ALBUM: I AM A HIGHLIGHTER PEN
On November 8, 2019, "I Am a Highlighter Pen" was released. This is the second full-length album from Progressive Lounge Pop artist, G.T. Thomas, and it is currently sold-out in the physical format. But good news: you can click here to purchase your digital copy of the album and grab an official G.T. Thomas highlighter pen! Or stream the album at: Spotify – Deezer – Apple Music – YouTube – Amazon – GooglePlay
The album consists of nine vibrant tracks, written and recorded by Thomas in November 2018. Her debut album, 2011's "The Luckless Pedestrian Years," was a compilation of various recordings she'd made over a period of about 6 years, and this was an approach that she had no interest in repeating, especially because of the varying quality and instrumentation from one track to the next.
But as G.T. Thomas pursued work as a freelance musician offering services (including lyricist, composer, producer, and vocalist) to other people's projects, no other approach to making a record of her own material had surfaced. Perhaps a part of her became convinced that releasing any more full-length records was simply not in the cards for her.
Luckily, in November of 2018, she had a change of heart that led her down a path toward reclaiming her identity as a recording and performing artist under her own name.
From the notes of G.T. Thomas:
"'I Am a Highlighter Pen' was conceived during a project entitled 'Novavember.' In November, 2018, it had been seven years since the release of my debut album, and four years since my most recent single. Many artists begin work on their following album before their current one even hits shelves... but that's not what I had done.
In the meanwhile, I played many shows and collaborated with dozens of artists on their projects. But last fall, suddenly the lack of new material of my own started to feel like a bit of a black hole. And this didn't reflect the fluorescence I felt inside.
So that month, I crossed everything off my agenda and challenged myself, instead, to spend every waking hour writing and recording a new song from scratch. Every three days. For the entire month.
I named this little songwriting challenge 'Novavember' so that the project might inspire me to become like a nova:
To shine with a sudden increase in brightness.
All month long.
Setting out to have nine new songs by the end, I achieved my goal! I posted the results in real-time on Instagram.
Between November 2018 and November 2019, only three things changed about the recordings:
1) The addition of a live vibraphone performance (recorded January, 2019 – in Kytopia's former Utrecht location) to replace the vibes I'd done in-computer, during Novavember; 2) Replacement/ addition of a few sounds and vocals for mainly technical reasons. (On "Our First Day," in the final version on this album, the vocals are much cleaner than in the original version. There's also a slight alteration of one melody line, because the song is so emotion-filled that I felt it really deserved a melodic rise that emphasized this more than the original melody had done); and 3) Mixing and mastering of the tracks by third-party audio engineers (steps I never skip on any official release).
Other than these adjustments, I decided that it would undermine the magic of having catapulted these songs and their recordings into existence on the short turn- around of 'three days per song' if I spent any more time fussing about details in some attempt to make them 'more perfect.'"
ABOUT THE ALBUM FORMAT:
As soon as G.T. Thomas had decided on the album title "I Am a Highlighter Pen" (a line from track 4, "Like Oxygen"), she knew she wanted to be literal about interpreting the title into the album's format.
"The album 'I Am A Highlighter Pen' comes out as a highlighter pen, obviously," were her thoughts on the matter.
As the project developed, she also opted to incorporate other elements of her artistic process – tools that had helped her to write the songs on the tight turn-around of, on average, three days per song. These tools in her process included listening, writing, looking inward, and highlighting meaningful texts so that good ideas stood out at a single glance.
That's why the album ultimately took the form of these five components:
- The cover art on a jumbo postcard
- A booklet with all the lyrics, the behind-the-album notes, and an ACTIVE LISTENING TOOL, designed to offer simple prompts to help you think about the way you listen to music and hopefully grow even deeper connections with music you listen to
- Your unique download code for the songs (also available on streaming services, of course)
- The official G.T. Thomas Highlighter Pen
- And all of this was collected into a sturdy, clear envelope.
(View available IAHP related merch in the G.T. Thomas shop.)
Words and music on all songs written, arranged, performed, and produced by:
Gwen "G.T." Thomas
Except for vibraphone, performed by:
And backing vocals on "Frownfetti" performed by:
Iwan van Wijk
ABOUT THE SINGLES
On October 25, 2019, the Progressive Dream Pop single "Future Moving" was released.
The song explores the idea "the future is now," conveying that the more you feel into the future you want (thereby embodying it), the more you bring it to life in your word & deed, right here in the Now.
That's how to feel the future moving through you.
This songs' lyrics –along with the eight others on the upcoming album ("I Am a Highlighter Pen," out November 8, 2019)– were a concept G.T. Thomas discovered repeatedly popping out of highlighted passages in nine months' worth of her daily journals that she reviewed at the time she sat down to create this musical work.
FROM THE NOTES OF G.T. THOMAS
"'Future Moving' Fun Fact 1:
The opening melody came to me in a dream! I found myself humming it immediately when I woke up and went straight to the studio to capture it the way it sounded in my head, which was with a bit of a 1970s TV-music, nostalgic feel. Then I pulled that melody into a future that felt full of limitless potential and wonder to me, employing more synthetic sounds.
'Future Moving' Fun Fact 2:
This song was the result of a challenge I took on to write and produce a new track from scratch every three days for a whole month. I started with nothing and ended up with a new, nine-song album, with this as the first single."
On Nov 1 2019, the Sample Pop/ Glitch Pop single "Edges" was released.
"Edges" is a song about boundaries, and was the result of a challenge G.T. Thomas took on to write and produce a new track from scratch every three days for a whole month. She started with nothing and ended up with a new, nine-song album, with this as the second single.
FROM THE NOTES OF G.T. THOMAS:
"Edges" is a glitchy pop track with electro, neo-soul/ jazzy undertones.
This song is all about boundaries. G.T. Thomas uses her whispery vocals (NO autotune/ pitch correct here) and subtle manipulations to the piano, sax, and horn samples to take you somewhere that feels familiar, yet slightly off-kilter. The simple start followed by a convoluted/ busy inner section implies the turmoil of negotiating boundaries. The horn solos in this song are a nod to 3 special horn players in her life: her past mentor Chris Dedrick (The Free Design), collaborator Michael Leonhart (Steely Dan), and high school band teacher Gary Evans.
The INTERACTIVE music video for "Edges" came out August 21, 2020.
Aside from the fact the video was shot in the basement of an abandoned psychiatric clinic, in the woods of Holland, what else makes it unique?
It has two endings, that are diametrically opposed to each other! And this special link will randomly decide which one the viewer gets, and thus... which version of the story becomes real for them!
Click the button below to be randomly transported to ending A or B of the "Edges" music video: