Eric Thomas, a name synonymous with the exciting fusion of hip hop and jazz, sits at the forefront of a genre-bending musical movement. His debut album “Take It Easy,” released in 2011, made waves with its hit single “People Make The World Go Round,” and he hasn’t looked back since. Today, we delve into a candid conversation with Eric, exploring his early influences, his creative process, favorite projects, and plans for the future.
Hey, thanks for chatting with us. Tell us a little about yourself.
My Name is Eric Thomas. I’m a saxophone player born in Miami, grew up in Riverside California, and now reside in Atlanta Georgia. I love expressing myself through the saxophone but my influences are not just limited to Jazz. I pull from hip hop, R&B, soul, funk, reggae, house, and just pretty much life in general. Whatever moves me and whatever inspires me finds a way to show up in my music.
Who or what inspired you to start making music? And, when did you start?
My family inspired me to start making music as a child. I grew up in a musical household my uncle’s played trumpet and piano and the home I grew up in had a piano in the living room so I was bit by the music bug at a very young age. My first instrument was a guitar at 7 years old. Shortly after that, I started trying to make music. I finally settled into the saxophone around 11 years old and just never looked back.
What is your biggest challenge as an artist?
Well as an artist there is a bevy of challenges we face but to be honest my biggest challenge is just trying to keep up with my personal growth. I feel like every day I’m experiencing new things and I have more stories to tell but by the time I finish a project and release it, it’s so far in the past that I’m forgetting the stories that were the inspiration for that music in the first place.
I always feel like I’m playing catch up to new ideas.
Who are your inspirations? What artists or bands are you listening to?
There are way too many inspirations to list. I mean I pull inspiration from everyone from Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon to The Roots and A Tribe Called Quest. but a band that I’m listening to now but I’m really into is a group called Moonchild. I dig what they’re doing and it sits well with my soul.
What’s the process behind working on a song like?
I wish there was a set process for working on a song but it changes every time.
Sometimes I’m walking down the street and I get a baseline in my head other times I’m asleep and there’s a melody in my dream and I try to wake myself up so I can run to my keyboard and jot it down. however it starts it goes from me singing it in my head then sitting at a keyboard or piano writing it down and then piecing everything else together from that seed until I have something that I can take to my band.
Now once I get it from that space to the space of the band that’s where the real journey and creation takes place. I lay the blueprint and the foundation for the song arrangements but it’s amazing to see how my ideas are interpreted by other people I am working with.
Tell me about your upcoming music and what inspired you to create it!
So the main inspiration for this upcoming project was isolation; I needed to still be creative even though I wasn’t able to pull from the energy of being out and about in the world.
What are your plans for 2023?
My plans for 2023 are just to continue to live life with music at the forefront. I just want to be as present as I can be and just live life intentionally with purpose. Of course, be on as many festivals as I can.
Have any shoutouts?
Of course, I’d like to shout out my band who was able to hold it down Mr. Terrell Stays on drums and protection Mr. Myron Foster on bass, and Mr. OJ Harper on keys. I would also like to shout out my features on vocals shout out to Saphira Troy Barnes and Nadia Holder.
Eric Thomas’s ever-evolving relationship with music, deeply rooted in family and a diverse array of influences, highlights a creative journey that’s as multifaceted as his sound. A true reflection of his band’s name, Eric Thomas & Elevate The Quest, Eric’s music transcends boundaries, a beautiful testament to the universal language of music. We eagerly await what comes next from this trailblazing artist. Check him out on Spotify or your favorite digital music streaming platform.