Tomi Swick isn't a name that turns heads, and yet, he's opening for heavy-hitters like the Goo Goo Dolls. So he's got to have something to show for it. He's a Canadian born singer/songwriter that sings honest tales of love and reality. When he departed from the Hamilton band where he began a solo career, that's when heads began to turn.
"I'm a new guy," says Swick. "This is my first year of all these things. Basically my job right now is to go out and play for whoever will listen, and hopefully win people over to have them be interested in what I'm doing."
He's referring, of course, to the record deal he recently signed with Warner Music, the release of his debut album, Stalled Out in the Doorway and his current tour with bands such as Stabilo and the Goo Goo Dolls. Swick may not be a household name but some of the Canadian artists he's played with might ring a bell.
"[Ron Sexsmith] was cool with letting me open for him at the Junos," says Swick. "And then he hosted a party and people like Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo, Dallas Green and Matt Mays got up and played songs with him and his band. It was just an amazing opportunity and it was something that I was so nervous [about], but it was so fun."
Speaking of name-drops, Swick had quite the team working with him to create Stalled Out in the Doorway. Before being signed to Warner Music, Swick worked with producer Ron Lopata, who has worked with other Canadian artists like Our Lady Peace, Ashley MacIssac, Finger Eleven and Ron Sexsmith. His partnership with Lopata gave him the opportunity to be signed with Warner.
"Working with Ron [Lopata] was great," says Swick. "Ron is a good friend of mine. He saw me and my band play and he started working with us, trying to get things moving as he was really impressed with all the music. We played, played and played and then finally Warner came out. Ron and I had been working together, and he had actually went in and told them about me."
Chris Lord Alge was also signed on to work with Swick. Alge has previously collaborated with Green Day, Gwen Stefani, Dave Matthews and Billy Talent. He was hired by Warner to mix Stalled Out in the Doorway. Having such an impressive production crew behind him, Swick was able to create something sharp and fresh to present to the world.
"He brought the songs more to life," says Swick. "You realize that when you work with these people closely that their reputations are there for a reason."
There are plenty of other singer/songwriters out there, but Swick's melodic voice and stories allowed him to produce an album that is honest, unique and relatable. Like many artists, it's Swick's personal experience that facilitates this.
"My songs are very honest and they are songs about me," says Swick. "So my life is different from everyone else's and my experiences are my own. People are going to be able to relate to what I'm saying because people are people and we all live the same lives, just with different dates, different places and different situations."