Many would argue great music is an expression of pure emotion in a universal language that has no boundaries. Clearly, this is the force moving through the stunningly innovative singer/songwriter Toby TomTom. Toby’s distinctive style of music is driven by the lyrical honesty and simplicity of folk combined with the grit and grind of Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul, and Rock.
Originally from Akron, Ohio, Toby attended college on a trumpet scholarship. After graduation, he moved to NYC for an internship with Epic Records. Post internship, Toby teamed with his brother to introduce a young, undiscovered Alicia Keys to radio; won the ASCAP Abe Olman Award for Most Promising Songwriter (an honor also won by John Legend), had his songs featured in the Off-Broadway play The Obeah Symphony (The Billie Holiday Theater in Brooklyn), and has had his work published internationally. He is a multifaceted musician – singing, playing trumpet, guitar, bass, drums, and piano.
Tomorrow Yesterday, Toby’s new release available at https://linktr.ee/tobytomtom and on all streaming platforms, was inspired by a philosophical post-game interview given by NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. This forward-looking composition, available on all streaming platforms, seamlessly melds genres to make a statement about living in the moment.
How did you come by your stage name?
My high school French teacher said Toby was the French translation of my given name. Then, one day in history class, we watched the movie Roots. My friends put 2+2 together (Kunta/Toby) and Toby became my nickname. In the strangest of ways, it represents the fight for Freedom to me.
TomTom because I always loved playing drums in high school. Trumpet was my main instrument and what I studied. Because good trumpeters were in short supply at my high school, my band teachers never allowed me to switch. But I could funk with the best of them on the skins! Next life!
When did you discover your love for your craft and what made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in it?
Music is my life force. It took time away to realize this. I played trumpet and attended college on a music scholarship. I then moved to NYC from Ohio. I had an amazing first part of my music journey – interning at Epic Records, learning guitar, teaming with my brother to produce incredible talents such as a young, undiscovered Alicia Keys and Shelby J (Prince fame), having my music feature in Off-Broadway plays, and apprenticing with producer Kenni Hairston.
I then decided to get married and have a family. Music sorta’ faded. Then, while walking my infant son in his stroller, I began strumming my guitar on the boardwalk to soothe him. I started to write again, played acoustic shows, learned to sing as an artist, and finally, put together my studio to convert my acoustic folk songs into sonic events as a self-contained solo artist.
I remember in one session back in the day, I was showing Shelby J how to sing a part and she said, “you should sing”. At the time, I could hardly envision that since I was strictly a producer. She was right!
Toby TomTom Interview with Muzique Magazine
To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?
My influences are psychotically varied lol! But if you listen close, you might hear them somewhere in my music. Prince, Marvin, Migos, Tupac, Debussy, Tower of Power, Earth, Wind & Fire, John Denver, Miles.
On your current project, how did you come up with the concept?
Tomorrow Yesterday, my new release, was inspired by a philosophical post-game interview given by NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
What are some of your greatest challenges, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
Since I’m a self-contained artist, my biggest challenge is playing each instrument from the perspective of that instrument. So if I’m playing an organ lick, it better not sound like a trumpeter is playing it! My other challenge is always finding the spirit of the song once I’m on the mic. My third (wait, you asked for one lol), is engineering. I get better with each release! My greatest attributes are discipline and resiliency. The staples of any successful artist!
Are you the best at what you do in your opinion?
Yes, and I say that humbly. God gave me this talent and message to share with the world. No one can do what I do just like I can’t do what they do.
What are your plans for the near future?
My plans are to get Tomorrow Yesterday out to the world with millions of downloads! And, help people realize the only good day is today! No need to worry about tomorrow yesterday!
Is there anyone you’d like to thank, any shout-outs?
God, family, friends
How can fans find you?
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
Listen intently, learn always, and work hard af! Thank you!