Tomi Thomas a Nigerian born music artist whose childhood spans between Kano, Lagos, and Atlanta, which he largely attributes his broad music influences to; has a sound that is a fusion of hip hop, Afro-beat, house and high life on electronic beat which creates a symphonic soulful sound to vibe to. Citing God as his number one Muse, Tomi is seeking to shift the conversation of music from just sound to an expression of feelings that inspire people across the world.
On his quest to explore sound, his recent music project The Black Couch Vol 1 LP is a 15 track journey. Tomi Thomas takes us through a melodious range of emotions. Opening with Waging War, a tune reminiscent of Damian Marley on Distant Relatives fading into trap sounds and ending in a little bit of soul. The Long Play is a music experience deserving of repeat listens as even the features give a glimpse of Nigeria’s new sound which elaborates on music being more than a sound and more of a feeling.
Its 12 noon (local Nigerian time) on a Thursday and Tomi Thomas is playing from a white grand piano belting out a tune he later confesses to be an old song he had forgotten but suddenly feels inspired to sing.
This begs the question of where an artist like Tomi finds inspiration. Tomi is more popularly known as the fourth member of boy group LOS (Loud on Sound), whose massive hit song Bad Guy P enjoyed massive circulation in 2013. He has since gone solo as an Indie artist following his first 9 track EP Patience released in 2014. Black Couch Vol 1 has since been released in early July and will serve as his second body of work.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
The most challenging thing about making music is discipline.
Being able to commit to it, in the music industry anyone who’s making it right now still commits to the hard work.
Where does the music start from, the words or the sound?
The feeling, I follow the vibe the beat gives me.
What instruments do you play?
The piano, drums and guitar.
I play the guitar best.
Talking about The Black Couch LP, He calls the tape a mashup of Hip-hop, Reggae and Soul.
What were you trying to achieve with this LP?
I was trying to push myself and improve the experience of the music. Fusing these different genres of music: It’s hip-hop, there’s reggae and some soul in it.
Hinting on new music…
I’m actually working on an Afro House Tape as well as Vol 2 of The Black Couch in November…Just wait on it.
Why are you taking Black Couch Vol 1 on Tour?
To make the music available for the experience, the last time I was on tour was with LOS, Dammy Krane and Rock Steady. We went on the road with Samsung and I have to say it was a crazy experience. One of the nights the crowd barely knew who we were but we gave out things on stage and that just made them go wild and they rocked with us.
This time, it’s a little different. It’s more intimate of course because it’s just me, the band and the audience. The sound and the performance is being appreciated and the turn out has been consistent.
I’m currently touring in Lagos, last leg was at “Industry Nite” last week and now the tour goes to the mainland and then Dubai towards the end of August.
Pick an artist dead or alive you’d like to work with.
Bob Marley- Genius!
Fela- Such a Genius!
Eminem- can’t believe I didn’t say that first
Celine Dion- I think she’s absolutely amazing
What do you think is the future of the “Nigerian sound” beyond “Afro music”?
Real niggas get the real skills cracking….(chuckles) seriously, skills would come out and nothing can lie about that.
What is the ultimate fulfillment from your music?
To affect lives positively in any way or form
Do you do any community related work?
There’s physical power and brain power….I don’t necessarily do any physical community work right now but the work I put into my words for my music? That’s brain work! I do it for the community! To educate, to empower, to inspire!…that counts as community work.
Does your personal style affect your music and vice versa?
My music is me, I try to be honest and politically honest. There are some things I wouldn’t say and some things I’ll say and you’d never expect it.
Do you #BuyNigerian?
Of course! If it’s good quality, I support it, I saw a leather made in Nigeria bag recently, the quality was mad!
Where can we buy your music?
*Laughs* EVERYWHERE! Anywhere you can buy music, even on Xbox and Playstation YES! Apple Music, Tidal, really everywhere. Big ups to Urban Mass they distribute my music.
There’s a whole league of Nigerian artists on the rise changing the experience of Nigerian music by promoting live experiences and growing an organic audience by making the most out of Soundcloud. This allows you enjoy free music legally! Don’t forget to support your local artist #TomiThomasOnApple.
I like to explore sounds and The Black Couch LP was really impressive to me. Make sure you check out @TomiThomas on social media for his next stop and share your experience of his music with us on Twitter @Nigerianreportr.