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Theo<\/span> Tams<\/h1> <\/div>\n <\/div>\n <\/div>\n
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Singer-pianist Theo Tams has taken the road less travelled. While he previously, reluctantly, chased the pop hit, his upcoming EP is sparse, emotive and pure. Like a Sam Smith or Adele, the production \u2014 by Montreal\u2019s Gautier Marinof \u2014 doesn't hide the vocal.<\/p>\n

But what he\u2019s quite pleased with? \u201cI don\u2019t think there are any \u2018she\u2019s\u2019 in any lyric,\u201d he declares. That\u2019s right. Comfortable and confident, Theo, who came out to his family just before appearing on, and winning, the final season of Canadian Idol a decade ago, writes songs that are true to his relationships and experiences \u2014 instead, he uses \u201cyou,\u201d \u201cyour,\u201d \u201cbaby,\u201d and \u201che.\u201d<\/p>\n

Theo grew up in the small town of Coaldale, Alberta, into a strict and Reformed Christian Dutch family. He sang in church and at home had access to a music cabinet of mostly sacred music. At 16, he started writing original music and three years later recorded an EP, influenced by Sarah McLachlan, The Script, Jann Arden, and Nickelback, he adds, \u201cbecause I was from Alberta.\u201d<\/p>\n

\u201dMany of the songs were about knowing I was not necessarily the guy that they thought they were raising,\u201d Thek says. \u201cObviously, I was the same person but I was definitely starting to question a lot of things; not just about myself but about my faith as well.\u201d<\/p>\n

Nine months after he came out to his parents, Theo landed a spot on Canadian Idol in 2008 and eventually won what would be the show\u2019s final season. He released his debut full-length, Give It All Away, in 2009 on Sony Music Canada, and, later that year, a Christmas single,\u2019Do You Hear What I Hear?\u2019 with Toronto singer Ali Slaight, now an annual tradition which led to his deal with Slaight Music and a solo EP, Back Pocket. Theo and Ali also released all nine of their Christmas songs in 2017 on Holiday Collection.<\/p>\n

This EP has taken time. Theo would write with Rob Wells and girlfriend Shobha, but the EDM or pop-focused material didn\u2019t feel right and he always wanted to pitch it to other artists instead. One day, nearing a breakdown, he told Rob of his doubts and Rob said, \u201cWe have this chance now to write four new songs \u2013 last four or not. Let\u2019s write what you want to write.\u201d Three of those songs are now on the EP.<\/p>\n

\u201dThe biggest thing I\u2019ve had to fight for as a songwriter is being able to use certain pronouns. If I write a love song, should I use \u2018he\u2019? \u2018No, let\u2019s keep it neutral. That way you can get it out to more people and be on the radio.\u2019 I took it to a couple different songwriters or producers who didn't want to go there, until Rob just told me to write what I wanted.\u201d<\/p>\n

\u201dThat was a career changer for me,\u201d says Theo. \u201cThere\u2019s been so many times that I\u2019ve been in the studio, whether we\u2019re writing for another artists or writing for me, I had this voice in my head \u2018No, that\u2019s not radio friendly\u2019 or \u2018No, that\u2019s not hooky,\u2019 then I\u2019m like \u2018why am I censoring my own artistry? Just do it. Go with it. Trust yourself and trust your voice.\u2019 There really has been so much freedom in learning that.\u201d<\/p>\n

\u201cIt\u2019s pretty risky and unapologetic and took a lot of courage. I think that it makes this project really special, that I went there, fully. Allowing myself to be emotionally and intimately vulnerable is where I found my strength, and ultimately, my truth as an artist.\u201d<\/p>\n<\/div><\/div><\/div> <\/div>\n