Tommy Thompson’s country music singing career was launched at sea, following a comment from an audience member. While on a cruise, he entered a talent show contest and won it. “There was a guy in the audience whose son was a drummer from Nashville, and he said, ‘I really think you should go to Nashville.’ So, kind of a light bulb went off above my head and I said, ‘I think I’ll do that.’ And I did. I’m pretty fly by night like that; I’m spontaneous and adventurous,” laughs Tommy.
Growing up on the outskirts of Tampa, Florida, music played an integral role for Tommy, “I had a pretty simple life, and didn’t have a lot of money, just kind of bored. My dad was really into music so that’s what we did for fun. We put in old records. I was kind of the goofy kid, all skinny and dorky.”
“I have been singing pretty much my whole childhood, growing up I did the chorus thing in school. It never really dawned on me because I’d just always done it. It was never an epiphany thing saying, yes, this is what you need to be doing.”
“Once I could get into the bars and clubs, I started going in and doing all the drinking and partying scene. I got into doing a lot of karaoke and I was content with that because I was getting to do what I loved and being in front of people. I was more of a rock n roll front man than a country singer, so I never had a guitar, never had a need for a guitar, because I was always moving around, jumping around like a fool.”
“I went into the Army right after I got out of school. Stayed in there for three years. The army taught me that I did not like taking orders, so I try to get on my own no matter what,” says Tommy whose need for independence didn’t vanish with his Army discharge, “A friend of mine did sub-contracting for flooring, carpet, wood. I figured, why work for other people, make them rich, when I could make myself rich instead, so my friend and I opened our own company.”
That decision served him well and before he moved to Nashville, he and his wife decided to see, first hand, the country he had served, “My wife and I bought an RV and we traveled the entire country for about a year, that’s all we did. That was one of the most awesome things, like going on a permanent camping trip. We loved it.”
When his cruise encounter launched him in to another adventure, he packed up and moved to Nashville. After meeting producer Donny Clark, he produced his first single and started searching for band members. “ I had it on Craig’s List. I got a bunch of guys to come and audition. It’s not that I was any better than them, that they had to audition for me, but guys started coming out and I finally got a band put together. At the point that you can finally start playing out on Broadway and the local bar scene, you can finally start getting a little bit of recognition. You can get a pretty good fan base from myspace and the other websites, but it’s not until you get out on stage in front of people that they start seeing who you are.”
“I started meeting this person and that person. One day I met a guy named Marcus Bostwick. I don’t know that he liked me, to be honest with you, but he eventually became my manager. He’s with TYS Entertainment Group.” Tommy and Marcus are working together to get Tommy’s music heard.
“I try to be sort of a happy go lucky type of person and I think I show that on stage. I think people enjoy that. I don’t think you have to be the best singer in the world to be a great entertainer. I think that’s how I try to separate myself, I try to be a great entertainer as opposed to the greatest singer. Though, of course, I like to think that people like my songs and my singing! I think a huge part of what we do as artists is to entertain, not just to sing to you. If you’re not entertained then you’re bored.”
“I love to make people laugh; I love to see people smile. When someone gets up and dances, or I see someone in the audience singing my song back to me, there’s no bigger thrill than that to me. Nothing that I have experienced in my life gives me the same adrenaline rush as being on stage in front of people. Now, if they don’t like it, of course, that’s a whole different type of adrenaline.”
“I just want to be able to make a living making music. I don’t expect to get rich. I aspire to become nationwide or worldwide, but I’m pretty happy and content. As long as people enjoy what I’m doing, I’ll keep doing it. If I could earn enough money to support my family and have the things that I need, I’ll be happy. I believe that all music should come straight from the heart. So whatever I’m feeling that day, that’s where my song comes from. There’s just such a lock on your senses with music.”
Tommy Thompson plays in just the key to set them free.