A new EP and upcoming summer tour dates including Atlanta cap a busy year for this funny-name singer you’ll want to know.
By Buck C. Cooke
You might not know the name Bright Light Bright Light, but that is about to change in the coming months. Rod Thomas, who performs under the moniker “Bright Light Bright Light” to distance himself from possible confusion with Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas, has been quite prolific in the past year.
In July, the Welsh-born singer released his third album, “Choreography,” a pop romp through ‘80s-infused upbeat songs and ballads, to critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Delighted fans in a few North American and European cities got to enjoy his energetic live performances in the fall and an EP of covers. “Cinematography,” followed in November.
Thomas, who now lives in New York, just announced his first gig in Atlanta in June. He plays Nashville Pride and releases “Cinematography II: Back in the Habit” on April 28 with covers of songs by Madonna, Lisa Loeb, Starship, and more.
The busy artist found time to speak with David Atlanta about his creative process and his concert tour plans.
How would you describe “Choreography” and the two “Cinematography” EPs to newcomers?
“Choreography” was inspired by my love of movies, particularly the dance sequences from movies that shaped my teenage years. When I was making the album, I watched those and was inspired by the energy, tone, vibe, and in some cases, melodrama of the dance sequences. I would play songs from old movie soundtracks as I ran, and I thought of doing cover versions of some of the songs to give people a chance to delve deeper into the inspiration of the album.
Are there other songs from that era you’d still like to cover?
There are so many. It’s a hard thing to decide what to cover. You could cover them all, really. It’s nice to think about things that haven’t been covered before. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship from “Mannequin” is obvious, which is why I wanted to do “Do You Dream About Me?” by Alisha from the dance sequence in the film on the first EP.
There are loads of tracks I’d love to do different versions of, but it depends on whether your voice sounds good with the song and if there is something you could do differently? If not, then what’s the point? Why not just listen to the original? It’s great to shine a light on tracks like “Calling You” by Jevetta Steele from “Bagdad Café” and other gems like that.
What was it like to have one of your musical influences, Vince Clark of Erasure, remix your latest single, “Running Back To You”?
It was amazing! It is so strange to end up connecting to people who shaped your life at such a young age. Elton John and I have done so much together, and I’ve had time to process that and how amazing that is, and Vince was such a giant – Erasure was so present in the UK and lead the electronic age. He now lives in New York also, and we’ve gotten to hang out some and spend time together. It’s really nice. It’s a wonderful thing to have happen along the way as you journey through your career.
Why do you think that song connected so well with your audience?
I think a lot of people responded to the video and the melodramatic feel of the song. As you know, some gay people tend to be a little dramatic [Laughs.], so I think that was part of it.
Will there be more singles from “Choreography”? Please say yes.
My idea is to be working this album for quite a while. There will be EPs led by a track from the album, followed by more new material. It’s a very visual album, so I plan to continue to explore that for some time with videos and more EPs.
You recently announced your first show in Atlanta. How do you feel about that?
I’ve been wanting to play in Atlanta for so long! I came to the city to record a song with Elton once, and since then I’ve been dying to come back to play a show. I can’t believe it’s taken so long! I’m super excited for my first show with you guys. It’s going to be a lot of fun.