Töme made her debut with a self-recorded (via iPhone), acoustic EP, One with Self. But really, the Toronto based singer/songwriter has been writing since she was 8, and at 15 when her dad gifted her a guitar, she had an accompaniment to her singing.
While she always knew she wanted to be in the music business, Töme took her time before she dived right in. Perhaps uncharacteristic of the romanticised story of the creative who feels held back by a 9-5, she was resolute in her decision to delay her immersion to the music industry until only about a year ago. “I wanted to be financially secure before I fully went in,” she says,
“I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t going in blindly. As a woman in the industry, its so easy to get played.”
The music business is tricky, and time and time again we see women’s careers get derailed. While it’s usually through no fault of their own, Töme’s desire to arm herself with as much knowledge as possible is justified.
As far as beginnings go, the singer/songwriter’s has been big- touring with Mr. Eazi, sharing the stage with Burna Boy and Wizkid as well as performing at South by Southwest Fest, big. “My strength is my performance,” she declares when I ask her how these opportunities came about, “they both came down to Toronto first and saw me perform there and then Mr Eazi’s team asked me to join them on tour.”
In addition to her performance, Töme feels like her musical identity came into its own with her debut project Tomesroom Chapter 1. “It came as I grew as a musician, and it’s in [this] project when I felt like I really found my sound.” This ‘sound’ is an interesting take on Afro-fusion that has “African sounds at its core” and then layers on elements from differing genres. For her album ‘Bigger Than 4 Walls’ (out now), she leans into this even further and tells us to expect “more sound, more colour and space.” The singer/songwriter explains that this project shows off her range, “it incorporates all the different things I can do but it still all sounds like me.”
The project does indeed boast a plethora of sounds, with a dancehall feel in All to you and elements of contemporary pop in Free. In Vie de Estabelle, she experiments with an abrupt sound change about quarter way to the song. And on Concentrate and Energy, she invites Runtown and Zlatan to add some of their charm. This project is her playground. The fitting album title and cover image are further indications of her refusal for her music to stay in line.
I ask her how she plans for the future of her sound, if at all, when she tends to veer on the experimental side. To which she assures me that that is where the future of music is headed in general, so she’ll have good company. “This new generation doesn’t care for confining genres. As the world revolutionizes itself, so does music.” A lot might change between now, the release of Bigger than 4 walls, and beyond; what’s certain however, is that Töme’s sound will always aim to move beyond the borders.