Photography by Melissa Cunningham
Before the pandemic, Teddy Georgia Waggy made her living as a custom tailor designing clothing mostly for other artists. She’s also a musician who fronts the Oak Cliff-based band Midnight Opera. The Oak Cliff native released a new video on Halloween, from spooky footage she filmed one year ago.
What were you doing before the coronavirus hit Dallas?
I had a full slate of fashion commissions. I was working on a small summer line. The week of the lockdown, I had recording sessions booked here at Elmwood Studio with my collaborator and fellow Oak Cliffer Sudie, and producer Alex Bhore, to track an EP of songs. Oh, and I was taking my first ever jazz dance class.
How has your life changed since then?
Life has become very slow, for the better. I was always working too much, always chasing financial stability, thinking I’d slow down and enjoy my friends and family only once I made enough money to earn the title of “adult”. But the loss of a loved one this spring mixed with the onset of a global economic depression forced me to stop chasing and just sit down. I realized the thing I was chasing might not exist, at least not how it has been sold to us.
What do you mean?
Artists my age specifically, we grew up with examples of what artistic success looks like that are nearly extinct now. I have no idea when I’ll get to perform for people again, so for now I’m just finding ways to let my inner chintzy pop star strut it out at home. And to enjoy my people and love them well while they’re here.
We love the lips mask that you make.
Thank you! That side hustle has actually been my main squeeze during the pandemic, and I’m super, super thankful for the work. My garment business has slowed down a bunch, with many of my clients being fellow artists and workers whose wallets got hit hard, and also because we’re all dressed up with nowhere to go for now.
Tell us about the song you released in March, “Some Blues”.
I wrote, recorded and mixed it in 2018 in my home studio, and Sudie wrote and performed the backing vocals for it. At the time, the song was about how you can travel years away from the blast of a heartbreak and still sometimes grieve it like it happened yesterday. When the pandemic came and I had to cancel my recording session, I felt so deflated; I always wait to release music and art until I can afford to produce it professionally. Now waiting for the right time and enough money seems absurd when the future is so unknowable it might not even show up! I wanted to just do something. I remembered this song, and when I listened back, the lyrics took on totally new meaning. It became a song for that fear of an unknown future, and unknown enemies floating on air.
How have you spent your extra downtime?
I’ve been baking, reading, doing puzzles with my mom, walking, marching, reading, and most important, staring blankly into space unable to get out of bed.
What are you looking forward to?
Everything changing. Emerging from a year of hard growth, with wilder dreams to prove it. A reallocation of funds and ideas, away from “police officers” and towards “peace officers,” towards reducing inequity instead of reacting to its aftermaths. Less military gear, more mental wellness tools.
What are you worried about?