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    Openly Gay Bluesman Earl Thomas Will Woo You Like No Other

    kippyEarl Thomas is a genius and a brilliant musician. He woos the audience in a way that no other Blues artist does. He is well traveled, and shares his gift of music to us all worldwide. I am please and honored not only to perform with him, but also to call him my friend.


    Kippy Marks: Please tell us about your work and achievements.


    Earl Thomas: I would say my greatest achievement is that I am still standing after twenty-five years. I didn’t expect this whole “career in music” thing. It sort of fell into my lap. I didn’t know to dream of that one. Coming from a musical family where everybody is either a musician or a singer, and I’m not even the best one (!), no one ever told me that I could do it, and so it never occurred to me to pursue a career as a professional singer. I knew I could carry a tune and that everybody at my college used to really like it when I sang in the dormitory showers. But did I ever imagine that I would write songs for Etta James, Solomon Burke, Sir Tom Jones? No. So my greatest achievement, I think, is that I “Forrest Gumped” my way into the business and made a good life for myself.



    Kippy Marks: How does your work represent or otherwise connect with the LGBT community?


    Earl Thomas: I don’t participate as much as I would like to in the LGBT community, but I think I am a good representative in that I can honestly say that in the 200-year history of the blues, I am the first openly gay bluesman. And I know I am the first one to get married. There are, of course, other gay men and women in the genre, but I have been “out” my entire life (thanks to a very supportive and loving family group) and, consequently, my entire career. I have never tried to hide the fact that I am a gay man, even in the very macho hetero misogynistic world of the blues, and I have the respect of my peers. When I go on stage I go on as a bluesman, not as a gay man, but I am proud of the fact that I can hang with the hetero dudes and they admire and respect me. At my shows I draw a totally mixed audience that includes gays and straights who mingle, and everybody has a good time!! 


    Kippy Marks: How did you get started in your career, and who were some of the people that inspired and/or mentored you?


    Earl Thomas: I got started in my career because my dorm mate at college heard me singing in the shower. I always knew I could sing, but I never thought of becoming a professional until the night my dorm mate challenged me to go on stage at an open mic and sing. I sang one song and got a standing ovation. When I left college and moved to San Diego, I joined my first band and we went on to become one of the most popular bands in the city. One of the songs I wrote when I was singing in that band got to the attention of Herb Cohen who eventually offered me a recording contract. My mentors were my voice teacher Dr. Harley Muilenburg at Humboldt State, my family, and all the music that one might hear on 1970s FM radio.


    Kippy Marks: What are your career goals for the future?


    Earl Thomas: To continue writing recording and performing. To continue to be a good representative of my ancestry.


    Kippy Marks: What else would you like SF Bay Times readers to know about you and your work?


    Earl Thomas: That I do a regular show, the last Saturday of each month, at Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco. I am a genuine artist who represents a long line of talented musicians and singers. That I’ve never been in the closet and am probably the first openly gay bluesman in the world and I’m quite proud of that fact. That I married my longtime companion Mike in 2013. I wrote the hit song “I Sing The Blues” for Etta James’ Grammy-winning Right Time CD release. That I’ve written songs covered by many popular artists. But my big feather is Sir Tom Jones, who does my song “Get Me Some” in his live show.


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    Violinist Kippy Marks entertains audiences worldwide with his inspirational compositions and lively performances that draw from classical, jazz, blues and dance. www.kippy