Tom Bleasby was invited onto the Ellen Degeneres for a special live duet with Jessie J after their version of Flashlight on the ‘Smule Sing! Karaoke’ app went viral.
Since then, Tom has supported Jason Derulo, met Celine Dion and competed in The X Factor.
We ask him about his crazy route to success and how it has helped his career develop.
Singing Karaoke with Jessie J on Smule
What attracted to you to the Smule Sing! Karaoke app?
Whilst at university I was so stressed with my studies that I’d totally neglected my passion for singing. My voice was going unused and I missed the joy I got from singing. The app allowed me to sing with people all over the world, without leaving my bedroom.
How did the incredible duet with Jessie J on the Ellen show come about?
After the video went viral I was approached by the show’s producers. I was signed to a management agency at the time and they dealt with it for me. Until I was actually on the show I didn’t believe it would happen. It seemed too surreal. But when I was there in Los Angeles, I didn’t need to pinch myself. It was very real and very exciting!
How did that feel?
It was a huge thrill to sing for millions of people. It was daunting though as I was not an experienced live performer. I had to make the transition from singing alone in my bedroom to singing for the world.
In what ways did this experience boost your singing career?
I was given more opportunities to perform live, I got a recording contract, I won a Los Angeles Music Award and I was the opening act for Jason Derulo in San Francisco. It gave me wider credibility and opened many new doors.
What’s the best thing about Smule?
It’s so easy to make a high-quality recording within 5 mins, with the potential for lots of people to see it. It’s also strengthened my voice – it’s like going to the gym.
In your opinion is it a viable route to stardom?
It’s certainly a way to get yourself out there and be seen. People can make of it whatever they want, but some people might be disappointed if they rely solely on that to become famous.
Exiting The X Factor
Did it The X Factor help or hinder you?
In some ways, it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to get famous quickly. It’s important to remember that it’s a reality show before it’s a singing competition. It’s remarkably stressful and exhausting. I have a lot of fans who discovered me from the show, I am grateful for that and they are still with me.
What advice would you have for other singers wishing to go down this route?
Make sure you know what it is you want. Don’t expect it to be easy. If you enjoy singing, it doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy this show. Unfortunately, it’s becoming less about singing and music.
A performance FAIL
The X Factor Six Chair Challenge. I’d just flown back from L.A straight to London to film the show. I was jet lagged, unprepared, unhappy with my song voice and went on stage without warming up.
Developing into a Professional Singer
What obstacles have you had to overcome for your love of singing?
When I was younger I was bullied for my singing. My sweet choir voice made me a target. I was called all sorts of terrible names at a time when I didn’t know my own sexuality. It was extremely discouraging. Thankfully I had wonderful teachers and my family who helped me.
Most important lesson you have learned about social media
It’s very powerful and can change your life very quickly. It’s also important to protect yourself from the hate and negativity that comes along with it.
A music business lesson you’ve learned the hard way
Some people want to make their own success on the back of your success. There are lots of people in the industry who are smarter and sneakier than you and they are there to take advantage.
How do you look after your voice?
I have a nebuliser which humidifies the vocal cords using saline solution. It’s an instrument so it must be looked after, don’t let it get rusty!
What have you learned from collaborating with other performers?
It’s important to let your ego leave the room. Sometimes you should compromise your own style and go out of your comfort zone for the sake of making good music.
A performance SUCCESS
A festival called ‘Brodstock’ here in Yorkshire, UK. They were rock fans and I went on and did my thing. It was daunting as I knew they weren’t there to hear my genre, but they were crazy for it!
Best advice you’ve ever heard
“Some people will love you, some people will hate you. Just remember, you’re doing it for the people who love your singing and you’re doing it because you love it. As soon as you stop loving it, it’s time to stop”.
Tom Bleasby is a British singer who began his career by recording a virtual duet with British popstar Jessie J using the Smule Sing! Karaoke App. To date, the video has amassed over 20 million views. As a result of this internet success, Tom appeared on the US talk show ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ where he talked about his success and was surprised by Jessie J. Tom was also a contestant on the 12th series of The X Factor UK. After successfully making it to the Judges Houses stage, Tom announced his departure from the show for “personal reasons”. His new single ‘Half of Me’ is out now on Spotify. Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Smule Sing!