared with three other guys, all musicians. They played music, drank too much, smoked too much, and spent all of the time they weren’t doing those things out at clubs to meet women. Originally that was how Theo got into the music scene in London because he would go out hoping to get lucky, but would instead spend all of his time in front of the DJ booth trying to figure out how they did it. Before he long he’d convinced a few of them to teach him the basics and in another year he’d abandoned all hope of being an instrumental musician in the pursuit of this new electronic discovery. As time went on his reputation grew and eventually he ditched London to explore opportunities back in his hometown of New York. His fusion of sampling both American and UK rock into electronic music made him incredibly popular, even drawing celebrity clients who wanted them for their parties. He was content to DJ for a while longer, but the chance to finally make his own mark in the world came along and he couldn’t let it slip by him.
He started producing music for other artists and then went on to sign a contract with Elektra Records, which gave him more exposure and the means to put out his own album. Here Comes the Fuzz was released in 2003 and though it wasn’t immediately successful, it became so in time and the critics loved it. Even though his debut album finally hit its stride, his corporately disagreeable nature didn’t fit in with what Elektra wanted and so they dropped him. It might have spelled the end had he given up, but instead Theo got together with his long-time manager and decided to start his own record label – Slickback Records. They went on to release three more albums, all of which have seen a high amount of success and sales. Version even garnered Theo a Grammy nomination in 2007 for Producer of the Year in the non-classical genre and shared the win for three more in 2008 with Amy Winehouse for his work with her on Back to Black.
As time has gone by, Theo’s reputation and his quality of work has gone up exponentially. He was always a very driven and motivated younger man, but the years and experience have only increased that in him. In 2013 he bought a house in London and now splits his time between there and New York, going wherever he needs to in order to get his work done.
(2015) Uptown Special
1. "Uptown's First Finale" (featuring Stevie Wonder & Andrew Wyatt)
2. "Summer Breaking" (featuring Kevin Parker)
3. "Feel Right" (featuring Mystikal)
4. "Uptown Funk" (featuring Zaky)
5. "I Can't Lose" (featuring Keyone Starr)
6. "Daffodils" (featuring Kevin Parker)
7. "Crack in the Pearl" (featuring Andrew Wyatt)
8. "In Case of Fire" (featuring Jeff Bhasker)
9. "Leaving Los Feliz" (featuring Kevin Parker)
10. "Heavy and Rolling" (featuring Andrew Wyatt)
11. "Crack in the Pearl, Pt. II" (featuring Stevie Wonder & Jeff Bhasker)
(2010) Record Collection
1. "Bang Bang Bang" (featuring Q-Tip and MNDR)
2. "Lose It (In the End)" (featuring Ghostface Killah and Alex Greenwald)
3. "The Bike Song" (featuring Kyle Falconer and Spank Rock)
4. "Somebody to Love Me" (featuring Boy George and Andrew Wyatt)
5. "You Gave Me Nothing" (featuring Rose Elinor Dougall and Andrew Wyatt)
6. "The Colour of Crumar"
7. "Glass Mountain Trust" (featuring D'Angelo)
8. "Circuit Breaker"
9. "Introducing the Business" (featuring Pill and London Gay Men's Chorus)
10. "Record Collection" (featuring Simon Le Bon and Wiley)
12. "Hey Boy" (featuring Rose Elinor Dougall and Theophilus London)
13. "Missing Words"
14. "The Night Last Night" (featuring Rose Elinor Dougall and Alex Greenwald)
1. "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" (featuring the Daptone Horns)
2. "Oh My God" (featuring Lily Allen)
3. "Stop Me" (featuring Daniel Merriweather)
4. "Toxic" (featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard and Tiggers)
5. "Valerie" (featuring Amy Winehouse)
6. "Apply Some Pressure" (featuring Paul Smith)
8. "Pretty Green" (featuring Santigold)
9. "Just" (featuring Phantom Planet)
10. "Amy" (featuring Kenna)
11. "The Only One I Know" (featuring Robbie Williams)
13. "L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)" (featuring Kasabian)
(2003) Here Comes The Fuzz
2. "Bluegrass Stain'd" (featuring Nappy Roots and Anthony Hamilton)
3. "Ooh Wee" (featuring Ghostface Killah, Nate Dogg, Trife Diesel and Saigon)
4. "High" (featuring Aya)
5. "I Suck" (featuring Rivers Cuomo)
6. "International Affair" (featuring Sean Paul and Tweet)
7. "Diduntdidunt" (featuring Saigon)
8. "On the Run" (featuring Mos Def and M.O.P.)
9. "Here Comes the Fuzz" (featuring Jack White, Freeway and Nikka Costa)
10. "Bout to Get Ugly" (featuring Rhymefest and Anthony Hamilton)
11. "She's Got Me" (featuring Daniel Merriweather)
12. "Tomorrow" (featuring Q-Tip and Debi Nova)
13. "Rashi (Outro)"
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