My Musical Journey ~ by Tobiah Thomas

I was given my first guitar at the age of 14 and it felt like an old
Tobiah Thomas
friend. Songs flowed and I began performing then in local folk clubs in the North of England. University intervened and I began writing in earnest in my late twenties.
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Love and loss have long been a theme of my music, born out of difficult personal circumstances that saw me grow up not knowing my birth father and losing my first husband, Julian, at the age of 26.  

I’ve found the creative process – both writing and performing – to be very healing because it allows me to connect and express my feelings with others who have shared similar experiences. I always knew that I was helped through that difficult time, but it was only recently, when I wrote the title track of my latest album, Are We Angels, that I made sense of it all. 

This song speaks of those small, random acts of kindness, often from complete strangers, which helped me so much through my
bereavement. I had been married to Julian, who was also a musician, at the age of 21, for six years and we moved to London from Plymouth to break into the music business. But an undiscovered congenital heart problem led to his sudden and devastating death. He died in my arms.
Julian always bought me a dress at Christmas. It was our tradition and I wanted to continue it the Christmas following his death. I collected the dress from the shop on Christmas Eve then realised as I walked away that I hadn’t paid. I rushed back but the shop owner ushered me out and wouldn’t take payment. As I walked away it began to snow, big flakes like confetti, just as it had snowed on the day my husband died. It was then that I realised the dress was a gift and I had a smile on my face through the tears.

I wrote a song about this called Golden Christmas Time which I often include in my concerts, and will be releasing this year as a Christmas single on December 4th.  


 Golden Christmas Time

My songs are very visual, about experiences in my life or a story that has caught my imagination. Lyrics are important – I could never write a song that didn’t move me. Quite often, a complete song will just ‘arrive’ in my head, which always amazes me, and I think, ‘Where did that come from?’ Sometimes a song will take time to fully emerge and a good example of this is Apples- the Long Goodbye. Originally about the seasons and cycles of the year, it became about waiting with my beautiful and inspiring Mother who is in the final stages of dementia. She gave me the love of singing and telling stories and Are We Angels is dedicated to her.

Shoulder to Shoulder courtesy of YouTube

During my career I was signed to Chrysalis Music, where one of my songs became the subject of a tussle between Janet Jackson and Will Smith: both wanted to record it. He rang to plead for the track and called me a “happening up babe” – which was ironic as 30 minutes before the call I had been up to my eyes in jelly, helping at the local school’s Christmas party!  

I was signed earlier to a top manager Brian Freshwater (Joss Stone, Foy Vance), and also worked with talented and influential musicians and producers, including Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy, Rod Argent, Derek Bramble( David Bowie/American idol) and Robin Black (Cat Stevens, Paul McCartney, June Tabor)
Are We Angels, mixed by the afore-mentioned Robin Black,
features a group of celebrated musicians including the cellist Caroline Lavelle (Loreena Mckennitt/De Dannan), twice All-Ireland award-winning piano accordionist Colette O’Leary, Rowan Piggott on fiddle and Simon Callow on keyboards who also play with me live.

The opening track Kiss Kiss celebrates those fragile uplifting moments that should be treasured and recounts the legend of Native American mothers forced to march from Georgia to Oklahoma, a poignant and plaintive track that resonates strongly with my audiences. Coldest Night of the Year captures my own sufferings in my 20s. People really connect with my songs. We have all felt like the girl in Coldest, the loneliest person in a crowded room as we struggle with grief or sadness. 

I love all animals especially bears and all profits from the album are being donated to the charity Animals Asia, which is committed to ending cruelty to (Asian) animals, a cause close to my heart.  I never knew my birth father but treasure his one gift to me, a teddy bear. I first heard about the terrible treatment of the moon bears through a Wiltshire artist was holding a charity auction of her pictures for Animals Asia. I was so moved by their plight that I immediately wrote a song called Moon Bear, which I sang at that event.

It is so lovely that every track on Are We Angels has been played across the BBC and FM stations and has been featured in the press and on TV including, The Irish Post and London Live TV. A track is also featured on the prestigious FATEA 2019 Winter Showcase Sessions album:Adventure, which is free to download. CLICK HERE

I love playing in wonderfully diverse venues that include ancient churches, medieval halls and historic houses and was recently invited by the National Trust to the ancient site of Avebury, 500 years older than the neighbouring Stonehenge in Wiltshire, to give the first- ever concert in their restored Chapel. It would be a dream to include some special American dates on our 2020: Secret Places Tour so, if you’d like us to come, please get in contact!

Are We Angels features nine original songs, written and produced by TOBIAH and recorded in her cottage studio overlooking the Sussex downs, with all profits going to charity.

Tobiah would love hearing from you. You may reach her at the links below.




2 comments:

  1. Thrilled to have you as our guest today. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. What a beautiful gift! Your music is brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Welcome, Tobiah! It's so nice to have you here. Your music is wonderful. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    ReplyDelete

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