Tom Quell is a singer/songwriter and musician based in Berkeley, California. Her creates dreamy, soulful-pop that is both deeply personal, yet accessible for listeners from all walks of life. New to the Bay Area music scene, Tom’s vivid melodies fly high above his captivating vocals while injecting just enough funky soul-pop into his soundscapes. With his debut album “Marrow” out now, Tom Quell is a substitute teacher by day and promotes his new album at local shows since it’s release in June 2019.
Bringing together delicacy of concept and tone, “Even In Love” rises up from acoustic purity to captivating vocal warmth throughout its uplifting few minute journeys, impressing all the more so with each new moment that passes. The single implies a soulful-pop sentiment, acoustic minimalism, and an intimate and emotional vocal and story-line. As things progress, rhythm takes over, passion stands tall, and those solo beginnings evolve into a well-round moment of escapism for any listener. You appreciate the raw and honest set-up just the way it is, the live show is laid bare, and the prospect of that appeals immensely for its color, openness, and for the clear heart and soul that Tom Quell injects into the entire performance. “Even in Love” is a gorgeous song with a surprisingly unique edge of character to it. Hopefully, there’s more to come.
Listen to “Even In Love” here and read our exclusive interview with Tom Quell below!
Hey there Tom Quell! Welcome to BuzzMusic! We're incredibly excited to be featuring your newest album "Marrow"! Tell us about the recording process, and how the overall curative process was for this album?
Hello! It's an honor to be featured. The recording process was mostly completed back in February during a 9-day binge where I holed up with the two producers—Nate Bauld and Robin Applewood—and spent all day and all night recording. Some of these songs were written years ago, and some of them were written just before we started recording, but they all developed a similar luster in that process because I was working together with Nate and Robin to optimize the arrangements and the overall sound. We knew we were going for a smooth, dreamy sound, and we knew we wanted lots of vocal harmony and reverby electric guitars—but other than that, we just rode that studio wave. To put it simply, I chose the songs that I believed in the most, buckled down in the studio, and allowed myself to be open to the songs changing, which they did—a lot!
Who has had the biggest influence on your life musically thus far? Can you describe the impact this particular individual has had in terms of your song “Even In Love”?
It's hard to choose just one. If I'm being honest, my biggest musical influence is the early 2000s boy band sound: particularly *NSYNC. Current me doesn't love that excessive production style, but as a 10-year-old kid finding my singing voice by means of singing along to CDs on my Walkman, *NSYNC was the one. I wouldn't say that *NSYNC is one of my current influences, but the effect they had on my musical sensibilities at a young age will always remain with me. Even In Love is a good example of the vocal-harmony-rich sound that I love (sometimes to a fault), and *NSYNC's vocal harmonies certainly live within me somewhere and demand to be brought to the fore every now and then. I'm also a strong believer in the importance of a strong, catchy melody, which I think is present in Even In Love and is, of course, present in *NSYNC's sound. So I think Even In Love is where the melody and harmony of *NSYNC collide with simple, pared-down production.
What are some of your ultimate goals as an artist? Are any of these goals currently being put into place/being worked on?
I'd like to make a living with music—whether that be via performing, recording or songwriting— and I've certainly augmented the portion of my income that comes from music over the past year. But I'm not currently doing music full-time. My ultimate goal—as cheesy as this sounds—is to stay in touch with my love for music and the joy that it induces in me. Since I released my first album and have been trying to self-promote and do social media and all that stuff, I've lost touch with the essential simplicity that's at the foundation of my relationship with music. The amount of time and energy I spend on "music" that isn't actually doing music (i.e. social media, booking, promotion, etc.) frightens me and often discourages me. I feel like a shadow of myself a lot of times because that soul-sucking side of things doesn't seem real or important in the grand scheme of things. But the sad part is: the practical importance of doing such things is undeniably important if you want to make a living as a musician. At least I think it is. I'm figuring it out, but the truth is I'm often at odds with myself and the direction I'm aiming to go with music.
“Even In Love" obviously had a powerful underlying story to it. Are you able to dive deeper into the honest meaning of the track?
Sure. The song is about one of my all-time closest friends. After many years of friendship, she and I had a stint as lovers, and it was wonderful and beautiful. Then—in the midst of the recording process!—it ended in a way that was very painful for me and it was hard for me to let go. Within that pain, I realized that we still loved "the f**k out of each other" and that we always would: love wasn't the issue, wasn't what was lacking. But even the deepest and most enduring love doesn't necessarily equate to a successful relationship. Bonus fact: we didn't plan for Even In Love to be on the album. I wrote it at Hyde Street Studios as we were finishing up the final tracks, on a beautiful grand piano, blurry-eyed, through tears so hysterical it was almost hilarious. When Nate heard me perform it live, he insisted that we make it the 11th track on the album and voilà: now it's my most-streamed song on Spotify! Good call, Nate.
It was great having you here on BuzzMusic! Tell us more about what's next for you after this album release? Any shows in the near future?!
These were great questions and it was a pleasure answering them! I have a few solo shows in Oakland/Berkeley in the coming weeks and a full-band show in San Francisco in December (more details to come). I'm also working on booking a full-band show or two in November, and solo gigs pop up pretty frequently, so you can definitely catch me in the East Bay. I'm most active on Instagram—that and my website are where you'll find info about upcoming shows. Other than that, I'm trying to keep writing every day, keep improving at the guitar, and (as I said earlier) stay in touch with my foundational love for music. Oh, and I just bought a clarinet and I've been practicing that—you wouldn't believe how bad I am at it! Thanks so much for featuring me. Until next time.