RADHA THOMAS BIO
Radha Thomas was born in Tamil Nadu, grew up in Mumbai and Delhi and left for the USA to pursue her dream of becoming a jazz singer. Although jazz was (and is) her driving passion, it never provided her a lucrative career.
She spent 20 years in New York, holding a variety of day-jobs while singing in clubs at night. Some of these jobs include writing travel brochures to exotic destinations. She has been a tour guide, leading American tourists to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. She has organized trade shows and exhibitions in China for industries as varied as Aerospace and Continuing Medical Education, while working for an American incentive travel company. She owned and run a boutique on Long Island, and worked for an art publisher with galleries in New York.
She has had three distinct careers: as a writer, as a musician and as the former Executive VP and editor at Explocity.com, a media company.
In 2020 Thomas’s jazz ensemble is considered one of the topmost jazz bands in India (Rated #1 on Reverbnation Charts) and they have also been appointed by The Indian Council for Cultural Relations as the Indian government’s world-wide ambassador of jazz.
She is by far one of the country’s most beloved vocalists, with a wide career spanning many years.
The album Bangalore Blues is her latest venture with Berkeley-alumnus, piano player Aman Mahajan with whom she has worked for the past 10 years. According to Thomas, “It all started as a Google search. I was looking for a piano player and found Aman just two streets away. A match made in musical heaven.” The pair met in 2011 and have been working steadily ever since, composing and playing music across India and Europe. All songs on the Bangalore Blues have been composed and performed by Thomas and Mahajan, with Thomas having written all lyrics.
BEFORE BANGALORE BLUES
Their first album “I Only Have Eyes For You,” was released in 2013 and this was followed by many live gigs and touring. Their video Watermelon Man from the album is a quirky and unusual take on the song with Thomas singing the song plus all the instrument parts except the piano.
Ron McClure, bassist for the famous American band, Blood, Sweat & Tears: “Provocative! Contempo to the max! You may have a hit on your hands?! Wow! (The album) sounds so good! Really inventive stuff, with a lot of expression.”
Lucky Ali, Indian pop star: “Eyes’ is stylish and cool… That’s what it’s about. It comes across as I listen to the tracks.”
Steve Gorn, New York based crossover jazz flautist: “Radha – ‘Eyes’ is great! Loved your voice and the arrangements.”
Thomas is working on releasing another album called ‘Vocalese’ where she has written words to the trumpet solos of some beloved Chet Baker tunes. This is just a sample.
FROM WHEN TO NOW
Radha Thomas began headlining as a singer while still in her teens in a rock and roll band called Human Bondage, which was India’s most popular band in the 70s. She soon developed a strong taste for jazz, which is her favourite kind of music. She also began combining the tonal complexities of jazz with the rhythmic nuances of Indian classical music.
Thomas (who was Radha Shottam then) represented India at European jazz festivals and made her way to New York, the home of jazz, where she lived and performed for almost 20 years with such musicians as Michael Brecker, John Scofield, John Faddis, Alex Blake, Buddy Williams, Harvey Mason, Anthony Jackson, John Abercrombie, Ryo Kawasaki, Joe Farrell and many others in some of NYC’s most famous jazz clubs including Sweet Basil, The Bottom Line, Alice Tully Hall and more.
Her Indian classical vocal training came first from Kumar Gandharva in New Delhi at the Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya, and subsequently with Ustad Farid Ud Din Dagar of the famed Dagar Brothers in the dying art of Drupad singing.
She has performed at many jazz festivals around the world and in India including in 2015, 2016 at EuropaFest in Romania, the South Asia Performing Arts Festival in New York, and prior to that, Jazz Yatra, Bengaluru Habba, Indigo Fest, Isai Fest and other popular and prominent festivals in India and abroad. In addition to performing at jazz clubs all over India.
She also hosted a weekly jazz show on Radio Indigo in Bangalore.
Thomas has had three of her books published since 2012.
