Thomas Priest
Credit: Lisa Schindlar

Long Island has seen many success stories happen in the music industry over the past 50-60 years. Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J and Mariah Carey are a handful of names that started out from my area of New York and ended up becoming icons in their own right. Could the same happen for upcoming singer/songwriter Thomas Priest as well?

Thomas is taking the key steps in order to make that happen for himself one day. He’s already worked with a pretty big name in the industry, Rian Dawson of All Time Low, on his second EP Wake Up Call while in Nashville.

He dropped that effort earlier this summer and added a couple of local performances as well so fans across Long Island could listen to his hard work paying off.

Thomas chatted with me about how his EP is not country even though he recorded it in the country music capital of the world, how he and Rian connected, and even gave his opinion on that whole Taylor Swift/Scooter Braun ordeal. Take a look.

You’re from my hometown of East Northport which is awesome. Have you always had musical dreams that go beyond our little town?

Yes! I’ve always dreamt that my journey wouldn’t keep me here in East Northport- even though I love the area! I went to college at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, which gave me my first taste of living out of my hometown. Being surrounded by such talented musicians really inspired me to dig down to find my creativity and drive for this second EP.

At what age did you discover music and who were your biggest inspirations behind them?

I’ve been in love with music ever since I could remember. I was that typical kid that did piano lessons in 3rd grade, but I wanted more. After taking piano lessons for three months I wanted to perform in my school’s talent show doing a rendition of some Christmas music. When I got to see the parent’s reactions it quickly made me realize this is something I wanted to keep doing.

I would begin taking guitar lessons in 6th grade and after two years of being able to recreate almost any song I wanted to learn, my dad came into the room once and told me, “That’s great you can play these songs, but you want to be playing YOUR music and not someone else’s the rest of your life.” It quickly inspired me to start writing my own and I began to fall in love with the band Muse. Their unique sound with every album was something I aspired to be like but in my own way. Other bands that have helped shape me and the music I write today are The Killers, All Time Low, and Mayday Parade.

Tell us about your EP Wake Up Call and how did you get to work with Rian Dawson from All Time Low on it?

It’s a funny story how that all came together. I’ve been a huge fan of All Time Low for the past five years with seeing them live five times. Their energy on stage and ability to connect with fans is what drew me into their music. I was on Rian’s Twitter page one day and in his bio he wrote- “Any band/recording inquiries for Track Happy Studios email …”

Since I knew his studio was in Nashville near where I was going to school, I decided to send an email and see if they ever respond. Within an hour his manager responded saying that they wanted to book a time with me and then the rest is history. Working with him was intimidating at first since someone I look up to was working on my music. But the whole process was super quick, efficient, and extremely fun. We recorded the five songs in seven days.

The EP itself essentially dives into events and feelings I’ve had over the past year and a half. Each song has its own story and I can easily remember the moment that inspired me to write the lyrics. The EP is under the pop/rock category but the sound itself has evolved from my earlier works.

The EP was recorded in Nashville so is the country thing your kind of vibe moving forward?

Haha oh no, not really into country music actually! My friends all try to get me to listen to it but I’m a rock kind of guy.

How did it feel to return to Amityville earlier this month and perform at Revolution Music Hall?

It felt great. I love any chance I get to perform and Revolution. Their staff is great and the crowds are always a blast to play for.

Seeing as you are a singer/songwriter, do you have any input regarding the Taylor Swift masters drama with Scooter Braun?

I investigated it barely.  I’ve seen Scooter speak at my school before and he seems like a smart business guy. Everyone knows that the music business is one of the most brutal.

What’s the ultimate game plan for you moving forward in your career?

My ultimate game plan, honestly, is to get noticed. I know this EP is something special and if heard by the right people, the songs can make it big. For now, I’m going to try and keep performing to anyone I can and get as much video content for YouTube and Instagram TV out there.

For more information on Thomas Priest, click here.