By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
It is a pleasure to welcome singer-songwriter Tom Bleasby to Jake’s Take.
The British singer first came in the international public eye when he recorded a virtual duet with Jessie J on the Smule Sing! Karaoke App. Their cover of Pitch Perfect 2’s “Flashlight” was viewed over 17 million times. Also, he also built an international audience when he auditioned for The X Factor UK’s twelfth season in 2015 and made it to Judges’ Houses. After his X Factor journey, Tom caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, and she invited him to perform on her show. But, Tom got the surprise of his life as Jessie J appeared from behind The Ellen DeGeneres Show stage and the duo performed an impromptu duet of “Flashlight.”
Following that life changing moment, Tom released “Half of Me,” a single that was championed by several playlist curators including Spotify Germany. “Half of Me” is about to hit 1.2 million streams on Spotify alone. Recently, Tom released his latest single off his upcoming studio album: “Where is the Love?
In this edition of The Five Question Challenge, Tom talked about the challenges that he faced breaking into the international music market and previewed his upcoming studio album.
Jacob Elyachar: It has been nearly two years since you auditioned for The X Factor UK. How have you grown as an artist since your first audition?
Tom Bleasby: The X Factor was an incredible opportunity, it was daunting and thrilling in equal measures. The only problem with the show is there is not much room to show any artistry or show your real side. I felt I was in a bubble…but I enjoyed the show….and do not regret doing it. Since then, I have become so much stronger in my craft, and performing live used to be a real ache for me…now I love it. I’m trying to become more and more involved in the process…and you appreciate and love what you do even more if you are at the helm of it all.
JE: In addition to your appearances on The X Factor UK, you made your American debut on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where you performed an impromptu duet of “Flashlight” in person with Jessie J. Could you describe your reaction when Jessie J walked out on Ellen’s stage? What advice did she give you regarding a career in the music industry?
TB: Initially, it was a pure shock. I had done a sound check and rehearsal all by myself, and it threw me off. It was one of those moments where you have to pinch yourself. She was very kind and generous with her time and words with me. She told me to follow my instinct because your instinct is the only thing you can genuinely believe in, and that’s what I did.
JE: What are some of the challenges that you have faced breaking into the international music market? How have you overcome those obstacles?
TB: New challenges emerge every day. People trying to take advantage of you, people underestimating you, people assuming you are no longer relevant because you are not on a TV show anymore. These are things that are constantly in your face. I want to be an artist, not a celebrity TV star. Musical artistry and fame hunting are completely different things…it’s important to make a distinction as to what you want to be.
JE: Let’s talk about your upcoming studio album. What can your fans expect from this album?
TB: I am so excited about this venture. This album is going to be a real culmination of my experiences thus far…trying new styles, playing around. I think I am quite well known for singing emotional, slow songs. I love singing those songs, but I want to explore and surprise people. Just as much as I love making people cry, I like to make them dance. This album will have some wonderful tunes from some excellent writers. I do not want the album to be 13 songs which sound the same…I want every song to be a new experience and journey for my fans.
JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring singers who want to work in the music industry, what advice would you share with them?
TB: I often get messages and letters from people asking how to make it in the industry. I want, to be honest with them. What I want to say is, do not ask me; I have not made it yet; I have got everything to prove. But I often find myself saying, keep working hard, remember you’ll never be at your best…you’ll have to keep learning and growing…and once you reach your best…what the point is in still doing it? Where else is there to go? One piece of advice I have always loved is from the late Rene Angelil (Celine Dion’s manager and husband): “We can’t always be good, we have to be good when it’s time.”
You can listen to Tom’s new single, “Where is the Love?” on YouTube.