Words By Joey Rochert.
Hello, Thomas! Your new album, ‘Late To Bloom’, is described as unique, combining heart-tugging storylines with dance floor rhythms. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the album?
Hey there! It’s good to hear from you. Thanks for having me back and thank you for listening to the new music! Pop music literally runs through my veins, so I knew I wanted some of my favorite artists to inspire the album, like Lady Gaga and Tiesto. We’ve got Ava Max inspirations, The Weeknd vibes, some deep house inspos, but regardless of there being a wide array of sounds on this album, it’s still very cohesive, and I think that’s important when releasing a project this size.
The goal was always to write, record, and release a full-length LP, but I didn’t necessarily have an exact idea of how I wanted it to sound. I just did a lot of research to find sounds that I really liked, that I would want to incorporate into my music, and collaborating with Electropoint just came so easily. We just went one to two tracks at a time, and VOILA! We’re very proud of what we’ve made and it warms my heart to know that you all like it too. ❤️🔥
You’ve had a successful career in both the entertainment industry and the music industry. How do you find the balance between your work as an actor and a recording artist?
The past 10 years have been an invaluable journey in learning how to maneuver these very complex industries. I love modeling and I love acting, but the impacts of COVID and planning to have a family required me to dial back… and of course, the SAG-AFTRA writers’ strike has prevented us from getting back to work. The working conditions, in my past experience, have been awful in some cases, and the pay, at times, laughable. So I stand in solidarity with the union and hope they reach a fair agreement soon…
With all that going on, I took a second and thought hard about where my passions lie. Making music fuels my soul. I’m able to model in my cover art, act in my music videos, and write and sing about my life and my self-discovery, hoping to reach other people and connect through music. Now, I’m in complete control of my story. That’s what keeps my cup full and, fortunately, I can’t stop.
‘Late To Bloom’ features collaborations with several artists. Could you share your experiences working with them and how these collaborations shaped the album’s overall sound and vibe?
a couple collaborations on it. I’ve met so many creative and passionate people in my life, and I’ve found that working together is the absolute BEST way to learn.
When I briefly lived in LA, I reconnected with an old friend from college, Lizzie Allyn, who is also a singer/songwriter… and I told her that I had started writing some songs too! Naturally, we began talking about our styles and our goals… while, at the time, I was working on my ‘Fairy Tales’ track, where I write about a boy and a girl struggling to see eye to eye. And I thought to myself, “Wow! This could be a perfect first collaboration for the album!” We began bouncing ideas off each other, and when she told me her idea for the rap in the bridge, I was just like, “YES!” Lizzie’s always been so fun-loving and free-spirited, and being a superfan of fairy tales herself, it just felt like a perfect match. She brings an element of magic to the record that really completes it.
My next collab on the album was for ‘Free Fallin,’ with Nathanael Hall, who is a dear friend and electronic music enthusiast. Nathanael is the kind of friend who will sip on rosé and talk about music with me all day long, and get excited about the little things, or help me through any kinks or roadblocks I may be facing… so he did help influence a lot of my decisions having to do with the sound and vibe of the album, which ultimately led to us doing a song together; and that’s track 5, ‘Free Fallin’.
There are SO many memories from making this record… especially filming the music video. We drove 3 or 4 hours upstate to go camping in the deep wilderness for this shoot. As much “FUN” as it was making this, I just remember being SUPER uncomfortable almost the entire time… for example, it really wasn’t fun having to haul a 500-lb generator up and down the hill to the campsite since we had no power or electricity for lights, cameras, or recharging batteries… or maybe the worst part was filming the opening drone shot where I’m lying naked on basically a Brillo pad of grass with teeny tiny bugs crawling all over me? I remember the outfit made out of gauze and ace bandage kept coming undone and falling down – truly the WORST costume I’ve ever worn – but it was inspired by Lady Gaga’s caution tape look, so we just had to make it work! Oh, and did I mention the BEAR we saw on day one, less than 100 feet from camp? Nathanael was over by a bush and all of a sudden a black bear’s head pops up and stands on his hind legs! It eventually walked away down the mountain… but we were paranoid ALL weekend (and shooting at night was terrifying)! All in all, it was definitely one for the books and I’m so grateful for Nathanael, our friends, and cinematographer, for hanging with us through all that chaos.
The third collaboration on the record is with the super talented jazz and soul vocalist, EJ Garlands. EJ and I go back more than 10 years and have been through it all. We know each other’s families, we’ve spent Christmases together, and he was the Man of Honor in my wedding. We met in a small town and moved to the Big City to tackle our dreams together… so, we’re more than friends, we’re family. When we wrote “Cringe” together, it was a lot of fun because it’s FULL of inside jokes. Essentially, it’s a pride anthem, encouraging relentless self-expression no matter what the haters may think. No one’s going to bring us down; not friends, not family, and definitely not ex-lovers. I remember shooting the cover art for this song being a lot of fun. We got all dressed up in Club Kid outfits and fun makeup, and climbed all over the inside and outside of my Alfa Romeo in Astoria. Making art with EJ is always exciting; He never ceases to amaze me. I remember being in the studio, and he had prepared this 5-part harmony for the chorus that we hadn’t previously talked about, and it just blew me away! We’re all super happy with how it turned out.
I truly love learning from and collaborating with other artists. The result: an abundance of fun stories, memories, and better-than-you-could-have-imagined dance tracks!!
We have to also talk about Electropoint! He rocks on this album! How did that partnership come about?
Oh gosh! What a talent that man is. Yes – Back in 2019, during COVID and the whole world shutting down, I wasn’t working and I decided I needed to do something creative to stay sane. So I reached out to a friend in the biz and got an introduction to Electropoint, who is now my producer, dear friend, and collaborator. At this point, I know his style, he sees my vision, and now that we’re comfortable making music together, each track keeps getting better and better. It feels natural, but it’s still challenging, and we’re always growing… I love it!
Ah what the heck – I’ll share with you here exclusively that there are THREE new projects on the docket and we are pumped to release the first track for TC2 in 2024. Follow my Instagram @iamthomascole or visit www.iamthomascole.com to stay in the loop! 🤩
Photo Credit: Thomas Cole.