Theo Katzman

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Theo Katzman
Theo Katzman-at-crystal-ballroom-may-26-2017.jpg
Background information
Born1986 (age 32–33)[citation needed]
New York City, U.S.
GenresIndie rock, folk-rock, pop, soul, funk
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, drums, bass guitar
Years active2007–present
Associated actsDarren Criss, Vulfpeck, Ella Riot

Theo Katzman (born 1986) is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer based in Los Angeles, California. His musical style ranges from pop to indie rock, with multiple areas in between. He is a member of Vulfpeck and has contributed to the works of several artists as songwriter and producer. Katzman has released two studio albums. His latest album Heartbreak Hits was released in January 2017.


Katzman grew up in a musical family on Long Island, New York.[1] His father, Lee Katzman, was a jazz trumpet player and would take him to rehearsals at an early age.[2] Around age twelve he started playing drums, guitar and writing songs.[3] In 2004 Katzman moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and studied jazz at the University of Michigan.[4] In 2005 he joined the instrumental group Toolbox which evolved into the band Ella Riot.[5] Katzman toured with the band from 2007 to 2010.[2] 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 and focused on his own singing and songwriting.[2] He formed the trio Love Massive. The group performed regularly and opened at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival in 2011.[4] Katzman released an EP titled Solo Acoustic in 2010 and released his first studio album Romance Without Finance in 2011.[6][7] In late 2011 he moved to Brooklyn and released music videos of two of his songs, "Hard For You" and "Brooklyn".[8] In 2012 he opened for several artists including Vanessa Carlton, Matisyahu and Vienna Teng.[9][10] In 2013 he was the musical director and the opening act for Darren Criss on his national tour, Listen Up.[11][12] In 2013 he released a single titled "Pop Song".[7]

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 he co-wrote several songs for an album by Darren Criss.[13][14] He performs with the Irish-fusion band The Olllam, funk band Vulfpeck, and solo.[15][16]

Katzman released a single titled "Hard Work" in October 2016.[17] Katzman's second studio album Heartbreak Hits was released in January 2017. According to Katzman, the album's concept is heartbreak and loss.[14] A review by Lee Zimmerman noted the album's "upbeat" tone despite the underlying lyrical concept.[18]

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.[19]


Katzman grew up listening to classic rock and soul music.[6] His influences include soul, R&B, funk, rock and folk.[4] As a songwriter, a primary focus for Katzman is a song's lyrical concept. 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.[2][3]


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.[1] The band has released four EPs and four studio albums.[20]


Studio albums

Live albums

  • My Heart Is Live in Berlin (2019)

Extended plays

  • Solo Acoustic (2010)
  • Theo Katzman on Audiotree Live (2018)


  • "Pop Song" (2013)
  • "Hard Work" (2016)
  • "My Heart Is Dead" (2016)
  • "You Could Be President" (2019)

With Vulfpeck

  • 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)

With Ella Riot

Production and writing credits

Year Artist Album Song Notes
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
"Home" drums, co-writer
"Figure It Out" drums, guitar
"Ordinary Man" drums, guitar
"Happier" drums, bass
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)
2015 Vérité N/A "Wasteland" bass, guitar
2017 Kesha Rainbow "Rainbow" percussion

Personal life[edit]

Katzman's father was a jazz trumpet player with The Tonight Show Band. Katzman's maternal grandparents were both classical musicians with the Detroit Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra.[3]


  1. ^ a b Danny Hazan (May 18, 2015). "Can't Fake the Funk". Medium. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Former My Dear Disco guitarist finding own sound". The Herald Palladium. February 18, 2010. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Theo Katzman – Music, What Is It?". Success Circuit. January 27, 2014. Archived from the original on February 21, 2016. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Roger LeLievre (January 25, 2011). "Local indie rocker Theo Katzman excited to be Ann Arbor Folk Festival opener Friday night". The Ann Arbor News. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  5. ^ "Exit interview: Ella Riot's Tyler Duncan". A.V. Club. October 11, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Patrick Dunn (November 2, 2011). "Theo Katzman – Interview". A.V. Club. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Nicole Massabrook (October 9, 2013). "Theo Katzman Rocks NYC". The Outlook. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  8. ^ Rae Votta (November 13, 2013). "Theo Katzman Haunts His Ex Through Advertisements in "Hard For You" Video". VH1. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  9. ^ Caitlyn Brody (February 27, 2012). "I'm Playing Theo Katzman on Repeat, And You Should Be, Too!". Glamour. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  10. ^ "Theo Katzman opens for Vienna Teng at THE ARK". September 26, 2012. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  11. ^ Rae Votta (June 6, 2013). "Theo Katzman Tour Diary: A Day In The Life of Darren Criss' Opening Act". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  12. ^ Jenn McKee (June 13, 2013). "Darren Criss and Theo Katzman thrill capacity crowd at Michigan Theater". The Ann Arbor News. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  13. ^ "'Voice' Runner-Up Michelle Chamuel Talks Reality TV Arcs and Usher's Best Lessons". Billboard Magazine. February 2, 2015. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Kendall Deflin (November 7, 2016). "Vulfpeck's Theo Katzman Discusses The Timing & Inspiration For New Solo Album 'Heartbreak Hits'". Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  15. ^ "ATLANTIC I/O: the olllam, michelle chamuel, padraig rynne, jeremy kittel". April 25, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  16. ^ Natalie Fisher (November 8, 2012). "Video: Darren Criss plays secret show with Theo Katzman at Hotel Cafe". Hypable. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  17. ^ Kendall Deflin (October 18, 2016). "Then & Now: Theo Katzman Discusses What It Means To Be Vulfpeck". Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  18. ^ Lee Zimmerman (April 4, 2017). "Theo Katzman: Heartbreak Hits". Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  19. ^ Corey Brown (October 12, 2019). "Theo Katzman: You Could Be President". Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  20. ^ Vulfpeck releases:

External links[edit]