Carly Thomas
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Carly Thomas

London, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF | AFM

London, Ontario, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Americana Alternative




"Explode Review"

Explode is a five-track EP that’s full of heartfelt emotion and sincere musings on life and love. Working in a pop/folk vein, with touches of country evident at times, Thomas’ strong voice wrings every bit of
meaning out of her intricate lyrics.

Performance: A

Production: A - Scene Magazine (December 2014)

"Carly Thomas debuts Explode"

“Where do I start?”

Carly Thomas sips her coffee and begins to recount her tale of intermittent musicianship.

She’s lived all over the world, calling places like France, New York and Argentina home.

Every place has taken her on new adventures, but music is a path she is used to walking down.

Now Thomas is finally releasing her first E.P. in five years, “Explode,” Oct. 3rd at Call the Office.

“A few years went by since I had anything that I recorded and I just wanted to get a lot of songs out. Like just starting to collaborate with people and play live again, and kind of get the hunger back for it,” she explained.

After eight and a half years living in Vancouver, the singer songwriter was visiting family for Christmas, and just never left London.

“I just decided that there’s a lot of stuff that I should stay and be a part of, just to kind of keep moving in a good direction in my life.”

Playing acoustically in venues around London, people started asking her where they could get their own copy of her music and she realized it was time to step into the studio.

“I just poured everything into it and now I’m just going to work hard on this road for a while and see where it takes me – hopefully great places.”

Her rock-pop sound is reminiscent of 90s songstresses Sarah McLachlan and Ani diFranco, with the occasional country pop twang that adds a moody edge to the tracks.

Thomas says her songwriting is often inspired by love, but is more often about shared human experiences.

“I think my songs are getting less and less about specific stories and more about, sort of like those common ideas that everyone has, and places that we all get to, emotionally.”

“A lot of emotion. Step inside my emotions,” she laughs.

“Explode” is comprised of five tracks that Thomas has been playing for at least five years.

Funding the EP on a tight budget, the time was right when Michael Marucci of Sonic Zen Studios was offering prices Thomas couldn’t pass up.

“I just needed to decide it was possible,” Thomas said, of putting it off for too long.

The songwriter has envisioned songs like the title track "Explode" in her head since living in Vancouver and playing it with her band at the time, The Gentle Ladies.

When she finally laid down the track, seeing it become what she had always wanted it to be was immensely satisfactory, said Thomas.

Excited to play London’s staple live music venue tonight, Thomas is ready to carve her niche in London’s music scene.

“It’s sink or swim let’s go,” she said.

Catch Carly Thomas at Call the Office tonight (Oct 3rd 2014). - London Fuse

"London singer-songwriter inspired by her travels"

By Neil McDonald

Carly Thomas may currently call London, Ont. home, but the singer-songwriter, whose new five-song EP "Explode" was released last month, is as well-travelled as they come.

Born in Bangkok, Thailand, Thomas has also lived in Argentina, France, the U.S. and Canada. She'll make her first-ever appearance in Guelph on Nov. 22 at Van Gogh's Ear with bandmates Pat Dryburgh (guitar), John Huff (drums) and Steve Clark (bass), and said her extensive travels have helped shape her songwriting in ways that are difficult to articulate.

"I think it has, but I couldn't tell you specifically how," she said in a phone interview earlier this week. "I think it's just the varied experiences I've had and being a part of so many different cultures and so many different landscapes growing up. It's just always worked into my perspective and I find I always write about that transition, so it sort of built a depth in my character, I think, to be around so many different people and places. I think everything like that will affect your writing. I couldn't analyze exactly how for you, but I definitely can feel it."

Explode is Thomas's first album since 2010's "Up This High," a four-year gap she said was instrumental in deciding to release an EP this time around.

"Honestly, for me, it was a matter of just getting the songs out there as soon as I could. I had a bit of a break after I recorded my last album, so for an EP, I thought, 'You know what, that's a good way to get in there, it's not going to take as much time as a full-length.' There had been a lot of songs that I'd written even three years ago that I had had and I had been playing live, so I wanted to just kind of get it out right away so I can start working on the next project," she said.

