Theo Katzman (born April 2, 1986) is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer based in Los Angeles, California. His musical style is a fusion of pop, jazz, funk and indie rock. He is a member of Vulfpeck and has contributed to the works of several artists as songwriter and producer. Katzman has released three studio albums. His latest album Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in The Age of Vibe was released in January 2020.
Katzman grew up in a musical family in Manhasset, New York. His father, Lee Katzman, was a jazz trumpet player and would take him to rehearsals at an early age. Around age twelve he started playing drums, guitar and writing songs. In 2004, Katzman moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and studied jazz at the University of Michigan. In 2005, he joined the instrumental group Toolbox which evolved into the band Ella Riot. Katzman toured with the band from 2007 to 2010. During this period, the band released an EP titled My Dear Disco and an album titled Dancethink.
In early 2010, Katzman pursued a solo career to focus on his singing and songwriting. He formed the trio Love Massive, who performed regularly and opened at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival in 2011. Katzman released an EP titled Solo Acoustic in 2010 and released his first studio album Romance Without Finance in 2011. In late 2011, he moved to Brooklyn and released music videos for two of his songs, "Hard For You" and "Brooklyn". In 2012, he opened for several artists including Vanessa Carlton, Matisyahu and Vienna Teng. In 2013, he was the musical director and the opening act for Darren Criss on his national tour, Listen Up, and released a single titled "Pop Song".
Katzman has worked with several artists as a songwriter and producer. He co-wrote and produced Face the Fire, an album by Michelle Chamuel, and co-wrote several songs for an album by Darren Criss. He performs with the Irish-fusion band The Olllam, funk band Vulfpeck, and as a solo act.
Katzman released a single titled "Hard Work" in October 2016. Katzman's second studio album Heartbreak Hits was released in January 2017. According to Katzman, the album's concept was about heartbreak and loss. A review by Lee Zimmerman noted the album's "upbeat" tone despite the underlying lyrical concept.
In October 2019, Katzman released a single titled "You Could Be President", a preview of his third studio album Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in the Age of Vibe. The album was released in January 2020 under the label, Ten Good Songs.
Katzman grew up listening to classic rock and soul music. His influences include soul, R&B, funk, rock and folk. As a songwriter, a primary focus for Katzman is a song's lyrical theme. He writes parts for guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. His favorite songwriters are those who "capture a moment in cultural time", such as Frank Ocean, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon.
In addition to his solo work, Katzman is a member of the funk band Vulfpeck. Formed in 2011, Vulfpeck is a four piece instrumental group made of Katzman on guitar, drums and vocals, Jack Stratton on keyboards, drums and guitar, Woody Goss on keyboards, and Joe Dart on bass. The band has released four EPs and four studio albums.
- Romance Without Finance (2011)
- Heartbreak Hits (2017)
- Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in The Age of Vibe (2020)
- My Heart Is Live in Berlin (2019)
- Solo Acoustic (2010)
- Theo Katzman on Audiotree Live (2018)
- Modern Johnny Tackles the Issues (2019)
- Modern Johnny Wallows in Introspection and Gently Goes Mad (2019)
- "Pop Song" (2013)
- "Hard Work" (2016)
- "My Heart Is Dead" (2016)
- "You Could Be President" (2019)
- Mit Peck EP (2011)
- Vollmilch EP (2012)
- My First Car EP (2013)
- Fugue State EP (2014)
- Thrill of the Arts (2015)
- The Beautiful Game (2016)
- Mr. Finish Line (2017)
- Hill Climber (2018)
- Live at Madison Square Garden (2019)
- "The Joy of Music. The Job of Real Estate." (2020)
With Ella Riot
- Dancethink (2009)
Production and writing credits
|2012||Anna Ash||These Holy Days||"Heartbreak Season"||drums, bass, co-producer|
|"Shoot Me With Your Best Shot"||drums, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals, co-producer|
|"These Holy Days"||drums, percussion, vocals, co-producer|
|2012||Hannah Winkler||N/A||"Hide It Away"||co-producer, bass, guitar, snare drum|
|2013||Teddy Geiger||The Last Fears||"Ordinary Man"||drums, additional arranging|
|"Figure It Out"||drums, guitar|
|"Ordinary Man"||drums, guitar|
|2013||Michelle Chamuel||N/A||"Go Down Singing"||co-producer, bass, guitar, snare drum, writer|
|2013||Chrystian Rawk||N/A||"Famous"||co-producer, drums, acoustic guitar, electric guitar|
|2014||Dylan Saunders||Confluence||N/A||co-writer (tracks 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11), backing vocals (tracks 1, 3)|
|2014||Jason French||N/A||"You Just Want My Money"||co-writer, co-producer, backing vocals, bass, guitar, drums|
|2015||Michelle Chamuel||Face the Fire||N/A||writer, performer, producer (all tracks)|
|2020||Carly Rae Jepsen||Dedicated Side B||"Window"||bass, backing vocals, drums, guitar, co-writer|
Katzman's father, Lee Katzman, was a jazz trumpet player with The Tonight Show Band and the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Katzman's maternal grandparents were both classical musicians with the Detroit Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra.