Notes in a Song with Thomas Albert

Over the years, pop music has become known as vapid, emotionless and trashy. If mainstream pop music is any indication, this perception isn’t entirely wrong. However, people often forget to factor in the talented, if slightly lesser known, musicians who have defied all stereotypes and given the genre a life of its own. One such notable artist is Thomas Albert.

For his first independent gig at The Hive, Thomas was joined by Nikhil Nair on bass. To say that their playing styles gel together nicely would be a gross understatement, if there ever was one! Nair’s smooth bass lines blended with Albert’s soulful voice, creating the perfect melodies.

In the short yet remarkable set, they covered tracks by artists like Porcupine Tree, Coldplay, Elvis Presley and Delbert McClinton, managing to do justice to each of them. If you’ve ever listened to Elvis covers, you know this isn’t the easiest feat. But somehow, Thomas Albert managed to do just that, all while making it seem effortless! Every note of Can’t Help Falling in Love featured an honesty and a bliss that is rarely seen in contemporary pop music.

The romance didn’t stop there. Apart from covering Yellow by Coldplay, the musicians also played Dana, an original composition by Thomas Albert. Though he described writing songs for a specific person as a "pain in the @$s", he did say that Dana was the exception to the rule. Dedicated to a girl he briefly met when he first came to Mumbai, the song is a happy, chirpy number that you will hum for hours after just one listen!

Early on in the set, Thomas and Nikhil were also joined by Ken Li. Originally from Malaysia, Li has been writing with Thomas for almost as long as he’s been in Mumbai. Together, they performed The Wall, a song that talks about the plight of underprivileged children in the city. They performed another original composition, Hope, which is guaranteed to make even the harshest critic smile.

Towards the end of the set, audiences were treated to a surprise performance. The best part? Even the surprise performer didn’t know she would be performing! Rachel Philip, a force to be reckoned with on the local Jazz and Blues scene, was casually enjoying Albert’s performance when he asked her to join him on stage! They combined Albert’s pop sensibilities with Rachel’s power-packed voice in one of the best covers of Delbert McClinton‘s Twist And Shout / La Bamba!

Each note of each song played by Thomas Albert redefined pop music and smashed every negative stereotype about the genre. The set, filled with happy pop melodies, was a delight from start to finish. If you know someone who thinks that the genre lacks soul, take them along for the musician’s next gig and watch them leave with a smile on their face!

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