Thomas continued: "The creative process is always really funny. As soon as I started recording for 'Explode,' I started getting so inspired and motivated for new songs, so I started writing a lot while I was in the recording process. I'm always looking for the next thing, and for me it was sort of like all those five songs, I've sent them off to college, they're good to go, they're off on their own now and I can start working on the next thing."

Recorded at Sonic Zen Studios in London with producer Michael Marucci, the sessions for "Explode" allowed Thomas to take a little more time during the recording process than on previous albums, she said.

"With Mike here, it was just really welcoming to be able to just sit back and take a few days off if I wanted to and sort of re-evaluate what I wanted to do with each song and with each arrangement," said Thomas, who also recently released the song "I Remember You" from the documentary "Behind the Curtain: How We Survive" about the effects on families of losing children to suicide, a song from which all proceeds go to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

A recent nominee in the contemporary singer-songwriter category at London's Jack Richardson Music Awards, Thomas has come a long way from the shy 16-year-old who first took to the stage in Paris, France, a year before she took the decidedly not-shy step of moving to New York City to begin paying her dues in folk clubs.

The support she received at her early performances helped set her on her musical journey, she said.

"The first time I ever played was at this little bar in Paris and it was sort of a cavern, sort of underground bar," Thomas recalled. "And I was always a really shy kid in high school. I was really quiet, but I always wrote and all I wanted to do was play music and figure that out, but I was really introverted at the same time. But as soon as I started doing that, people came out from everywhere and just supported me and I think that helped me get into it. I remember that first gig that I played, I was elated after. It was one of the best nights of my life and that was sort of a turning point of realizing, 'I gotta figure out how to do this for the rest of my life.'" - Guelph Mercury

"Carly Thomas Explode"

London, Ontario’s own Carly Thomas has released a her new single “Explode,” and it’s available here as a free download for a limited time. She reminds us a little of Aimee Mann with Holly McNarland’s back up band.

All of this 90’s revival contemporary pop-rock is making me really giddy. It reminds me of my youth in a big way. Carly Thomas has a long to sing about, I’m sure she has some very interested stories to tell for she’s been all over the world. Born in Thailand and raised everywhere from Buenos Aries to Ottawa Ontario, and even Paris France.

A video for “Explode” is in the works and we look forward to seeing that. You can Catch Thomas singing her heart out live in Guelph, Ontario this Saturday night (the 22nd) at Van Gogh’s Ear. As an added bonus, we’ve added another song of hers “Montreal Train Song,” cause it’s great (and yes because it has Montreal in the title); BAM. - Lady Indie

"Carly Thomas The Interview"

London-based singer/songwriter Carly Thomas and her band will be making their Guelph debut at Van Gogh’s Ear on Saturday, November 22 . The show starts at 9 p.m., and also features local band Let’s Just Be Friends. Carly has just released her new E.P. “Explode” recorded at London’s Sonic Zen Studios by Michael “Musashi” Marucci. We reached her at home in London. Music: Carly Thomas, “Lightning Bolts” and “Explode” from “Explode EP” (2014, Self). - Jan Hall - Folk Roots Radio

"LGM Spotlight: Carly Thomas"

Singer-songwriter Carly Thomas is a citizen of the world. She was born in Thailand, and has since lived in Argentina, France, and various cities in the United States and Canada. Moving around so much has made her both introspective and observant – trademarks of her lyrics, which are at the same time very personal and universal.

Carly has family roots in London. She came back here from Vancouver a few years ago to find fresh perspective and get some momentum. Her move was Vancouver’s loss and London’s gain. Carly’s simply a wonderful songwriter. Her music is subtle and lush and beautiful, in the style of Ani Difranco or Sarah Harmer in her quiet moments. She has recorded two EPs, Distance (2003) and Up This High (2010), and is currently at work on her third, tentatively titled Explode, with Mike Marucci at Sonic Zen Studios.

LGM sat down with Carly to talk about her life, her music, and where she goes from here.

Sidenote: Carly will be playing at Fitzray’s on Saturday, May 24, with some very special guests joining her band!

Carly Thomas
By Your Side - London Groove Machine

"Thomas Takes You High"

After starting out in Bangkok, Carly Thomas found her road to London after about 28 years.

The singer-songwriter has long had family ties here.

But frequent moves had her living in Thailand (she was born in Bangkok), Argentina, France, B.C. and elsewhere.

