“Cheers” To Ian Thomas
Singing His Way To The Top
by Pamela Price
photos by LATF
Some people are born with a “calling.” For singer Ian Thomas, his calling was set in stone even before he was born. From a family of performers, Ian was already on stage when his mother was pregnant with him, singing and dancing in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s hit Broadway musical, CATS. Growing up in a YouTube generation, Ian’s friend posted a video of him singing Justin Bieber’s hit “Baby.” It caught the attention of Universal Records, who released his Dutch version of the song. From that, Ian became an instant heartthrob overseas. The cover single reached #1 on the Belgian Ultratop 10 Chart. Not too long after, Ian started writing his own music, releasing his first solo album, “More Than A Game.” His single, “Rain,” quickly climbed to #1 on the iTunes Top Hit Chart. 
It’s hard to believe that Ian is just 17 going on 18 years old this year. Now that his music has developed a loyal fan base overseas, it’s time to tackle the U.S. 
Just last year, Ian was featured in the “Walking On Air” track alongside Lance Bass and Snoop Dogg. The good news keeps coming in 2015 with KIIS FM featuring Ian as a #NextUp artist and his Kids’ Choice Awards nomination for ‘Favorite Star Belgium and Netherlands.’ 
Listening to Ian’s latest single “Cheers” featuring Tyga, it sounds like this could be a surefire success. Perfect for the summer time, bonfires on the beach and partying in the club; Ian has a potential pop hit on his hands. It’s upbeat and undoubtedly catchy. 
Still fresh in the land of Los Angeles, Ian stopped by LATF in his James Dean-style leather jacket and slicked back hair ready to talk about his dreams, his music, and everything in between. 
You just arrived in Los Angeles and are going full speed ahead with your music.
I’m excited to be here. I’m going to Australia soon, and I’ve never been there. My radio promo is starting, and I’ve got a couple of things coming up with KIIS-FM. They just announced me as a Next Up artist, which basically means that I could be the next big thing. It’s exciting.
What was it was like working with Lance Bass and Snoop Dogg. How did that collaboration come about?
My management and their management just got together and I was just glad to be part of the project. It was basically a song they wanted to do outside of America. And they wanted to pick a local artist all around the world to feature on it, to get it to #1. So they asked me to do it for Belgium. And that’s how I basically got to LA.
Did you write something for the song?
They expected me to just sing the lyrics that were already there, but I completely switched it up and I wrote something completely different with my friend.
So you’re a songwriter?
Some songs are written by me, others are written by songwriters. It depends. We get songs almost every day.
What is it about a song that you’re looking for now?
I’m looking for pop, R&B, a little Justin Timberlake influence. And I mean, anything really — if it’s a good song, if I like the sound. It depends — it switches up.
Do you play instruments?
I do. Guitar and I started piano. Guitar, I’m good, but piano I just started. I can play basic songs on the piano. It’s my passion. It’s not that I’m forcing myself to do it, it’s because I really like to do it. And I find it fascinating, and I’ve always been like that. I find it a little sad that I started, like, a year ago. I wish I started when I was six or something, then I could be incredible. That’d be crazy. But I’m still young, so I’m picking it up really fast. And my dad plays the piano and guitar. I feel like it’s in my body somehow.
You came from a family of performers. Your mother’s a choreographer, right?
Yes, my mom is a choreographer. She used to play in loads of shows. She played Cats and Les Misérables, all around Europe and Paris. She’s lived all around. And my dad’s also musical. He’s now a voice coach. He records voices in movies, like voiceovers. And my whole family’s basically in the business. Since I was very young, I’ve been around it. I was in my mom’s belly when she was playing in Cats. Maybe that’s why I’m a little strange. Because she was jumping around with me.

Are you a little strange? Do you like to dress as a cat and sing “Macavity?”
(laughs) That’s why I don’t like Cats that much.
So do you feel like music is your calling?
I don’t know. First of all, my passion is music and performing and entertaining people. But on another note, I feel like I have something to say. And I feel like I can bring positive change into the world. And it’s not just a cheesy, braggadocious thing that I want to say. It’s really how I feel. And I really believe that the power of music is one of the biggest things happening. And I feel like artists nowadays need to accept the responsibilities they have when in that position and they need to use the power of music for something good, instead of all the braggadocious things that are going on right now. Kid Cudi said that it’s holding us back somehow. I feel like you need to use your power for good, and try to empower others and bring people together. And that’s what I really want to do with my music. I just want to bring people together and help and be like a face for this generation. That’s my main goal.
