Music ManAug 01, 2022 ● By Lyn Rejahl Pry
by Lyn Rejahl Pry
Singer and guitarist Kelvin Thomas began his musical journey behind a drum set at church.
These days, he is among the North Texas musicians included in the rotating lineup of Music on Main (musiconmainfrisco.org), a free monthly live-music series that sets up at 10 locations within downtown Frisco. It is sponsored by the nonprofit Melody of Hope, which supports and advocates through music for other nonprofit organizations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth. The next installment of the series is scheduled Aug. 20.
Thomas’ introduction to music began when he was a youngster listening to classic R&B songs on the radio. Born in Arlington, he spent his childhood bouncing between Houston and the East Texas city of Groveton. In high school, a teacher added the guitar to Thomas’ drum playing. “My fingers, my body against this piece of wood — it was a life-changing realization,” he said.
Also during high school, he heard the music of Justin Vernon, the singer-songwriter and frontman of the Grammy Award-winning indie folk band Bon Iver. “He was the gas on the small flame inside me,” Thomas said. “I wanted to be whatever he was — indie folk/Americana, rock and alternative in general.”
During his senior year in high school, Thomas took the stage during an open-mic night at venue in Dallas’ Deep Ellum. “That night … I thought, ‘Why not?’” He sang the alternative/pop song, Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men.
The day after graduating high school in 2014, Thomas moved to Dallas but says the city “took a toll on my relationship with God. I stopped going to church, stopped having faith and, for a while, I completely stopped praying.”
Two years later, he joined the Navy. However, having been diagnosed with G6PD/Anemia and the Sickle Cell Trait, an inherited condition, he received a medical release, left the service in 2017 and soon returned to his music. That summer, he was the opening act for singer-songwriter Leon Bridges at Dallas’ now-defunct Drugstore Cowboy. Later that year, for his 21st birthday, he released his debut EP titled Love, Faith and Heartbreak.
For a time in 2018, Thomas was nearly homeless until he found Soar Creative Studios, a Dallas school and space for aerial artists that also has a rehearsal space and recording studio. There, he said, “My music picked up, and staying with it is the best decision I’ve ever made.” In 2019, his song Hold Me was released on Spotify. The following year, he received a message on Instagram from representatives for American Idol, who invited him to a private audition with an executive producer from the show. “I thought it was a scam at first,” he said, “but, I got past the executive producer level and on to the next round and made it all the way to Hollywood Week.”
When he’s not performing, Thomas works as a live-sound engineer at FireHouse Gastro Park, a restaurant and music venue in Grand Prairie. He also has a couple of new songs that were inspired by his year-old son, Samuel, but said he wants to write more. He plans to release an album in December 2023.
“My inspiration can come from noodling on an instrument, or a lyric pops up and I go to the recording app on my phone to capture it,” he said. “I just write life events, the external world — watching life do its thing.” (Watch Thomas perform at instagram.com/kelvinthomasmusic.)
Lyn Rejahl Pry is a freelance editor, writer and proofreader who is a born Cheesehead/Badger/Packer-backer and 1997 Dallas-Fort Worth transplant.