When I am in the mood for an introspective, crystalline-voiced singer-songwriter, I very much enjoy Rosie Thomas’s When We Were Small: intimate, musical, emotionally honest without wallowing, her voice a lovely but not derivative combo of Sarah McLachlan and a young Emmylou Harris. This morning NPR speaks with Thomas and has a nice section for her on their site:
- Rosie Thomas loves music but she also loves to make people laugh. She’s found a way to do both, but not necessarily at the same time.
Thomas is a serious singer-songwriter whose songs are often sad but hopeful. But she occasionally takes to the stage as Sheila, a neck brace-wearing pizza delivery driver who is her comic alter-ego.
“I feel more of an entertainer rather than a musician,” Thomas tells NPR’s Bob Edwards in a Morning Edition interview. “I love theater, I love acting, I love all those wonderful parts of entertainment and rather than come on stage and just be a musician, it gives me an opportunity to do both because I love making (audiences) laugh.”
“There’s nothing more gratifying than hearing people’s laughter,” she says. “When you’re playing music, you’re not waiting for anybody’s response. I don’t play ‘2 Dollar Shoes’ (a song from her debut album) and when I’m done, say, ‘Did that move you, person in the front row?’… You don’t get a response but you hope that it does.”
Thomas’ first full-length CD, When We Were Small, is dedicated to her parents, who were professional musicians themselves. Her father bought Thomas a guitar and taught her how to play it when she was in her teens. Thomas’ first public performances were with her father.
Her parents divorced when Thomas was 14 and the album deals with their breakup and other emotional events of her childhood. The songs feature “my point of view of what my mother would have said to my father,” Thomas says. She even included audio samples from old home movies on the CD.
There are song clips, video of her comedy alter-ego, and a bio link.