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Digital Subscriptions > Winq > Winter 2016/17 > BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT

"Always look on the bright side of life" is an apt mantra to apply to our 2016 Music Award recipient Rod Thomas, otherwise known as Bright Light Bright Light. His music is impossibly catchy and imbues the listener with the same sense of boundless optimism that Thomas himself exudes. As an independent artist, he's free to create music on his terms, without the bureaucratic pressures of large record labels. That presents its own challenges, of course, which are skilfully navigated with a little help from his friends, Sir Elton John and the Scissor Sisters among them

IMAGES > MARKUS BIDAUX

STYLING > NICK BYAM

GROOMING > ZOE MOORE

LOCATION > HARBAR AT THE HARBOUR HOTEL, BRIGHTON

THE MUSIC AWARD

I meet Rod Thomas, known professionally as Bright Light Bright Light, in Brighton's bustling train station. Our trains – mine from nearby Lewes and his from London, where he owns a house and stays when not in his adopted hometown of New York – arrive almost simultaneously, and I spot him soon after. Despite his stage name (inspired by the film Gremlins, if you're wondering) and the name of the iconic seaside resort we're in, it proves to be the opposite of bright by way of weather. The company, however, is the opposite.

Known for his upbeat, swooping and swooning pop songs (The Guardian affectionately dubbed him "painstakingly optimistic"), on the face of it, you might expect a sickeningly-sweet positivity from Thomas, but the reality is a much more balanced bright-side-of-life approach. A Welsh boy, his voice lilts rhythmically as we make small talk before reaching the photo shoot and interview venue, the bar of a seafront hotel with a view of the jutting pier.

I first saw Thomas perform at the 2015 British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park on the Carnival Stage. Although competing with main stage acts including Years & Years, Grace Jones and Kylie, Bright Light Bright Light drew a sizeable crowd of his own, all revelling in the feel-good factor of his music. That was pre-Choreography, his third studio album which came out earlier this year, and sees the 33-year-old team up with, amongst others, Elton John for lead single 'All in the Name'. The album was inspired by Thomas' love of the movies, and reached number 11 in the UK Independent Album Charts, but the single saw him, accompanied by John, become the first independent act to perform on the coveted Graham Norton Show. After a whirlwind six months of promoting the album, he's just released Cinematography, a six-track EP of covers of songs that inspired Choreography.

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About Winq

The new Winter issue of Winq is all about our Men of the Year. We have created a very special special edition and are honouring the great, the gay and the good from the worlds of Activism, Business, Culture, Media, Music, Sport and Travel. The brilliant Mark Gatiss is our well-deserved Man of the Year and talks Sherlock, Doctor Who and the perils of Donald Trump in an eight-page interview. Diver Chris Mears talks winning gold in Rio and bags the Sport Award, Dan Mathews is our Activism Award winner and reveals an extraordinary life with PETA, plus we chat to Bright Light Bright Light about his smash album Choreography, journalist Owen Jones, author Jonathan Harvey, master perfumer Roja Dove and more. Read full interviews with all winners and check out our stunning style, homes and culture sections. The wait is over - Winq is the luxury lifestyle magazine for gay men.
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