Listen to Tommie's Cant' Leave You Alone while you read
"ArtSeesDiner is proud to present, (drum roll please) Tommie Brewster!"
Tommie writes in her bio that she may appear somewhat narcissistic in submitting an article about her journey. I found that when you are as gifted as Tommie, you have the freedom to express the richness of that journey. In truth she is rather modest. Her rich, beautiful style reminds me of recent finds in Scotland in Britain's Got Talent, and American Idol, truth be known, New Zealand's got the greatest talent I have heard in a long time. Her vocals and soulful style is as smooth as warm honey, straight from the hive. Along with her vocal ability is an equally soulful pianist. Tommie Brewster is the queen bee, and there will be many buzzing about her giftedness for quite a long time to come. Welcome to the Diner Tommie, right this way your table is waiting!
It seems somewhat narcissistic and introspective when asked to
submit an article for ArtSeesDiner to simply write about oneself
although I am constantly reminded that all musicians are essentially
both those things and that in most cases this mixture is heavily laced
with a good measure of ego!
For me in all honesty, introspective is probably the one that most applies
and it has been a long road getting to the point of releasing all that ego
and self belief.
The story of my life in music since very early childhood is in many ways
magical, in other ways tragic but not I imagine unusual as all musicians
have stories to tell of traumas and obstacles and difficulties to overcome
along their journeys.
I grew up with music all around me and inside me; it has always been there,
speaking its mystical words in my inner ears. Some of my earliest memories
are a mixture of old blues, ragtime, swing, jazz on radio and vinyl, coupled
with live music from a wide circle of family deeply in Celtic roots and later
an older brother who went on to have a celebrated career in jazz, rock and
There were several voices in those early days that seemed to speak just to me
down the long decades of time: Bessie Smith, Blind Robert Johnson and
Edith Piaf. Each of these people, to me, handed me their hearts and souls
in their music and even as a very small child I would get those chills on
hearing any of them give forth with those inimitable voices. They stayed
with me, inside me, part of me always and remain my inspiration to this
As a talented child pianist I was fortunate to win a scholarship to the
Royal Academy of Music in London and graduated whilst still quite young,
having learned to play, adequately, on several other instruments along the
way. This was a whole different experience for me and I entered into
another love affair during that time which endures to this day; the love
affair was with Frederic Chopin and his magical, lyrical, masterful use
of the piano to produce what to me is some of the most wonderful music
ever written. Again, his music spoke to me and still does.
Force of circumstance and several difficult experiences in my life made
me close the door on music a long time ago in terms of the songwriting
and the performing which I had always intended to do for the rest of
my life. To all intents and purposes, I walked away from it, because
for various reasons, it simply hurt too much to continue. You see, as
with many creative songwriters I’m sure, the songs are not just part of me,
they are me; and when my heart and soul took a beating, they involuntarily
closed down and shut themselves away and the music went into hibernation.
Of course, I continued to listen to music, but not to create it and I even
parted with my beloved piano rather than look at it day by day. Until
one magical day some years later when by chance I was invited to sit
in on a recording session of another artist friend – a drummer – and the
magic took hold of me when he encouraged me to join in the jam session.
The flood gates were opened and since that day, only four short years ago,
I have had such a magical, wondrous ride on the back of all the music inside
me that cannot wait to be born into the world.
It never stops for me; music is I am pleased to say, once again my entire
life. I have so many songs inside me that are clamoring to be written down,
to be played, to be sung, to be recorded. When the floodgates opened, I
became exhausted by the 100+ songs which I have written since – and it
goes on day by day. I am very blessed, for I hear the whole song in my head
including the lyrics and the way it should all be arranged and it is as all
creative writers will know, such a struggle to reproduce that sound as you
hear it in your head.
In practical terms, I do things the old fashioned way; I commit all my music
first of all to manuscript, including all the parts for whatever instruments
I intend for the song including the drums and bass and, for instance, strings
if I am using them. I don’t use computer software at all, except to produce
the MP3 from my wav files. I record everything in wav format, never midi,
and with the parts I play personally, if I make a mistake I do the whole thing
again. Classical training dies hard!!!
My music spans many genres, including instrumental work, but my dearest
love is the blues – the blues in my own way. My first ever release was
Can’t Leave You Alone which I tentatively put on Reverbnation in October 2008
and which amazed me by shooting from around 3000 in the blues chart to
number 7 where it stayed for some weeks. It eventually had a run of over
3 months in the top 20 Global Chart and is still there. This was followed by
having three simultaneous number one positions on SongVault in three
different charts, being featured on The Jazz Network in the spotlight
for many weeks, and charting on several internet radio stations with several
of my subsequent songs.
I also reworked some traditional songs that are dear to my heart, particularly
some of the poems of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns and have been thrilled
with the response to my version of Red Red Rose which the very lovely
Rose Marie on Facebook’s All Things Robert Burns has promoted for me
towards the film of Burns’ life to be made later this year. This song
can be heard on my second myspace site, www.myspace.com/sweetazmuzic
where I also placed my version of Macushlah the old Irish song which has
particular sentimental associations for me and the only cover I have ever
done – Love Letters - to which I added additional lyrics to,
done especially for one very special person in my life.
The last few weeks have been breathless for me with Features on many
radio and internet radio stations, bios on MySpace by the absolutely
excellent IMGlobal and outstanding support from all my friends and
fans. I have to mention Nana Mex and her team Global Thunda network who have
helped me so much to believe in myself, to Bambi at KCOR for being there
from the start, to Juan at Wykkyd Radio, Brian at Womens Radio, Jacqueline
who is an amazing inspiration at Glori Radio, Shashona & Rogue at Awesome Radio,
Bob Birch in the UK, Brendan in Ireland, Jonno in Scotland, Sean at XRLENT,
wonderful Migue in Cuba and my friendDew at am1670 in Texas.
So many, many others: Wendy at Spirit fm, Gil at Black Routes,
Bootleg Asylum, SMT in Nashville, Diva JC in Florida…..
so so many kind people and of course the amazing Jaijai Jackson at
Jazz Network. You are all my angels. There is one other angel who
would wish to be nameless, so he shall remain so.
It is a very, very hard road to try and get attention for your music in this
crowded musical world, but so far I have been very fortunate in all these
people in radio supporting me and of course for all those people who
connect with my music and become fans and friends. I only ever wanted
‘to be heard’ – it was my dream to write, play, record, arrange and produce
my own album in my own way. For the sake of quality I have sought pro
help in mastering, but I still feel that I have almost achieved my dream
and my very first album will be released quite soon. I finally came home.