Jack Thomas, University of Rhode Island junior, business major and vocal performance minor, strives to one day work in the music industry and accomplish his dream of becoming a solo singer.
Just two years ago, at age 18, Thomas discovered that he had the ability to sing, a talent that he previously had never pursued. He explained how he had never been musically inept. Thomas had a musical background throughout school playing trumpet in bands. His sister occasionally would hear him singing, and she claimed his voice was great, but Thomas never believed her. It took the feedback from one of his friends in high school to finally convince him his talent was real.
“It’s all about getting good feedback,” Thomas said. “It gives yourself more confidence.”
During his senior year, Thomas was signed up to sing for his school’s “Senior Assembly,” an awards ceremony before graduation, with an expected crowd of 1,800. He explained the nerve-racking experience, since he had never sang for more than two people in his life, and now was forced to sing to such a huge crowd of family, friends, and peers. Thomas sang “You Raise Me Up,” by Josh Groban with a friend, and to his surprise, he received great compliments.
When Thomas came to URI, he wasn’t sure what to do, in terms of music. He questioned joining the Vocal School, and someone suggested that he try the Opera Program and Concert Choir. He ended up joining the Concert Choir, claiming he “loved the environment there,” and is now a student in the Vocal School.
Thomas performs in a variety of genres, but mostly opera, jazz, and pop. He strives to be a versatile singer, and looks up to singers like Michael BublÃ©.
To try and take his voice to the next level, Thomas auditioned a couple of times for New England’s Got Talent, in Woonsocket, RI, making it to the finals. He also attempted to start his own wedding band on his own, but came to the conclusion that he needed prior experience to start something like that by himself.
On Jan. 24, Thomas auditioned for The Voice, which he said was a great experience. He made friends in line, and during the five hours prior to auditioning, started a vocal warm-up with all of the hopeful auditionees. Unfortunately, he did not move forward to the next round of auditions. He said that the producers told his group that they were all very talented, but just “not what we are looking for.”
“It’s pure luck-you just have to be the face they’re looking for at the time being,” Thomas claimed.
Although he did not move forward in The Voice, luck found him one day as he was scrolling through Twitter, which he said he barely uses. He happened to come across a tweet that said open auditions were being held that night for a singer at an upcoming Celtics game. Since he was finished with classes for the day, Thomas drove up to Boston to audition at the Hard Rock Cafe. He ended up being apart of the 1/3 asked back after the first round of auditions. During the second round, he had to sing an acapella song in front of a row of judges, including one of the Celtics players, Mrs. Massachusetts, a TD Bank executive, and a couple of radio show hosts.
A month and a half later, after he had completely forgotten about the auditions, he received a call that out of the 100 finalists, the judges had chosen him to sing. So, on February 4, he performed the National Anthem at TD Garden.
Thomas also has recently joined a wedding band from Boston, which he believes will give him multiple connections throughout the future. He has agreed to stick with them for two years and hopes to obtain an internship or production job afterwards. One day, he’d like to have a career as a solo singer, but if not, he would be a talent agent in the music industry.
Since joining the wedding band, he explained how much he’s learned about his own voice and the different genres he can acquire. He said that because he is forced to sing a certain type of music, he is able to perform whatever genre is thrown at him.
“It’s almost like acting,” Thomas explained. “You kind of just have to be in the zone. I try to mimic people.” He said that he taught himself to sing through listening to artists that he idolized, so while performing, he tries to “become them.”
“I’ll think of Micheal BublÃ© while singing in Big Band or Pavarotti in Opera,” Thomas said. “I have to become a different persona than I am in real life.”
Thomas can be found performing at his first wedding show on March 21, as well as an Opera Workshop on April 18 and 19, and a Big Band concert on April 23.