The Musician Spotlight Series shines a light on up-and-coming bands and solo acts creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their music, their collaborators, and why they do what they do.
Canadian singer/pianist Theo Tams won the final season of Canadian Idol ten years ago. With the release of his new EP, Theo is stretching himself as a songwriter and being more true to himself than ever.
When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
I guess in some ways, I’ve always known. Growing up in Southern Alberta, I never really fit the mold of what was necessarily expected of me. When the other kids were playing football, I would be off writing poems somewhere. Creativity has always been an outlet for me.
Are you trained? How did you develop your skills?
I actually was trained operatically for a number of years in University. I gave it up though because there was too much a focus on technique rather than creativity, it’s a really beautiful art form but I missed the writing aspect and telling my own stories.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I loved the Canadian songstresses of the 90s, Jann Arden, Sarah Mclachlan, Alanis Morisette, etc. More recently the music that is coming out of the UK; Adele, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, James Bay- all are such brilliant writers and huge vocalists.
Tell us about your Canadian Idol experience and how it affected your career.
Idol was an amazing experience- I met a lot of incredible people and it was kind of a crash course in the inner workings on the industry. Music Industry 101 haha. Long term it’s kind of proven to be a bit of a double-edged sword, in some ways it opened a lot of doors, in other ways, it’s been hard to move past the stigma of being a Canadian Idol winner. There is so many more layers to me as a person and as an artist that have nothing to do with that show and I’m really excited for people to hear the new single and new EP and hear the growth.
How would you describe your sound for your new single “Strangers”?
“Strangers” is a bit of a foray into different territory for me, musically speaking. I wanted to start exploring with more soulful sounds and soulful melodies. Still something really vocal-driven but bringing in some old school RnB vibes that I’m really inspired by.
What’s your favourite tune in your repertoire and why?
If you asked me this question before the creation of this EP I’d have a really different answer but I don’t think I can choose! Every song on the upcoming EP is so important to me, and there were probably another 5 or 6 songs that we just didn’t have the room for, or they just didn’t fit that meant so much to me too. That’s the hard part of creating a project like this, so many little song babies don’t make the cut haha. I’m excited to know what everyone else’s favorite will be, it’s too hard for me to choose.
What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?
My live shows are very intimate, and really emotional. I think they’re intense in a good way and I want people to feel like my stories are there stories. We’ll do some laughing together and do some crying together. Bring tissues.
Where can we find your music?
All the internet goodness! Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube. We also will have physical copies of the EP for sale.