Meet Ted. Meet Aimee. Now say hello to The Both. Whether by chance or destiny, the two stars collided in 2012. At the time, Aimee and Ted were touring together as individual artists. At Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Ted opened for Aimee. As Ted performed “The Gambler,” Aimee listened and playfully thought, “I really want to play bass on that song.” By the end of the evening this thought evolved into a bigger and better idea. The two discussed collaborating, and within a month began to work on an EP. The evolution continued and their EP morphed into a full-length album that was released earlier this year.
The two deserve introductions individually just as much as they do together. Ted Leo is an East Coast punk rocker with a knack for songwriting and is best known for his time spent with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Aimee Mann is a rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, who first gained a following while part of a Boston-based band named ‘Til Tuesday in the 1980s. She then went solo in the 1990s and received both an Academy nomination in 1999 and a Grammy nomination in 2001 for her song “Save Me”, which she wrote for the soundtrack to the film Magnolia. Just last year, Ted and Aimee made their collaboration official, dubbing themselves “The Both”.
Aimee and Ted skillfully switch from singing individually to singing in harmony. The two are songwriters at heart and it shows as their voices intertwine like yin and yang, balancing each other out perfectly. During their session with NPR (see above video), you can feel a sense of new energy in the room. As musical partners, their collaboration is like an experiment, both artists anticipating what the result of their combination might be, but the expression on their faces lets the audience know they’re delighted with the result.
Although both are enthusiastic songwriters, they have their differences. In a video released by SuperEgo records, Ted recalls when Aimee sent back his work for the first verse of “You Can’t Help Me Now”.
Whether it’s a difference in Ted’s approach to songwriting or Aimee’s personality, one of their greatest strengths as a duo is their ability to laugh at one another. If you think the two gel musically, you should see their dynamic as friends. They already have a reputation for playfully bantering in between songs when performing live. Ted has been labeled the extrovert while Aimee the introvert. It’s evident the two have personalities that complement each other’s sense of humor. In a Sound Advice interview with “media coach” Janessa Slater, Aimee and Ted attempt to save each other from Janessa’s grilling questions, but to no avail, end up laughing at each other’s miserable answers instead. Janessa capitalized on the duo’s tendency to be self-deprecating as individuals, mocking Aimee’s Twitter bio which reads, “Oscar loser, singer/songwriter, wanna-be musical writer.” It helps that the two laugh at themselves as easily as they laugh at each other.
In addition to accepting each other’s differences, the two are willing to accept each other’s influence.
Similar to music videos he has been a part of in the past, like “Bottled In Cork”, Ted has implemented his trademark opening sketches and comedic captions into the music video for “Milwaukee”. It looks like the two welcome the challenge of creating videos and enjoy pioneering new territory together.
You can catch The Both for an energetic performance on the Fisher Green Stage at 8:00pm on Saturday. If you’re a Platinum Pass holder or if you go to our Music Lounge page to make a reservation, you can experience The Both in a more intimate setting when they perform inside the Bumbershoot Music Lounge presented by KEXP.