THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up with T. Thomason for a special interview.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
My parents always say that I was singing since I could talk, and I’ve been writing down the songs I would make up since I could write. When I was 12 I taught myself guitar after moving to a new town and having very few friends at first. When I was 13 my parents’ friends heard me playing at a dinner party and told us we should visit their friend who had a recording studio. I released my first album at 14 and people liked it so I just kept going.
I think I was drawn to music/the music industry because it was a great way to express feelings that were sometimes hard to talk about or address in regular, day to day life. I still feel that way.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
It comes back to expression, for me. In my music I think I’m always trying to crystalize feelings or moments which are hard to put into words, easy to shy away from or overlook. So many of which are universal to the human experience. I think I’m driven by the hope to perfectly capture things I’ve experienced or noticed in the world, and then hear people say “yeah, I’ve felt that way too”.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
I’d love to do a big stint of touring all over the world with different bands that I love. I’d also very much like to be able to support myself financially on just my music and stay independent as much as possible!
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
I’m actually looking at setting up some live shows around the east coast of Canada now that the COVID stuff is settling down here a little bit. We’ll see!!
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
I just released Loser Part II with Ria Mae at the end of May. It’s part of what I call “The Part II Project”. This is a series of reimagined versions of singles from my self-titled album which dropped in September 2019. I invited a few of my artistic mentors to add their own fingerprints to certain songs from the record and breathe new life into them. I’m so excited about how its been going, it’s been so fun to work with all the guests! So far I have King of Spades Pt. II ft. Rose Cousins and Loser Pt. II w. Ria Mae, and there are more on the way!
I’d say my music is like indie-pop but has a lot of singer/songwriter influences and tendencies as well.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
My process has changed so much over the years. From writing alone with my acoustic guitar, to working with a producer, to being in sessions with 3 other writers. I find the really good and true songs are the ones that creep up and hit me when I’m alone. I have to stop whatever it is I’m doing and just let it come out or I’ll miss it. It’s hard to say what triggers that. If I knew I’d be making sure to set it up every day!
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
I think my music is generally telling a story and hopefully prompting people to reflect on their own lives/relationships and feel less alone in their experiences.
Success, what is the secret to it?
Realistic goals, patience, kindness, percistence, practice, dumb luck.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
That’s so hard to say… There have been some amazing shows like playing the Bell Centre with Marie Mai or performing at Parliament Hill last year on Canada Day… Honestly though, I am incredibly proud of how the Part II Project is going. I’m working with a really amazing team, and we have had success we hadn’t even anticipated or planned for. This was the first project with the current team formation I have, and it feels so good to see everyone work together so well to such great results. I’m feeling pretty proud of my Spotify billboard at Yonge and Dundas in Toronto at the moment too!
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
I love Tegan and Sara. I think they have done a great job of blending their music careers with incredibly important activism. They’re great writers, great performers, and they give back. That inspires me a lot.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
There’s always new projects in the pipeline.
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
Hopefully being able to travel again! I’d really like to get back to the UK and pick up on some work I had rolling there. I’d also like to get over to Australia for some shows!
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
My favourite part of this work is being an independent artist, being in control of my team, my music, and everything that goes out with my name on it. My least favourite part is probably also all of those things haha somedays you just wanna write and not worry about anything else!
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
Okay, I’m going to start with a producer – Alex Hope. Alex produced my song HOPE (she didn’t write it, just a coincidence haha) which I got the opportunity to release after winning a Canadian reality TV show called “The Launch”. She was so great to work with, so thoughtful and open and fun.
Next I would have to say Troye Sivan. I know he was born in South Africa but hasn’t Australia claimed him at this point??
Angus and Julia Stone have been a staple for me for many years. I wrote a song for Julia once! Absolutely obsessed with ‘Just a Boy’.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
The music industry is honestly all over the place. It really depends on which circles you move in, where you live, who you are/who people think you are, etc. I simultaneously hate and love this industry and I’m learning all the time that it’s like anything – be intentional about who you surround yourself with. Get to know people before you dive deep and commit to a lot. All that kind of thing.
In terms of social media, I’m grateful for it. I think it has made it much easier to be an indie artist. It also makes me cringe very deeply in my soul on a lot of days, but again, life is full of paradoxes, isn’t it?
How will you continue appealing to the international market?
Until touring is a thing again, I think social media will be a huge part of this. I really enjoy live streams because so many people from different places can join at once. Just a matter of making it line up with all your target time zones!
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
Absolutely! That’s what the Part II Project is all about. Wish list? Hum… Tegan and Sara would be great, I just discovered an artist from LA who I’m OBSESSED WITH called Bronze Avery, I’d love to do something with him. Speaking of LA – obviously Kim Petras.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
I think I’d say be patient with yourself and trust your gut. Simple, but effective.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
Thank you so much for the incredible energy you give me online, and in person when we are able to do shows!! It is a real frickin thrill to create spaces with you that feel safe and like a little bubble of joy and growth and openness in a world that doesn’t always feel like it prioritizes those things.
Any last words?
Thank you so much for having me and for the great questions!