Thomas has finally found her creative way to London where she is working on her third studio album and finds new friends as she reconnects with familiar talents.

“I have an apartment in Wortley . . . that’s the first time that’s happened,” Thomas said during this week’s Reaney’s Pick video shoot.

Thomas, 29, is heard singing By Your Side, a song of hers from 2010’s Up This High.

Among her B.C. allies on Up This High is her cousin Melissa McCready, a former Londoner with ties to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic secondary school.

McCready is heard on guitars, trumpet and background vocals. She is also among the “additional credits” for “helping shape the details” of two of Thomas’s songs on the fine album.

Now, there are new allies and new projects.

“I ended up meeting a lot of people here,” Thomas said Tuesday of her time since arriving in London.

Among them is singer-songwriter-rocker Sarah Smith.

Thomas was asked to open for Smith at Aeolian Hall when Smith was launching her 2012 album Stronger Now, later named No. 1 on The Free Press Top 10 for London albums.

“ ‘C’mon, Carly,’ ” Thomas recalled of Smith’s invitation to join the gig after the relatively newly-arrived singer-songwriter might have hesitated a bit, aware of how sought-after was the opening spot.

“It meant a lot for me,” Thomas said.

She is also enjoying the chance to work with award-winning London filmmakers — director Edward Platero and producer Pat Dryburgh — on a film about the electronic dance music (EDM) scene.

Platero and Dryburgh were also active on the London music scene long before teaming to win the 2012 London Fringe 62-hour Film contest with the “powerful, technically stunning” The Rose is White.

Details at said Platero “hopes to chronicle the rise of EDM in North American culture through the eyes of the artists, fans, industry leaders, and critics.”

On Tuesday, Thomas was sporting a button for “The Drop Film.”

The project has already taken her to such places as Dallas for a major EDM New Year’s Eve-themed event with superstar DJ Avicii. - The London Free Press

"BC Based Singer/Songwriter"

BC Singer/Songwriter Carly Thomas by Anna Coutis, Lori Mastronardi, Brian Wong
B.C.-based singer-songwriter Carly Thomas is the epitome of a worldly person: she's lived everywhere from Argentina and France to Thailand and Canada. And it shows. Thomas brings her experience to all of her songs, offering listeners her words of wisdom through heartfelt lyrics and beautiful acoustic guitar lines. Thomas's strong, clear voice is always thick with emotion, which adds to both the sincerity and beauty of her soft indie folk songs. Her tunes drip with truthfulness, as she isn't afraid to expose her heart in order to help her listeners mend theirs. Thomas takes what she learned from her classical guitar lessons in Central America and adds her own poetic spin to it. With her earthy voice and raw lyrics, Thomas's sound is comparable to female folk singer-songwriters such as Ani DiFranco. Thomas recently released her debut album, Distance. The disc, which contains only eight songs, is so beautiful it will likely leave you wanting more. To get a taste of her sound, listen to the title track on her MySpace page, Thomas brings her talent to the Forest City this weekend; she will perform alongside singer Jarod Parlee at the London Music Club's Front Room June 21. Tickets are $5 and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. The London Free Press Anna Coutis, Lori Mastronardi, Brian Wong Special to Sun Media June 19, 2008 - The London Free Press

"Review of Debut Album, Distance"

Review Of "Distance" by by Southofmainstream
Angry folk is a subgenre created by avid listeners of groundbreaking musicians like Ani Difranco. Angry chick rock has a less positive connotation, often because of the oversaturation of on clear channel-esque radio outlets. But the genre has some stellar singer/songwriters, including Tegan and Sara and Holly McNarland. Carly Thomas is a musician of the same caliber. She’s got the clear voice, tinged with just a hint of gruff reserve. Her delivery is strong and without hesitation and can have a bit of sarcasm or calm candor. Her honesty, above all else, shines and captivates the listener. Carly has the honesty and the true and obvious talent to stand out and shine in an oversaturated radio market. - South Of Mainstream (blog)

"Longtime Grant Fan will open Aeolian Hall Show"

An American singer-songwriter’s visa problems mean one of Jenn Grant’s London fans gets a chance to open for the East Coast star on Sunday.

Carly Thomas of London said she is excited about joining the Grant bill at Aeolian Hall on Sunday.

