Tobias Tha Artist AKA Brandon Barton, is a dancer and rapper. The American Bajan has worked with some of the biggest names in the entertainment and music industry. Including stars such as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mary J Blige, Tom Cruise, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake etc etc.
Tobias has toured and worked on music videos for massive stars as a dancer, but now he is stepping out into the music industry as a rapper and performer in his own right.
I was lucky enough to catch up with the multi talented rising star, for a chat about working with Cheryl, his musical influences, what he hopes to achieve in the future and lots more.
Growing up did you always know you wanted to be an entertainer?
I always knew since I was a kid that I was going to be in entertainment and that I was going to be an entertainer. I have always been a creative person and into the arts. As a youth I didn’t get exposed to it as much as I would have wanted to, but Thank God for TV!! I was able to expose myself. I figured out pretty quickly that being an entertainer was possible.
You also rap, do you prefer singing to dancing?
In my mind I am the best singer!! Nothing wrong with dreaming, right?? I love them both, rapping and dancing.
Do you enjoy all aspects of performing?
I absolutely love to perform. No other feeling like it. It is such a rush. It really is a drug. What’s funny is that most performances that you watch entertainers do is rather short, five minutes or less unless you are watching a tour. But so much work goes into it: preparing, rehearsing, styling, conceptualizing, and finally showcasing the performance. It is such craziness. Performers work hard!!
If you weren’t a performer what would you be?
If I wasn’t a performer I would be a full time chef, designer, and/or a broadcast journalist. Im actually in the process of preparing a cook book. Coming Soon!! As well as a T-Shirt/clothing line.
Would you like to see dance more accessible to kids in schools?
I would like to see more Art Programs accessible to kids in school. As I previously mentioned I didn’t have much access to the arts during my youth. There were programs there, but nothing that was seriously training a creative minded person like myself. I think that it is very important to have that outlet for kids. Art creates culture. Art will always stand the test of time.
Who were your music and dance influences growing up?
My influences were, Michael Jackson, Otis Redding, James Brown, the Nicholas Brothers, Missy Elliott, Mc Hammer, Big Daddy Kane, Salt N Peppa, Will Smith, David Lachapelle, Banksy, my brothers, my Mom, my church youth coordinator Mrs. Jannie Stephens, Motown, and church.
You have worked with many big names in the past, do you have a personal favourite?
In my dance career I was blessed to work with a plethora of artists. Every experience was great, albeit some better than others. Some of my favourite entertainers to work with have been Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Kylie Minogue, Cheryl, Mary J Blige, Tom Cruise, Will Ferell, Justin Timberlake, Brandy, and the PussyCat Dolls.
Is there anyone out there who you would like to work with in the future?
As a dancer I worked with everyone I sought out to work with plus a host of others. As a Recording Artist a lot of the people I would love to work with are deceased. I draw major inspiration from artists of yesteryear. The legends. The greats. I would love to work with Kanye West, Calvin Harris, Bruno Mars, Max Martin and Dr. Luke, Major Lazer, Mark Ronson, Rick Ruben and the Neptunes.
You have done a lot of work with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, what is she like to work with?
Cheryl is one of the most humble people you will meet. A real lovely girl. Not to mention that she is easy on the eyes. It was a great experience working with her and getting to be apart of her journey.
What has been your favourite venue to perform at?
There is nothing like performing at Madison Square Garden. I love Radio City, also in NYC. The Apollo Theatre in Harlem was an incredible experience, so much history there. I love all of the 02 venues in England, Dublin, and Europe. The Staples Centre in LOS Angeles is also legendary. I can’t leave out the Wembley Arena in London. And also getting the chance to perform in Africa was an epic opportunity.
What has been your favourite country to visit?
I love travelling. Since I was a kid I knew that whatever career path I chose, it would have to include travelling. Being in entertainment has blessed me with that opportunity. Countries I love are, Africa, Australia, England, Dublin, Chile, Holland, Barbados, France, Mexico, Peru, Prague, Germany, Japan, Dominic Republic, Russia, Monaco, and Korea.
You currently have a single out called ‘Back In The Day’ what is the inspiration behind the song?
The inspiration behind my new single was simply EVERYTHING OLD SCHOOL. I miss the good ole days of music and of hip hop. There’s nothing like it. So “Back In the Day” is a dedication to that.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is Hip Pop. Its a new hybrid that I am bringing. It’s a fusion of hip hop, pop, reggae, and dance music.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would you choose?
That’s a hard one, but I would say Cher, Hall and Oates, Bruno Mars, Otis Redding, and Lauryn Hill.
Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
No matter which part of the business you want to be in, i.e. dancing, acting, modelling, singing, rapping, etc, you have to be super focused, not afraid of the word NO, possess tenacity and have supreme ambition. A lot of people will not believe in you, but as long as you believe in yourself and you absolutely want it then nothing or no one can stop you. And you must obviously possess the talent first.
What would you like to achieve in the next ten years?
In the next 10 years I want to be able to tour the world and perform my music, have a successful clothing line, get into acting, publish a kids book, have a culinary empire, get my charity “The Pink Balloon Project” off the ground and onto the international stage, create opportunity for my family, and to most importantly be happy and of sane mind.
You can watch the video for ‘Back In The Day’ here:
You can follow Tobias on Twitter @TobiasThaArtist