Tom Joseph Law music, by Rich Paschall
There is no shortage of musicians on You Tube and other social media platforms who wish to become famous. Some are actually rather good and just hoping to be noticed among a sea of musicians who are covering songs and offering their own work. How do you get recognition? How do you produce quality videos to post among the millions of videos already in cyberspace? How do you stand out among the crowd?
Tom Law has been working steadily for years to become the next “over night sensation.” Since joining You Tube in 2010, the British singer-songwriter has posted covers and collaborations, original songs and one man band videos. Yes, Tom has 14 videos where he is playing all the instruments. You may watch and be suitably impressed at this talent.
At age 25, Tom’s persistence, talent and good looks have brought him almost 79 thousand You Tube subscribers and over 3 and a half million views. It is respectable for sure but there’s a higher level to achieve and that is his aim.
In order to raise some additional money to make quality videos, Tom has found Patreon. It is a social media site aimed at bringing patrons together with their favorite artists. This allows people to pledge gifts large and small for each project and the artist has the option of offering rewards, like free downloads of music. Tom also offers some patrons the opportunity to “hangout” online for a private chat. On a recent hangout, I got the opportunity to sit in.
A small group of supporters of Tom’s cover of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church”, eight I think, assembled last Saturday for the opportunity to talk with their favorite artist. Tom’s video was one of those one man band videos, where he is singing and playing all the parts. It certainly moves away from the more up tempo pop-like tunes I like, but it is a good choice for Tom, especially given the radio play of Hozier’s song with the driving refrain that sticks in your head.
Not being part of this particular group, I was pleased Tom gave me the chance to join the call. I thought I would just hang out and listen and perhaps learn a few things. However, the group seemed rather reserved and did not have much to say. Perhaps they have had other hang-outs with Tom and asked a lot of the obvious questions already. When Tom mentioned that he felt like he was doing all the talking, I decided to jump in.
The group may have been there to talk about “Take Me To Church,” but I had just seen Tom’s most recent cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t” so it was fresh in my mind. I decided to go there instead. First I mentioned that Tom seemed to be apologizing in social media, even before the video appeared, about the “F” word in the song. He was afraid some might not like it but felt it could not be eliminated. Usually I find the use offensive, but in the context of Sheeran’s song, it obviously fits and is nothing sensational. Tom thought of covering the sound over, but these sort of tricks just highlight a missing word we all know is there.
Next I wanted to know how does he put the pieces together when he is the lead singer, all the background singers and all the musicians. It takes a great deal of patience as well as technical know-how to get this together. If you watched the video, you may also wonder, “How does he do it?”
Without giving away secrets, as if I understood it all anyway, Tom starts with the main track, that is, the lead vocal. From there he can add in the other instruments and background Toms until he gets all their parts down. Yes, there is a lot of harmony going on.
Then, of course, Tom has to film all those Toms. In order to be in time with the music, you can see the background singers are listening for their parts in the headphones. When this is all done, I wanted to know how he syncs all this up so the timing is just right. I thought the background crew would be rather tough, but Tom did not seem to think it was as difficult as some of the rest of the project.
“OK, Tom, how long did the whole process take?” Tom thought about all the pieces of recording and filming and editing and finally decided it took about seven days and a LOT of hours to give us a video of three minutes and 47 seconds. If you think Tom can make money off these things, there is little chance, since the song belongs to someone else. However, it might give him the recognition to do other things.
He does have some of his own songs that you should give a chance. In fact, here’s the song “Give It a Chance” from an EP, Build From Zero.
After the song you will see a link below the video on You Tube that will lead you to a free album of covers by Tom. Download it from Tom’s website. If you are a social media junkie, subscribe to Tom’s You Tube and go to his “about” page and find links to all of Tom’s sites so you can stalk him around the internet and know what is coming next. Give it a chance.