“Not sure if you are familiar with Jenn Grant, but I love her music and was just asked to fill in as a local opening act this Sunday,” Thomas said in an e-mail. “Any attention for this event would be wonderful. I’ll be doing an opening set.”

Grant is touring to support The Beautiful Wild, her third album on Six Shooter Records. The Beautiful Wild has such East Coast guests as Old Man Luedecke, Rose Cousins, Erin Costello, Kinley Dowling, David Christiansen and the Halifax Boys’ Honour Choir.

Thomas recently settled in London, where she has family ties, after living in Thailand (she was born in Bangkok), Argentina, France, B.C. and elsewhere.

She replaces U.S. performer Erin McKeown, who was scheduled to perform four dates on the Grant tour. “Unfortunately, Erin was not able to procure the necessary visas to perform in Canada,” the hall said in a media release.

McKeown is being replaced by East Coast performer Daniel Ledwell on other tour stops. - The London Free Press

"Carly Thomas - World traveling Songwriter/Singer."

Carly Thomas moved to London three years ago to escape the B.C. grind and be closer with family. It turned out to be just the kick her career needed, with the release of a new EP Explode.

The progressive indie folk artist talked about her album release, her eclectic musical style and the decision to make London home after a life abroad.

Explode, Thomas’ third album – and first since moving to London – has been a few years in the making. While the Toronto music scene originally had priority, she found instead that London was the right choice for her career.

“I would have never guessed it but the scene here is so supportive, and it’s really growing,” she said. “It was a good time to get in this area and play around here. It’s been awesome.”

Where multiple music, culture and student circles are connected, the Forest City just continued making sense.

“I’ve gotten a really great response from people, and artists have helped me out,” she said. “I’ve met so many good players that just want to play and do something. [They] just want to be part of it.”

The new album – available instore at Grooves and online at Bandcamp – also let Thomas expand from her previous work.

“I want to be pushing those boundaries of defining a genre,” she said. “But I’ll also have the lyrical content, which I think is sort of my style, because I really do consider myself more of a writer than a guitar player.”

“But musically I want to stretch some boundaries and not keep [making] the same sound.”

Originally born in Thailand, Thomas lived in Argentina, France and multiple U.S. cities before moving to B.C.

She said while each place influenced her, two stood out when it came to defining her style.

“When I lived in Paris and I lived in Buenos Aries it was so rich in culture, and Argentina has very European flair, there’s a lot of attention to the arts even [in] the schools.”

Moving constantly wasn’t easy, but for Thomas, music became her rock during the emotional ups and downs.

Recalling youth in Buenos Aries, a dean suggested she put on a show for the school – something that freaked out a then ninth-grade Thomas, but she found it was worth it.

“When I did [the show] I felt so good about it,” she said. “That was the turning point for me because I realized music was how I was known now.”

Even with a global viewpoint, it was mostly North American music still held her attention.

“When I first learned to play I was hugely inspired by Ani DiFranco, just because of her guitar playing and writing, Oasis … Nirvana songs and The Offspring,” she said. “My style wasn’t influenced directly by one – [there] was a broader appeal instead.”

Amazing skill and clean-cut lyrics make Thomas a great force on stage. With a backing band she’s able to experiment more, bringing out new unexpected sounds including mild EDM and edgier electric guitar chords.

With opening acts Deni Gauthier and The Sarah Halabecki Band, the release show was a great success.

“We had a fantastic turnout at Call The Office, filled with lots of supportive fans and fellow artists who came to celebrate with us, the band and I were thrilled to have such a captive audience. It was received with open hearts.” - Interrobang/fanshawe college

"Carly Thomas - Behind The Ficus"

It does not matter who you are, or where you are in your musical career, you only have once chance to make a favorable first impression to a new listener. Not that you are likely to make it or break it with one chance alone (because we have all given second chances at some point in our lives – several of the bands I learned to enjoy didn’t necessarily win me over with their first shot). But for a music junkie and blogger like me, if I’m hitting the skip button less than ten seconds in, chances are you’ve lost me; I’ve already moved on. In my defense, there are not enough hours in the day to fully immerse myself in every single or album submission that drops into our inbox, so as a friendly PSA, that strong first impression is a must.

