Our Daily Breather: Maintaining Sanity During A Pandemic In Our Daily Breather, we ask writers and artists to recommend ways to find calm in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Teddy Thompson has been sending personalized videos to friends and fans.
NPR logo Teddy Thompson On Making Music To Send As Gifts During The Pandemic

Teddy Thompson On Making Music To Send As Gifts During The Pandemic

Teddy Thompson. Gary Waldman/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Gary Waldman/Courtesy of the artist

Teddy Thompson.

Gary Waldman/Courtesy of the artist

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Teddy Thompson

Where: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Recommendation: Learn something new and share it


I have been quarantining alone at home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

I wake up at around 8:30 a.m. each morning. It was 7:30 a.m. for the first week, and I expect it to push to 9:30 a.m. soon. I've always been one to jump out of bed as soon as I open my eyes. Put on gym clothes and get out of the house. Now I stay in bed and read the news headlines. First the New York Times for actual news and then The Daily Mail for gossip and fear-mongering (and the irrational hope that there will be some football/soccer news).

After lingering au lit for an hour or so, I do get up and I do put on gym clothes and I head out to the only coffee place still open in my neighborhood (shout out to Playground Coffee Shop!) It's a 15-minute walk and I'm glad of it. I put on my face mask before entering and get my macchiato, then I sit outside and catch up on my Scrabble Go games. Once I've kicked, like, eight peoples asses I head home and do something musical.

Teddy Thompson's Recommendation

Teddy Thompson recommends learning something new that can help others. He's been taking requests, learning to play songs and recording videos of them. Here are a few he says were gratifying and fun to sing for others:

  • "From Me To You" by The Beatles
  • "Michelle" by The Beatles
  • "Real Love" by The Beatles
  • "Let's Think About Living" by Bob Luman
  • "Love Her For That" by Teddy Thompson

Week 1 ( or was it week 2? What day is it?) I started learning and posting a Beatles song every day. You think you know them, but you don't. They are full of tricky bits. Of course they made it sound effortless. This gave me a project to take up the meaty part of the day, 12-4 p.m.-ish. Very satisfying.

The next week, I took video requests for my own songs (and some covers), mostly for doctors and nurses and the elderly. It was lovely, it was moving! To hear from people all over the world with friends and family working on the front lines in medicine, or stuck indoors with underlying health issues, made me realize how lucky I am to just have to stay home. And to feel useful and to contribute is what I need for myself.

Late afternoon, if the weather is good, I finally make use of the gym clothes I'm wearing and go across to the park. I hit a tennis ball against the wall for half an hour or so. A surprisingly good workout; the wall is very consistent. This is also a good time to practice the trick shots. My "tweener" is really coming along.


Teddy Thompson, Heartbreaker Please, is out May 29. You can check out clips and bloopers from his quarantine request videos below.

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