The Music Award 2016: Bright Light Bright Light
Introducing Bright Light Bright Light (the stage name of Rod Thomas), a self-made, independent musician with Elton John on speed-dial and the recipient of the 2016 Winq Music Award, presented by frontman of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells, at our 2016 awards luncheon, supported by United Airlines.
Rod Thomas, aka Bright Light Bright Light, is self-employed. He’s his own writer, performer, producer and record label. Yet the first single from Choreography, his third album, was a smash that saw Rod (alongside collaborator Elton John) perform ‘All in the Name’ as the first-ever unsigned act on Graham Norton’s show. Turns out it’s the pop album of the year, awash with hooks and soaring choruses: ‘Into the Night’ is gold standard, ‘Running Back to You’ epic. Other collaborators include the Scissor Sisters and Alan Cumming, meaning a party in a can. Throw the digital equivalent of coins into the hat; he’s worth it.
Rod on his stage presence:
“I just make music because it’s really the only thing I’m very good at doing. Playing live is fun, but it’s actually quite hard. It’s something that I’ve had to work on a lot over the last couple of years; how to be a more confident performer, how to do what I really want to do on stage and how to make the show engaging and fun. That’s been a really big learning curve, I think; evolving and changing and fine-tuning stuff until it’s a really fun live show rather than just another live performance.”
Rod on his upbeat optimism:
“I think it’s because I find Britain a place where people complain a lot, and I hate it so much that I drew my focus onto things that made me optimistic and positive. You see a lot of people living their best lives with whatever they’ve got, but most people like to either coast by or complain about things they don’t have, which I find so super boring, unless you’re going to do something about it. I really love the moments in cinema where people escape the humdrum and let themselves fall into the fantasy.
“That’s my focus and that’s what I want to bring in the music, that’s what I want to give people in the music – that little sense of hope or ridiculous optimism to just have a slightly-better time.”
Rod on growing up in rural Wales:
“For me, cinema, books and radio – they were direct channels to the wider world. In cinema, you’d see these worlds where people act differently, where people are gay, where people are black, where people are scientists and creators and dream about space, and where people talk about things that people don’t at home. For me, that really blew the doors off the barn. I really needed that because I just didn’t feel connected to life in a quiet valley. I was clearly not meant to stay there, you can’t really live there as a gay man.”
Congratulations to Bright Light Bright Light, the winner of the 2016 Winq Music Award! Pick up your copy of Winq Winter 2016, out now, to read the full eight-page feature, along with all the other interviews with our Men of the Year.