Among other things, I am a singer/songwriter and guitarist, originally from Bangalore (India), but I've lived in New York now for almost 15 years.
Frankly, music was just a hobby for me until 2001. When I was in Bangalore, Krishna and I formed a band and we played a bit. We called ourselves THIKK (Thomas Itty & Krishna Kumar). However, we were much ahead of our time. We only wanted to do original material and it was hard to find other musicians who were willing to play only our songs. Then Krishna had to move away and I found I had to work for a living. I still continued writing songs when I could.
In 1988, I came to the US to study Communications & Media. I played with a band every now and again but had to stay focused on my studies to keep my scholarship. After I graduated I got a job and entered a Masters program in Media Studies. So that didn't leave me much time for music either.
In early 2001, I decided that I didn't want to let any more time go by, so I looked around a bit and found a wonderful producer named Steve Hansen-who's also a great guitarist and songwriter. We recorded my first CD "The Dark Edge Of The Light" at his studio between January and April of 2001.
I sell it on my web site www.thomasitty.com, and through online retailers like amazon.com and cdbaby.com. I'm not getting rich off it yet-although I do sell a few now and then. I also sell it at venues where I perform.
By 2002, I started looking into home-recording systems for myself, and finally settled for the MOTO828 Firewire Digital Recording System.
I use it with my iMac (a G4 with 256 megs of RAM and a 20gig hard drive) with the AudioDesk software (a slightly stripped down version of Digital Performer) that came free with the MOTU828.
From what I can tell so far, it all works great together.
But I am still a novice when it comes to recording. Also, I am a self-taught guitarist. So, I'm not a very technical player. I think of myself more as a songwriter than a musician. Although I do play lead, rhythm, and bass myself on all my home recordings and demos, I'd rather have better musicians than myself play most of the instruments on my master recordings.
My gear consists of a Fender American Stratocaster, a Taylor 310CE acoustic/electric, and an Ibanez Standard Bass. I play all the guitar parts through a Line6 pod (which provides effects and also serves as a pre-amp). For drums, I use dry studio bits and loops. For recording vocals and acoustic guitar, I use an Audio Technica 4033/SE microphone.
I'd say my music is a mixture of folk, pop and rock. I don't really think about it much or try to write in a particular style or format. I guess you can say my music is a reflection of my influences coupled with my life's experiences. I wrote my first song when I was about seventeen. I'm forty now, so I've been at it for a while. I've got more than 50 completed songs plus several unfinished ones so far, and I'd also co-written about 20 songs with my friend Krishna in the late 70's and early 80's.
Amongst musicians, I guess Dylan would have to be my biggest influence. Also the Beatles, Springsteen, Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Mark Knopfler, Sting, Paul Rodgers, Jeff Lynn, Jackson Browne, Ian Anderson, Neil Young, Cat Stevens, John Hiatt and JJ Cale. All the musicians I look up to have three things in common. One, they write all their songs themselves. Two, they write a lot of songs. And three, they don't only write clichéd songs about women and love. I'd buy an album from any of these artists without listening to it first. That's what I'm hoping people will say of my music someday.
In 2001, I entered five songs in the Billboard Songwriting Contest, and all made it to the top 500. I've also got some good reviews in some small publications. Nothing from Rolling Stone so far!! The best thing is that my wife really loves my songs. So I'm ahead already.
I think of myself as just starting off in the music business. In 2001, I knew nothing about it, but in 2002 I had a CD out, and I'm making contacts and learning something new about this business everyday. I'm also in the process of demo-recording my next CD "From There To Here" which I hope to have available for sale soon.
In the meantime, I've joined TAXI (www.taxi.com), an independent A&R company in California, and I'm also a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers). I'm trying to get some sort of record deal, or at least get my songs in TV shows or movies. In fact, TAXI forwarded three of my songs for a movie soundtrack. Let's see what comes out of that!!
Till then, I do what I do-which is to write songs. Everything
always begins with a song. I try to write as honestly as I can.
My songs have always been an extension of myself, and I've never
written them for any reason other than that they came to me.
But I'm a bit of a renaissance man I guess. I have a full-time job as Conventional and New Media Specialist with a large trade-show management company. I work in print, internet, and multimedia. I also dabble in video and fiction writing. I've produced and directed a couple of documentaries, written several short stories and started on my first novel "Bangalore Baloney". Someday I'd like to also start painting.
It's all connected ~ I am the sum of my experiences. And that's what you'll find in anything I create. I see myself as both an artist and someone who's capable of earning a good living doing something else. I don't believe in selling out my art, but I don't intend starving for it either if I don't have to. Although, sometimes it galls me to realize that I can make as much money in a couple of hours doing something commercial in graphics, internet or multimedia as I would by selling 100 CD's of my music, or performing at a small venue.
This way, I have never followed any trend with my music. I've always believed a good song will stand the test of time. Look at the songs of the Beatles, or the great classical composers. What's "hip" at any given time has nothing necessarily to do with what's good. Frankly, I don't think I'm going retro with my music or anything. I just write what I feel. I think it's very important to do that as an artist. To me, a good song is good lyrics and a good tune. The rest is all just details. The best production cannot make a lousy song good and a good song will come through in spite of bad production.
Mango Music Publishing
71 Charter Circle (PO Box 1858)
Ossining, NY 10562