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Digital Subscriptions > > 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






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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