So since music has always been a passion of yours, who are your influences? Who do you listen to?
Queen. Queen has been my absolute favorite since I was very young. And right now, mainstream artists — I really like Frank Ocean. I very much enjoy Kid Cudi. He’s one of my heroes. I think Kid Cudi’s awesome. Justin Timberlake. There are plenty of people that I look up to. Kendrick Lamar is amazing. I love Kendrick Lamar. I like J Quiles. I like anything. I can listen from classical music to pop music, to R&B, to hip hop.
To Andrew Lloyd Webber?
Yeah, really, I listen to anything. Anything. I mean, music to me is music — whether it’s hip-hop or rap. It’s music.
As an artist, what do you think of music streaming apps such as Spotify, iTunes, or Tidal?
Yeah, I’m excited about Tidal. I mean, the music business is not at the best point right now, because not a lot of people sell a lot of records. It’s a little bit chaotic. But people are thinking about finding new ways — you know what I mean, like with Tidal and everything. I have faith in the business and that everything will be fine. At the end of the day, I’m just happy to entertain people, you know what I mean?
What are your thoughts on illegal downloading?
I do care. Let’s say I’m a baker and people come in and take my bread for free or my croissants or anything — they just walk in and they grab it. It’s the same with music. But that’s not for me to worry about right now. I just want to worry about developing as a human being, as an artist.
When you write songs for yourself, what influences you?
Anything — from movies, to other songs, to daily situations, to heartbreak.
Have you had a major heartbreak?
I think I’ve had my major heartbreak. My first heartbreak, I think I’ve had it, yeah.
You were just at Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards. Do you see a difference between your fan base overseas and here?
They’re all very excited to see me, and they’re screaming and making a lot of noise. It’s great to see the fan base from Europe, and the ones from America, Brazil, and all around. I feel like it’s one big family, since on social media you can track how many fans you have there, there, and there. They’re all connected, like on Twitter. There’s no difference. Twitter is their world, and they’re in the same world, whether they’re in China or they’re in Belgium.
What’s the most bizarre thing a fan has ever done?
That’s a hard question. But I can say they show up at my house; they kiss me on my mouth; they touch my butt; they try to take off my clothes. Those are some of the crazy things that happen. They’ve given me an iPad; they gave me Beats by Dr. Dre.
Do you accept them?
It depends. Sometimes they all get together and a few fans, like 20-30 people, buy me something big. It’s very kind of them, but I also feel bad in a different way.
Your latest single is “Cheers” featuring Tyga, how did that come about?
Together, with management, we talked about the idea, and they supported it and they believed in the project. I met him a couple of times. We hung out. I went to his show. He’s a really cool and a genuinely nice guy. I wrote “Cheers” with my friend, who also wrote another song on my album, and I also wrote my piece in “Walking on Air” with Snoop Dogg. For “Cheers,” Tyga wrote his part.
Can we expect an album in the future?
We’re working on an EP right now. Maybe it will become an album. I’m not sure right now. It also depends on what “Cheers” is going to do. But I’m writing a lot. I’m writing; I’m recording; I’m creating as always. And we’ll see.
Now that you’re traveling a lot, do you have a favorite destination?
Home. Home is where the heart is. No, I mean, not really — Belgium. I’m very good at traveling. I’m not the type of person that’s going to cry every night and say, “I wanna go.” No, I’m really good; wherever I am, is my home. And on another note, my favorite place is probably like somewhere in the Caribbean. I really want to go to Bali or Thailand.
How are you handling school?
I’m doing very good. I’m almost finished. I’m a senior, I’m doing independent study, so I do it on a computer because I travel a lot, as you know. And it’s going good; I’m almost finished. Two more months.
On social media and even in your interview, you seem to have a very positive outlook on life.
Human beings are more separated than ever right now, but in fact, the only thing we really want is to be accepted and to be loved. And I feel like we just need to come together in a compassionate way towards one another. Step out of the ego. And that’s what I want to do — I want to connect people, and I can do that through my passion, which is music and entertaining people.
That is the truth. And I feel like if I put myself on a platform that big, I can really make a positive change through my passion.
You have to be positive, because what’s the point of being negative? It’s a negative world; it’s a very sad world where we’re living. You can either look at the sad things in the world or you can look at the beautiful things. There are always two sides to the story. And I prefer to look at it in a sunny way.
You can find his current single on iTunes. Keep up with Ian’s music and more at:
https://twitter.com/ianthomas
https://instagram.com/ianthomas
http://www.ianthomasofficial.com/