Thomas pursues music career, obtains inspiration through life

Thomas+mixes+and+edits+his+song+%22Time-Out%22+in+the+JMU+recording+studio.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Thomas pursues music career, obtains inspiration through life

Thomas mixes and edits his song

Thomas mixes and edits his song "Time-Out" in the JMU recording studio.

Courtesy of Michael Miriello

Thomas mixes and edits his song "Time-Out" in the JMU recording studio.

Courtesy of Michael Miriello

Courtesy of Michael Miriello

Thomas mixes and edits his song "Time-Out" in the JMU recording studio.

Advertisement

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






“When I was five, my dad was shot by a police officer and from then on I always felt I owed it to him to succeed.”

18 years later, part-time substitute teacher Raiquan Thomas is currently pursuing a permanent job in the music industry. Thomas’ interest in music was sparked at a young age and tries to tell a story to relate his music to others in similar situations. 

“I [first got interested in music] when I was five years old. Music was always therapeutic because my childhood had a lot of negative things going on at the time, so I fell in love with [music],” Thomas said. “I never wanted to become victim to my environment, so I used [my father’s] death to motivate me and inspire young kids that are growing up without fathers and growing up in neighborhoods where there are drug problems to show them that music can be an escape. [I am a] strong believer that you should never use your circumstances as an excuse because there’s always something to look forward to.”

During high school, Thomas attended the Governor’s School for the Arts while still enrolling in a regular high school for his core classes. After graduating high school, Thomas had over $500,000 in scholarships. He then went on to attend James Madison University (JMU) with a major in vocal performance and minor in music production. Thomas, however, was not always a model student in high school. 

“[When I was in high school] I was goofy but I always knew what I wanted to do. I was that guy who just liked singing to the girls. I was the class clown but I was smart. I was an honor roll student in honors classes and I went to two high schools, one for regular school and the other for music school,” Thomas said. “I always knew I wanted to do music, but I think the question was how. When I started getting scholarships and accommodations, I started to realize this is a gift and I’ve got to take advantage of it.”

Thomas produces, writes, arranges, records, edits, mixes and mashes his personally made music. His music consists of mostly hype and R&B. Thomas has plans to continue storytelling through his songs and hopes to branch out to gospel music in the future. 

“I like telling stories,” Thomas said. “Though our pasts are a part of our stories, we should move on to the future; but telling stories and helping people get through the hard times is the beauty about life and the beauty about the struggle. People need to talk about the struggle more. You can’t be at the top if you’ve never lived through the struggle. People need to know that you worked hard and there are steps you need to take to make it to the top. My saying is, ‘every day is a struggle and every day is a song.”

Although Thomas interest started when he was around five years old, his first performing experience happened at the age of nine on Mother’s Day. 

“My first performing experience was on Mother’s Day and I was singing a song dedicated to my mom. I hit this high note in the song and everyone in the crowd was shocked at my ability to sing, and I could see my mom in the crowd crying,” Thomas said.  

After college, Thomas decided it was time to start producing and writing some of the music he had thought of. Thomas’ most recent song is called “Changed Up.” He first started writing the song in November of 2018 and only recently was able to finally produce it with a music video. 

“[“Changed Up”] is about my senior year of college and how I didn’t feel comfortable coming out of college with just a vocal performance degree, so I added a music industry minor to continue my college stay for a fifth year. The song says how I have to drop my old habits and old friends. [“Changed Up”] is about growing up and becoming a man and getting out of my little boy mentality,” Thomas said.

Although inspiration from Thomas’ music was first peaked as an escape from the bad things in his childhood, Thomas often derives incentive to write music from his life. 

“[I find inspiration from my music just from living life],” Thomas said. “For example, I could be walking through a hallway and rap about some people that are walking and although I might not know that person, I know I can relate to that person in some way. Just being humble and always staying open to opportunities often gives me inspiration as well.”

As a recent graduate of JMU, Thomas reflects on his own high school career with words of encouragement for current high school students. 

“My advice [for highschool students] is to be yourself and to go for what you want. Dream big and don’t let anyone stop you,” Thomas said. “Don’t let society decide what you want to do in life; go for your dreams and don’t give up. You may suffer at first, but you have to wait for that one opportunity that makes it all worth it. Do what you’re passionate about and that will lead you to that transition into the real world.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email