Why did you want to be a musician?
That’s a tough question. I’ve always loved music, but I hadn’t thought much about being a musician. I didn’t take up music or playing an instrument seriously until I picked up a guitar at age 18. Even then, I mostly just played out of the love for playing. I entered Catholic seminary after college, and when that didn’t go as planned, I wasn’t sure what to do. I had always wanted to make a record so I set out to do that. I always assumed I’d make the record, then move on to whatever it was I was supposed to do in the world. Through that process, I realized that music was exactly what I was supposed to be doing in the world.
What part of being a singer/songwriter do you like the most?
Without a doubt telling stories, and as a result hearing other people’s stories. I am passionate about connecting with people. Being a songwriter provides me with a platform to connect with people more deeply than I ever could imagine otherwise. I am grateful for that.
Who or what inspires you?
Life inspires me. People inspire me. Nature inspires me. I’ve grown to realize that my job is to see beauty all around me. Once done, my job is to try to capture that beauty in music or images so that in turn, I can relay that beauty to others. The more time I spend being an artist, the more my heart is open to the world. When your heart is open to the world, it is easy to be inspired.
Is being openly gay a challenge for you in the music industry?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve never been anything but openly gay in the music industry. I have nothing to compare it to and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I believe authenticity is the most important way to make deep and real connections with those around you. That’s my goal. My husband has always been my number one fan. He’s been with me since the beginning. If I’m writing songs that are shaped by my experience, it would be disingenuous to deny that.
What song means the most to me and why?
There is a song on my newest record, What Doesn’t Break, called “All My Life.” In many ways I think that’s the most honest and revealing song I’ve ever released up to this point. I wrote that in a state of vulnerability and that shines through. I write a lot of happy love songs, big pop songs, optimistic anthems. “All My Life” is that. But it’s deeper still. I’m proud of the emotion I was able to strike with that piece.
Do you have any pre or post performance rituals?
Naw, not really. I spend most of my time before and after the show just chatting with folks. I love performing. It doesn’t make me anxious or nervous. It’s where I feel the most at home. I know I was born to be a songwriter and storyteller. I feel like a fully actualized version of myself when I perform. I am so grateful that it’s my job.
Are there any unique places you have performed?
For sure! I would say the most unique places I have performed have all been clothing optional. A couple years ago I performed at Gay Naturist International, a worldwide retreat of gay naturists (obviously). It was so much fun!
What part of being a touring musician don’t you enjoy?
Everything but the performing! I spend a lot of time booking, promoting, and driving. As an independent musician, I am more or less a one stop shop. That can be hard. The sheer energy it takes to book, promote, plan travel, drive, set up, tear down, and socialize each night is a lot for one person to take on. But it’s all worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you could write or perform with any artist who would it be and why?
Oh man, just one? That’s too hard to answer. I’d love to write with Paul McCartney, Dave Matthews, or David Gray. I’m in awe of their writing and the longevity of their careers. I would sit in the studio with M83, AWOLNATION or Ryan Tedder because I would learn so much about arrangements and audio engineering. They do things on their records that I can’t even imagine thinking up. I would perform with Childish Gambino, Garth Brooks, or Macklemore & Ryan Lewis because they bring so much energy and have such different perspectives than myself. Any of these would be a dream come true.
What can people expect to see at a Tom Goss show?
This sounds like a cliche, but folks at my shows laugh, cry, and think, and are moved in ways in which they don’t initially expect. As mentioned above, my goal in performing is authenticity. I want people to see the real me, all of it, the good and the bad. I am an open heart, an open book. People are touched by that and see themselves reflected. My only hope is people then bring that back out into the world and share it with one another.
What advice would you give to any musicians struggling with coming out?
If a person isn’t being truly authentic they can’t expect to create their best art. It’s really simple as that. Great art isn’t created by withholding. Great art is created by putting your everything into it. If the artist is gay, that means they have a responsibility to their art to be authentic to their story and relay that through their art.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would believe in myself.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
I would like to be having a great adventure with my husband. I would like to laugh more. I would like to be creating honest and impactful music, videos and live shows. I would like to be confident, happy and loved.