PHILDELPHIA -- To commemorate Teddy Pendergrass' memory and the mission of inspiration he was leading upon his untimely passing, Teddy's ongoing production company TED ON MUSIC recently debuted "I Am Who I Am" - a previously unreleased song that was among the last that Pendergrass recorded in his lifetime. "I AM Who I AM", hit the radio airwaves and other broadcast outlets on the late music legend's 61st Birthday (March 26), receiving overwhelming positive reactions from fans and the music industry worldwide. Composed by Teddy Pendergrass with his longtime friend and Musical Director Bill Jolly, the song is an inspirational and autobiographical gem for which Pendergrass plumbed the depths of his soul to share his spiritual essence and the source of his Heavenly fortitude.
Three-time Emmy-winning composer/arranger/musical director/keyboardist Bill Jolly - who directed the Sony/PBS/Live Nation television special "Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia" - shares, "Teddy told me, ‘I want to share a song about my life that will inspire people by shedding light on the times I was regretful, yet how I found strength and self-acceptance down the line. I want this song to live on long after I am gone.'"
Dynamically produced with additional arrangements by multi-platinum producer Herb Middleton (Al Green, Mary J. Blige & Usher) and vocal support from Jeff Smith's Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale, it is a rapturous performance - buoyed by bluesy guitar and gospel grace - that will touch the souls of all who hear it with a compassionate heart. The single is available via iTunes (worldwide), Amazon.com, Rhapsody and most digital outlets. A percentage of proceeds will go to the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, which provides opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injuries.
Pendergrass wrote the song expressly for inclusion in the biographical film of his life that he was helping to develop. "I Am Who I Am" was intended to sum up and reflect his feelings after having gone through his earthly trials and tribulations, yet still came out feeling victorious and strong.
"It was long ago but it seems like only yesterday / When I thought my life was over and done / But now that time has passed and I see things so differently / It took a long time for me to understand / I am who I am / I'm more than just what you see / No one can discourage me / See I am just what I am / And it's all a part of God's plan / So here I stand still the same man / I am who I am"
Teddy's widow, Joan Pendergrass, states, "Feeling incredibly whole and wanting to express to his fans the truth about his struggles and triumphs, he wrote these lyrics with no regrets for the world to hear... and he was proud about it. Forget his disability! When he recorded this song 25 years after the accident, he was standing tall in his spirit... still the same man... declaring ‘I Am Who I Am.' This song should be an inspiration to all."
Originally recorded in the summer of 2006, "I Am Who I Am" was never released to the public until now. He only performed it once at the "Teddy 25" anniversary event in Philadelphia that celebrated his milestone year of life post the car accident that rendered him paralyzed from the neck down.
The Estate of Theodore D. Pendergrass is proudly moving forward with its plans to produce the major motion picture "I Am Who I Am: The Teddy Pendergrass Story." Young singer Tyrese Gibson (a.k.a. "Tyrese") was personally tapped by Teddy to be in this picture because both men had a mutual admiration for each other. Teddy took Tyrese under his wing, and Tyrese respectfully referred to Teddy as "Pops." The film is tentatively slated to begin shooting in Philadelphia and Toronto before year's end.
Joan Pendergrass concludes, "Ted and I met on Easter Sunday and were spiritually connected ever since. He considered me a Godsend... his ‘Soul Mate.' He was all-man to me. And with me, he felt like a complete man again. We truly found a ‘50/50 Love.' We inspired each other..."
"Now I stand for Teddy Pendergrass - his legacy and his dreams. ‘I Am Who I Am' is more than just another radio single. It's about pride. While he was here, my Teddy endured - laughed, loved and lived life to the fullest. At times when I lose hope and feel like I cannot go on, I think of how my Teddy - my love, my rock - persevered. This song and the major motion picture we are about to create will reveal that same power that Teddy felt to the world."