[Interview] Tearing Down a Wall with Dustin Thomas
It was a really cold night and we were all trying to pack into the Variety Playhouse for the Rising Appalachia show. It was sold out, and I was expecting to be on the guest list. For whatever reason, A didn't connect to B and the doorman could't find my name. In a huff, I went outside to call my ride. Luckily, a sweet woman with a baby approached the crowd of smokers surrounding me. She offered a ticket and I immediately leaned in. I said, "I can't pay for them." She responded, "don't worry about it."
Once inside, it was hard to navigate on the bottom floor. I knew Rising Appalachia was popular, but damn! The first opener, Hope for a Golden Summer was also a sister acoustic duo. They were a little too chill for my mood so I socialized until the next opener, Dustin Thomas appeared on stage. His name wasn't included on the Facebook event, so I was surprised there were two openers. Little did I know that the second opener would steal my heart. Dustin Thomas sang political songs in a fun, upbeat way. He played some new songs with powerful messages like, "If you see something, say something" and "If they build a wall, we'll tear it down." He sparked curiosity and intent within me, so I was glad when he agreed to answer a few questions for us.
I really like your album art, is it yours? If not, who's the artist?
When and how did you discover your talent?
I sang in church as a kid but stopped singing in public for many years but I always loved singing. Later on in high school I started writing songs to process a lot of the emotions I was feeling. It was probably summer after senior year when my best friend encouraged me to pursue music that I seriously started to consider making that dream a reality.
What did you learn first, beat boxing or song-writing?
I didn't start beatboxing until much later in my musical journey actually. It wasn't until maybe three years ago that I started to incorporate vocal percussion into more of my music.
What would you most like to be remembered for?
My love of the people, the planet, and of God.
What is one lesson you learned on the road, that you will apply to your life when you’re not on tour?
Take advantage of every moment and use every situation to it's fullest.
If you could give words of comfort or advice to those who are worried about the results of this election season, what would you say ?
There concerns are valid. This is quite possibly the most dangerous time in modern history. It's important for us all to be very aware. But to also be empowered. We've never seen anything like this in America before. Trump said so many awful things on his campaign trail that it's important to take seriously. As citizens of what is supposed to be a free country I think now more than ever we have to look out for each other and stand together. It's time for the future of this planet to be decided and shaped by the compassionate and the informed individuals who are ready to take positive action to keep freedom alive and to protect our precious planet.
What is your single strongest belief?
There is so much more to life and this existence than any of us could imagine. So dream deep and live inspired. Your purpose is greater than you know.
How can we build a culture of creativity together?
First, by being accepting and encouraging of one another and by valuing education and healthy communication as top priorities in society. Also by being willing to be vulnerable and playful and explorative with one another. Few people nail it the first time. In fact behind most great things you will find hours and hours of hard work and dedication. Our society points too many fingers and holds such bizarre standards. It's time to break down the nonsense and allow each other to create from the heart and to have room for error and growth. Competition is messy and hurts everyone. It's so much more powerful to uplift one another as we all work towards our gifts and perfect our expression.
Would you swipe right on Atlanta?
I don't know what that means but I definitely have a major city crush on ATL <3
Who does your hair? Are they the only one allowed to do your hair? ;)
Ha! I do my own hair in the traditional style of a tribal people very dear to my heart.
Do you have any upcoming releases?
Yes. I just finished recording a collection of 15 new songs that will be available digitally and physically sometime in January/February. To listen to my music people can check out my website here: www.lovedustinthomas.com
Rising Appalachia gave a great performance, as expected. They encouraged everyone to come out the following day for Atlanta Permaculture Action Day at Urban Sprout Farms. A friend of mine went, and said they had a great turnout!
Photos by Grace Kelly for Bullet Music