‘The Cauliflower Diet’ released by Penguin Random House in February, 2016 has received rave reviews from almost all major Indian media. It is a recipe / low-carb diet book in which she has created several recipes using the cauliflower as a substitute for rice and other carb-heavy flour.
‘Men On My Mind’ (2012) and ‘More Men on My Mind (2014) were her first two novels, published by Rupa, and have received wide acclaim for being unconventional and edgy. They follow a young woman’s quest for good sex.
She has written a fourth book which she hopes will be published in 2020, tentatively called ‘Dog Tails’ featuring the lives of a couple of entitled street dogs.
Reviews of ‘The Cauliflower Diet’
Nikita, IndiaToday.in, It makes you lose weight and fight cancer; here are 10 reasons to try The Cauliflower Diet. Radha Thomas wants you to consider this revolutionary new way of losing weight. She calls it the new rice, the new potato and the new thin. Are you ready to try it?”
Smita Mishra, Times of India, “All those who cannot imagine their veggies and curries without rice, cauliflower has become the new saviour. Sounds unbelievable? Radha Thomas in her book, “The Cauliflower diet” shows how the humble veggie has now become a potent replacement for carbs.”
Krutik Behrawalla, Midday, “Five years ago, fed up of the Atkins diet that she’d opted for, Bengaluru-based writer and Jazz vocalist, Radha Thomas, tried a culinary experiment in the kitchen. Along with her help, Bagya, the 50-year-old whipped up Cauliflower Rice Pilaf. The lone difference: here the rice was also made using the cruciferous veggie — by steaming the florets till they were al dente and later, whirling them into a food processor, so that they resembled grains of cooked rice. “After the Pilaf, we tried Thaiyir Saadam (curd rice) and by the time we got to Cauliflower Sushi (and about 42 other recipes in between), we knew we were onto something good,” shares Thomas, who substituted the vegetable for different types of starch including flour, pasta, cereal and even potato, and compiled her creations — everything from upma and steak to paella, cookies, payasam and even pizza — in a new book titled, The Cauliflower Diet.”
Reviews of ‘Men On My Mind’
Sonali Shenoy, ENS Chennai, “When the mood of a book launch is set by an animated reading of the protagonist’s first love making experience – it’s clear that this ain’t you’re average Indian author.”
Aishwarya Laxmi, blogger “And reading ‘Men on my mind’ was a fun ride ‘coz every line made me want to laugh out loud and nod knowingly at the author even before I’d met her. The tone is wickedly funny and the book is light, breezy, hilarious, and fun.”
Swati Daftuar, the Hindu Chennai, Metro Plus, “Radha Thomas seems to have done it all, or at least a lot. After writing a column on the sexes, putting together her jazz band, UNK: The Radha Thomas Ensemble and handling the post of executive vice-president at Explocity.com, Thomas is now authoring a trilogy on the “endless topic” of men. Men On My Mind, published by Rupa, is the first part of the trilogy.’
CORPORATE: Executive VP & Editor at Explocity.com
Explocity.com is a publishing company in Bangalore. Thomas was editor, columnist and general dogsbody. She quickly gained popularity for her column ‘Between the Sexes,’ a look at the odd way in which men and women see each other.
She also wrote extensively on health, diet and fitness for the magazine The Bangalore Monthly.
She conceived of and produced a series of food guides in the six major metros called, ‘The Kingfisher Explocity Great Food Guide.’ They very popular and sold all over India regularly from around 2009 to around 2012, by which time the internet had seriously made a dent in the book publishing industry.
She also conceived and produced a newspaper for Café Coffee Day, called ‘Café Beat’ which addressed people between the ages of 15 and 25, dealing with issues of concern to that target audience.
She has also written for many publications such as The Times of India, Midday, The Hindu, Man’s World, Men’s Health and others.
Radhathomas19june@gmail.com / +91 98860 50232
Check out more about me :
Read more at Wikipedia
Watch more at Youtube
Listen more at ReverbNation
Even more at Band Camp