Cover photo by Rudy Ran
Tommy Thomas, Lloyd Forrest, and lead singer Sam Bramwell of Jamaican group The Chantells — aren’t exactly the best-known roots harmony trio, but their limited output included 1978’s smash “Waiting in the Park” and a body of respected tunes, mostly romantic odes showcasing their sweet vocals. The only full album, Children of Jah doesn’t contain “Waiting in the Park” or perhaps the group’s best song, “How Can I Get Over” (which can be found on the High Note compilation The Reggae Train), but rather it collects tunes they recorded for Roy Francis’ Phase One label. As such, this album is less a Chantells showcase than it is a Phase One showcase (All 10 tracks are Phase One recordings, only 3 coming from The Chantells.
Although The Chantells music career was short lived, we want to introduce you to the son of The Chantells singer, Tommy Thomas. Chris Thomas The CEO, as he dubs himself, is yet another example of a talented second generation artist with “foundation” influence.
The Legacy continues….
Enter Chris Thomas the CEO, son of The Chantell’s Tommy Thomas
Island Stage met Chris Thomas The CEO back in circa 2013, when he was part of a select group of artists chosen to take part in a special compilation project. We have followed him through the years, and continue to be impressed by his talent and business acumen within the music industry.
“The CEO” has recently released singles such as “No Real Change” which has been streamed 36k times on Spotify since it was released on June 25th, 2020. This song confronts and expresses from the personal point of view of this artist, his feelings and reality towards police relations in the US in the wake of the tragic loss of George Floyd.
No Real Change is a co production with Icerecordz Label….I.W.A.A.D is the producer and Executive producer on this record
“90’s Dancehall” [explicit] featuring Cloud 9ine is another single released this year on August 29, and has streamed 4.8k times on Spotify. This song is celebrating the era of dancehall that is widely considered to be the best. It is definitely popular with dancehalls fans around the world.
90’s Dancehall is coproduced by DJ Jamba Hd7 and Soniclinks Productions. I.W.A.A.D. is the executive producer of the project.
We caught up with Chris to see what he is up to in 2020. Here is our conversation.
Island Stage: Many, outside of Jamaica may not remember your father Tommy Thomas, one of the very talented and promising trio “The Chantells” from the 1970’s. They recorded one album before disbanding for various reasons, and also recorded a couple of popular singles. What did you learn from your father with regards to the music industry?
Chris : I learned a lot from The Chantells experience, as I’d like to call it. First, the love for the music in general…the importance of making not just good music but great music. This will be work that represents you for the rest of your life. The appreciation and respect for the music and last but certainly not the least…understanding that it is the music “business”
IS: Tell us about how I.W.A.A.D. (It was all a dream) , your record label was formed.
CT: I.W.A.A.D. (IT WAS ALL A DREAM) MUSIC is my second label after first label POWERMIX RECORDS ENTERTAINMENT. As we were ushering into the new internet era, I felt the need to revamp the label…a full overhaul, if you will. New music, new talent and new direction. We did a lot as Powermix but IWAAD NATION to me, is the next level…it starts as a dream then we make it a reality.
IS: What other artists have you worked with?
CT: I have worked with many artists through our position producing and distributing riddim driven projects and remixing many songs to date….Shaggy’s Sunglasses (Stadic remix) is one to fulljoy. My attention has been geared towards finding new talents…there are some real talents out there to be released under our label…Tarnado, Cloud 9ine, Kr Kinetic, G Maffiah, Young Jayts and Jamba to name a few.
IS: Can you tell me about “Project CEO”?
CT: “Project CEO” is the name of my upcoming album…however the name is still unofficial..lol…but the objective is to showcase my personal talent as an artist. Comprising of all my musical attributes as a producer, engineer, writer and performer. Hence…it being a Project to be presented. Mi nah lie…yuh ah goh love this!
IS: Who are you listening to right now in your playlist? Tell us about your musical influences
CT: This is a question I’ve always been asked that I’m often misunderstood when I respond…but I actually listen my works…my production and when I step outside of that…it would be any artist that is doing it now…its important for me to be up to date with what or who everyone is listening to now. My musical influences have been The Chantells, Bunny Wailer, Beres Hammond to name a few..
IS: How are you dealing with the challenges 2020 has presented?
CT: 2020 has been a very challenging year so far.So much to deal with new changes as it pertains to our health and the loss of so many. I have always had the approach which is “ADAPT AND SURVIVE”
IS: How has Covid impacted your business, if at all?
CT: Yes, I had engagements in Germany and Switzerland, and that are now on hold. My last show was in Israel; as a production house, we have to pay attention to streaming and the publishing side of the business, as there would be no on stage shows anytime soon. I was able to do a lot of releases on all major online platforms.
IS: What’s next for Chris Thomas The Ceo?
CT: More productions…and the evolution into the artist I’ve always been. There are other accolades to accomplish…a billboard recognition, a grammy recognition beyond a nomination.
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Article from Source Magazine