I fondly recall the summer of 2017 when emerging indie folk-rocker Carly Thomas appeared on the bill at a popular annual festival in London, ON. Considered a local girl at that particular time, I would later learn of her somewhat nomadic lifestyle – born in Thailand, and raised in Argentina, France, and North America – even now, this versatile artist is splitting her residential status between Ontario and San Francisco, CA. But no matter how well travelled Carly happened to be, it was an intimate songwriter circle in the early afternoon that brought her music to my ears; and sharing a stage with the likes of Dana Sipos and Suzie Ungerleider (Oh Susanna), was no average music ensemble on this particular day. Carly more than held her own, thus making it easy to accept an open invitation to return for her debut main stage show complete with full band later that evening. And after a highly energetic set, she not only checked all of the boxes on the ‘first impressions’ scorecard, but cemented her status as a headline caliber artist in her own right too.

But as fast as Carly Thomas earned our attention, she quickly disappeared from the music radar for a while, at least until returning just a couple of months ago with an absolute bang! Announcing the upcoming release of her third full-length studio album, “Behind The Ficus,” Carly assertively stepped up to the plate, took a swing, and blasted a home run out of the park with the lead single, “Stay With Me.” I recall first hearing this song during a routine workday, and stopped absolutely dead in my tracks, scrambling to learn who was responsible for this truly inspirational sensory delight. “And I don’t wanna be rude, lying here covered in blue / Under a sky full of stars I’m lying in your arms / Wondering which one of us is the fool.”

Rooted in her deepest psyche, and described by the artist as ‘what vulnerability looks like in relationships,’ this proved to be a delicate, minimalist Americana ballad that tears away at the heart. “Writing Stay With Me was a cathartic way of unfolding some tucked away emotions,” Carly offers. “It’s about fighting those internal walls we build up along the way. There’s a huge vulnerability in truly showing who you are to someone over and over, and there’s a weight that comes with it that can be exhausting.” “And I don’t wanna confuse you / And I don’t wanna lose you tonight / Stay by my side if you don’t mind then I don’t mind.”

Featuring eleven new compositions, “Behind The Ficus” paints many pictures of Carly’s nomadic lifestyle, offering imagery of Parisian train stations, Toronto rooftops, coastal vistas, and gritty American highways, which combine to bring a varied, yet cohesive feel to the music. It is, in short, a candid and personal glimpse of an artist in bloom, navigating through irrational self-doubt and the messiness of heartache, leaving the listener with a beautifully framed map of life’s journey through the things that make us human – love, loss, grief and growth. But if you expect to find another ten songs that follow the formula behind “Stay With Me,” prepare to be wrong, because, as I alluded to earlier, Carly’s incredible versatility shall exceed your expectations. From radio-friendly pop, to dark indie-rock and beyond, Carly transitions between genres with formidable ease, yet simultaneously keeps the album narrative on track with perfect precision and continuity.

Those indie-rock roots can certainly be found in tracks such as “September,” which straddles a fine line between rock and Americana, and “Carolina,” itself another subsequent single shared before the album launch. “I want you to show me what I know you can’t explain / Walk with me though the ocean breeze, stand with me on the edge / On the border of a holy moment and I can’t look away / I watch this burn like a wildfire on a torrid California day.” With a powerful start, Carly very quickly flexes her vocal muscles, her voice dominates the speaker, drawing you into her world, like an old friend or confidant. “In my mind I’m gone to Carolina was a line in my head when I was looking for a name for this song. I’ve never been to Carolina even though most of my music is based on places I’ve travelled,” she offers. “Carolina is an almost moment. A fleeting glimpse. This is a special snapshot of a wanting to be there, but never meant to be.” “Carolina, can you stay? / I’ve been afraid to dive in / And I don’t want to live that way / I’ve been hiding out for days / If you don’t break this silence at least let me wash away.”

I took an immediate liking to a pair of radio-friendly tracks that not only move Carly’s music towards the mainstream, but also tie in some truly nostalgic sounds and influences that transported this particular listener back to the days of 80s power pop-rock. “Can I Be The Fire” would make for a convincing 80s action movie soundtrack during one of those pivotal moments where the main character is seemingly down and out: “Show me a light, aside from the white / Of these walls I need this / Give me something else, ring all the bells / Cast your ancient spells / Can you feel this / Hear me out.” Offering cues from the past, the track shifts gears as it progresses, before returning to decades past with the perfect placement of a wailing AOR guitar solo.

