Canadian singer/songwriter and pianist Theo Tams’ new video “The Last Song” shows the Canadian Idol winner as a character chameleon of sorts, all in the name of self-love and care. “The Last Song” is also the ‘last song’ on Tams’ third and most recent album release, 2018’s Call The Doctor. Reflective in both the single and album at large is Tams’ musical evolution — a genuine and mature identity mindfully created from a place of honesty, courage, and vulnerability.
What passion project are you working on these days?
I just released my latest music video for my single “The Last Song”. It was the last song (clever eh?) on my EP Call The Doctor. The entire EP was a really personal project for me, my most personal thus far, and The Last Song the most personal song on the album. I knew I wanted to create a visual for this song as soon as it was written and recorded, but it’s always tough when the song is so personal to try and find a way to represent that visually in a way that’s still going to be approachable for the audience.
The song is about losing yourself in a relationship, losing your own identity; trying so hard to be everything and everyone for someone else that you don’t even remember who the “real you” is anymore. I was in this type of relationship over a decade ago and the after-effects of that type of manipulation still linger years after it ended. I think that’s why the song means so much to me and to the audience because we have all had that one relationship, in one way or another. Sometimes romantically, but sometimes with a parent, or a boss, or a friend- constantly being made to feel like you will never be enough no matter what you do.
The video has been out for a couple of weeks now and the response has been overwhelmingly beautiful. I love hearing how the story and the video relate to so many people in ways I never expected. It was those really vulnerable responses that made me want to RECREATE the video again, but this time, with a compilation of submissions from the fans. I’ve received so many already and each video is beautiful and raw in its own way. This is not just my story, it’s all of ours.
- What first inspired you to become a musician? What was your training?
I actually trained for years in vocal performance and I was headed into the opera world. The opera world is terrifying though- the music industry is full of sharks but the classical industry is legit full of hammerhead sharks. I just didn’t love it enough to continue. My vocal professors were disappointed because they felt I really could have gone far, but I didn’t feel it was enough of a creative outlet to really make the effort. I needed to write, writing has always been the number one passion, even before singing. I had to have a vice to write my own thoughts and words, and there just wasn’t that opportunity in classical music.
- What are some challenges that you have faced while building a career in the arts and how did you overcome them?
Being a gay artist, even in Canada…where for the most part, people are really accepting and awesome has definitely presented its challenges. Not so much from the public or the audience, but from the industry. The industry is still, in many ways, such a boys club and there is a very real element of homophobia that exists within it. I’m lucky to have a team that doesn’t tolerate that type of shit, and if I sense even a glimmer of it, I address it and take care of it. More so, now more than ever, it takes a village to really make a go out of it in this crazy industry so surrounding yourself with a team that not only sees your vision but champions it every step is critical. It’s taken a long time for me to get that team, but I’m finally there, and that feels awesome because it’s really about working together to achieve the same goals.
- What lessons have you learned that has proven the most valuable?
Jann Arden told me once, “persistence means more than talent” and I will never forget that. I think I’m gonna get it as a tattoo, I swear. There are thousands and thousands of talented musicians, artists, dancers, creatives out there that will not make it. You have be willing to hear NO over and over and over again, and still tell yourself YES. Sometimes the only person that will say YES is your own inner artist, and that’s okay. That inner voice has to be enough sometimes… and you have to ask yourself, is giving up an option? Would giving up be easier for me? Would I be happier if I gave this up? For me, those answers have always been NO. I’m gonna be 80, with a cold glass of chardonnay, sitting on my porch in the country, still writing songs about all your shitty exes. You’re welcome 🙂
- What is your WHY? (why do you do what you do?)
Honestly, I literally just figured this out like 2 years ago before we released Call The Doctor and I was anxious AF about the release and putting so much pressure on myself and on the project because it was so personal and I was terrified and my therapist said to me, “outside of all those external forces that you can’t control like the industry acceptance, and how the public is going to receive this music, do you not feel like it is just your purpose to CREATE? To tell these stories and sing these songs and open yourself up to people?”
It was my “ah hah!” moment- I know it sounds very Eat Pray Love, but it’s really helped. Part of my being on this earth is to create, when I keep things that simple and try to keep my process that clean and that simple, it makes all the unknowns a lot easier to deal with along the way.