Toby Tomtom is an artist who exists purely to inspire others to reach their potential in life. It’s a little known fact that he was the man who took a young, unsigned Alicia Keys under his wing – teaching her the skills to sing in studio and also wrote and produced her first demo played on New York radio NYC Hot 97. Before even that, Toby had won an accolade now shared by John Legend – an ASCAP Abe Olman Award, which is given top top-tier up and coming songwriters. Since then, he has apprenticed and wrote/produced with Kenni Hairston (notably famed for working with Lauper and Cameo and writing “Running Back to You” for Vanessa Williams).
Presumably channelling some inner Miles Davis, who he lists as one of his major influences, Toby is an avid trumpeter. Having attended a college scholarship learning jazz and classical disciplines he is currently passing on the knowledge to his 8-year old son, which has re-ignited the passion for his first love – music. Having had a longstanding partnership with his brother on R&B/ Hip-hop writing and production, their eventual split encouraged an expansion of his musical creativity and diversity.
‘Born 2 Be Free‘ was a track inspired by his youngest son, that encapsulates an uplifting message – in his own words:
“It’s my hope for every child in the world. Dance if you want, pray if you want, love who you want! No shackles… gotta fight to be free!”
With a hands on approach in terms of composition and production, Toby showcases an array of talent on vocals, trumpet, piano, bass, guitar and drums, which correlates into something bridging the dance/EDM spectrum during recording, but equally transposes into intimate guitar and vocal sessions when performed live. Toby has stated the importance of his acoustic guitar as part of his songwriting process, so perhaps ‘Toby Unplugged’ is a potential could be a concept soon to be realised. In the mean time, in the tradition of Stevie Wonder and Calvin Harris this one-man wall of sound is ready for his songs to touch the world.