Depending on your tastes for 80s synth rock, “Front Row” can easily whisk you back away to the era of big hair and snow-washed denim. “Dreaming of the west coast / Even L.A. feels like home / I thought I saw you in the cool glow / Time is fleeting / I feel you leaving / See you in the crowd / Music is loud / I need you right now / I’ll be waiting in the front row / I know you’ll come around.” The sound is definitely post-new romantic, where a soft melodic beat is mated to moody rock riffs, a place where Pat Benatar fans will rejoice in these big pop-rock sounds that rose to prominence across most of the western hemisphere back in the day. “Bringing these songs into the light was like digging through the clutter that builds up and trying to find myself again,” Carly shares. “Only this was taking up space in my heart and soul, it feels like a fresh start. I also wanted to find humour in the process, because like music, laughter has the incredible healing power.”

While “Stay With Me” remains my favored track here, there are a pair of tunes in particular that really caught my attention. How could I not fall head over heels in love with “Virginia Is For Lovers (The River),” given our geographical proximity to the State? Being a little over an hour’s drive from our PA home, this song conjures images of those four words adorning the ‘Welcome to Virginia” highway signs, and on the foot of many Virginia motor vehicle license plates. And then we have “Where’d You Go,” complete with ringing piano keys that completely grab my attention (I’m a sucker for piano ballads, what can I say?). I love the pace of this track and the instrumentation choices. I love how Carly’s vocals transcend between powerful and emotive, to soft-spoken and vulnerable: “There isn’t time to wonder why / Or analyze / Do you suppose / We’ll never know / Finding homes in catacombs / Dig through the bones / Something told you / Leave it alone.” This deliberate mellowness allows us all time to slow things down, to reflect, to simply be in the moment, at least until the arrival of an overpowering guitar solo that fills the void perfectly and snaps us from our momentary daze. This truly would be an essential track to experience live, with the full band in tow, a perfect opportunity for Carly to make yet another convincing first impression on a new audience.

“Behind The Ficus” is so much more than just an album; it is a carefully crafted collection of new songs that represent a lyrical evolution for this artist. While Carly has always rightfully been recognized as an evocative and insightful lyricist, these eleven songs offer both an intense vulnerability and immediate resonance. Better still, they announce the arrival of an evolved and seasoned artist who has dug deep to find those tales of love, loss, grief, and growth, and has come to terms with what she wants to say. Highly recommended listening. - Great Dark Wonder


Distance 2003
Up This High 2009
Explode 2014

Behind The Ficus (2021)



Carly Thomas is an accomplished singer/songwriter who was born in Thailand and raised in Argentina, France, and various parts of North America. Aside from her powerful lyrics, Thomas’ music is characteristic of various subgenres including modern folk, rock, and country. Having played everywhere from street festivals in Paris to the folk circuit in Manhattan, Thomas is a seasoned performer with 4 studio releases under her belt. Her albums to date include Distance (2003), Up This High (2009)Explode (2014), and her latest Behind The Ficus. 

Spending almost a decade on Canada’s west coast, Thomas has recently returned to familial roots in London, Ontario where she received the 2015 Jack Richardson Music Award for Contemporary Singer/Songwriter. The return to Ontario’s music scene has been a welcome homecoming. Explode, which Thomas co-produced in London with Michael Marucci of Sonic Zen Studios, was nominated for EP of the Year by CHRW radio.  She has also gone on to participate in various outreach projects and released a single in 2014 “I Remember You” in support of world suicide prevention day with all sales going directly to The Canadian Mental Health Association. 

 Having toured extensively in Canada, Thomas grabs listeners’ attention with gutsy stories of love and witty onstage banter. Her live performances are known for being dynamic and ever-evolving. She plays predominantly with a full band where she is continuously pushing the boundaries of “Folk/Pop”. 

 She has shared the stage with countless artists such as Matt Barber, Trent Severn, and Jenn Grant, and has also performed at several festivals including Home County and NXNE. As an independent artist, Carly Thomas continues to enjoy success and creating an impact in the Canadian music scene.

Band Members