TOMMY HOMONYM is a late-blooming artist, following the leads of Susan Boyle, Clementine Hunter and Grandma Moses. Tommy specializes in both original songs and inventive covers of pop and rock tunes, which he arranges and produces in collaboration with trusted friends who are real, as opposed to late-blooming, musicians.
Critics have compared Tommy’s sound to David Bowie, Roxy Music, Leonard Cohen, Chet Baker and Paul Simon.
The reclusive Tommy records his music in an attic in New Jersey, and also claims to inhabit the “milder, more fashionable” end of the Asperger’s continuum. “I want to be like Temple Grandin, but with songs instead of cows,” he says.
Does this mean he wants to slaughter them mercifully? “No, it means I want to lead them into heaven so they never know what hit them,” he says.
Tommy's single "Irresistible" earned a growing international following, particularly in the United States, Israel, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Tommy dislikes traveling, and is pleased to visit these places virtually, while keeping his shoes on.
Tommy's first album, Uglier Than You, was released October 1, 2013 and is available for digital download on iTunes and Amazon. Uglier Than You features nine original songs, along with “”What’s There to Eat?”, the opening tune, written by Austin singer-songwriter Christine Cochran.
More recently, Tommy released “The Best of Tommy Homonym,” featuring songs from Uglier Than You, singles and new tracks.
Tommy has long nurtured dreams of making music, but only in middle age has the scope of his gift, not to mention the scope of his age, become clear. With the clock ticking, Tommy has now gathered the moxie to emerge as a self-described “idiot savant” of music. “Actually it was accomplished musicians who described me that way,” Tommy says. “Though sometimes they left out the ‘savant’ part.”
Tommy describes his musical gestation as “a persistent vegetative state. There was all this stuff happening inside, but I couldn’t move.”
Tommy had repeatedly learned, forgotten, re-learned and re-forgotten how to read music, and as a youngster had struggled with the piano, the guitar, and, most traumatically, the Flutophone, a plastic teaching wind instrument he fumbled with in grade school, and credits with instilling his ongoing dread of touching musical instruments that are not computers.
Given that dread, the idea of becoming a musician seemed preposterous. So Tommy set the notion aside for decades. “Don’t I have enough problems?” he recalls telling himself. “Do I need a whole new world of ‘No’?”
In the digital age, however, Tommy realized that an idiot savant, and even, indeed, an idiot, had access to the tools needed to realize a musical vision based on his natural ability, using technology to share it with people who actually know what they’re doing, without annoying them more than was necessary.
Tommy keeps his private life for the most part hidden. “It’s small and easy to hide,” he says. He does acknowledge such non-musical interests as mammals of all sizes, yesterday’s newspaper, laundry, and cooking when done by others.
And what of his name? “Well, Tommy Pseudonym was a little obvious.” But he also liked the idea of homonyms, of words that sound the same and look the same but have two different meanings. “Plus, I like all the o’s, m’s and y’s, and the big ‘HOMO’ in the middle,” he says.
But Tommy takes his music seriously. “Songs are like emotional stem cells,” he says. “They can go anywhere, become anything, create and be created by anybody. When I’m singing, or listening to someone sing or play, I go to that place where life woke up and found itself.”
Tommy is rumored to be the alter ego of the writer Tom Sime, who denies the association but openly accepts royalties on Tommy’s behalf.
Tracks and playlists liked by Tommy Homonym