Every new episode of The Launch (Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV) introduces us to a group of exciting up-and-coming artists in Canada, but this week we got even more than we bargained for with artist T. Thomason. Not only do we have a new singer that we’ve been listening to on repeat since watching Wednesday’s episode, but we also finished the episode feeling something that is severely lacking in 2019; hope. Literally, and because that’s what the song is called.
Wednesday’s lineup of A-list mentors included, as always, The Launch creator and person with the scarf collection we would most like to raid, Big Machine Records label head Scott Borchetta. As always, Scott was joined by pop singer Marie-Mai, who we wish could give us a pep talk before we do anything remotely scary. This week’s guest mentors included Grammy winner, JUNO winner, Lilith Fair creator, and #armgoals Sarah McLachlan, as well as superstar producer Alex Hope. It was a lot of star power packed into one hour, but that’s why we love The Launch.
Auditioning for the chance to perform Alex Hope’s song “Hope,” which is surprisingly not a song about the producer and just an inspiring song and cool last name, were five solo acts from across Canada. Going west to east was Vancouver native Phé, Mississauga singer Alexandra Porat, and Montreal artist Avery Florence. Classically trained artist Trevor Larose from Mississauga was the first singer chosen to record “Hope,” along with this season’s only East coaster, T. Thomason.
After taking some risks both in the recording booth and on stage, T. Thomason and his unique blend of honesty and artistry were launched. The mentors cried, T. cried, full disclosure, we cried. Here are nine times we fell in love with T. Thomason.
WHEN HE SURVIVED HIGH SCHOOL
Our introduction to T. included the Halifax native revealing that high school was a challenging time, with T. dealing with bullying over his sexuality. “It can paralyze you,” said T. For anyone watching at home and going through something similar, T. is a reminder that you can one day be the kid being bullied and the next day be the guy who is a rock star on national TV.
WHEN HE FOUND HIS VOICE
T. previously recorded three albums under a different name before reaching a point in his career when he decided that he needed to step back and find himself. “I was about 20 when I started to think I needed to take a break and just be with myself and make some changes and be more authentic and comfortable in my own skin and in my life,” said T. Starting hormone therapy, which included the very scary possibility that the testosterone he was taking could rob him of his voice, T. transitioned and became the person he was meant to be, both in his private life and as an artist. “I felt like I was able to then move forward and create music that is ultimately more truthful to who I am.”
WHEN HE CHARMED THE MENTORS
Performing his original song ‘Loser,’ T. instantly won over the mentors. “I can smell the smoke, I can see the beer on the floor and I am rocking,” said Scott, who compared T.’s writing and singing style to Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. “He’s got a uniqueness that is very much his thing,” said Sarah.
WHEN HE MADE OUR HEARTS SOAR
Seeing T.’s genuine and ecstatic reaction to finding out he was moving on to the recording studio was one of the purest moments we’ve ever seen on TV.
WHEN HE MADE HOPE HIS OWN
When artists make the original song their own on The Launch, great things happen. We saw it in Season 1 with Elijah x Jamie on the song ‘Ain’t Easy,’ which won an iHeartRadio MMVA and has now been nominated for two JUNO Awards. We saw it again this week with T.’s version of ‘Hope.’ Changing some of the lyrics to make the song a letter to his younger self, Scott and Alex were instantly on board with T’s vision. “In his own songwriting he just came alive and shone,” said Sarah.
By adding the message that it gets better, T. worried about labelling himself, but decided the risk was one he needed to take. “I often shy away from that because I don’t want to be pigeon-holed,” said T. “I don’t want people to be like, this person is a trans musician. I really try to avoid that.”
WHEN HE DROPPED THE MIC(STAND)
Between T. and Marie-Mai, we can’t tell who was having more fun during rehearsals. It may have been us for getting to watch the pair work on T.’s energetic routine. Knee drops FTW.
WHEN HE POCKETED THE MIC
We have never seen a singer put the microphone in their pocket in order to free their hands up to lead a clap-along, but that’s how cool and confident T. is on stage. “I haven’t had a performance like this in the whole 10 years I’ve been doing this,” said T. following his anthem-making performance of ‘Hope.’ “This was probably the most on-the-spot, intense experience that I’ve ever had, and it was fun.”
WHEN HE MADE EVERYONE CRY
It’s never your goal as an artist to make people cry, but it is a pretty good indication that listeners are digging your vibe. Sarah cried, Marie-Mai cried, and we wouldn’t be surprised if Scott had something in his eye. “Music is supposed to move us, to make us feel, to bring us closer to our emotions. That was connection in the most beautiful and powerful way,” said Sarah following T’s performance. “That was hope,” added Marie-Mai.
That was also us crying as well.
WHEN HE STARTED A MOVEMENT
After announcing that T.’s version of ‘Hope’ was being launched, Marie-Mai had these words of encouragement. “You take that song and you make it a movement. My daughter needs someone like you. This generation needs someone like you. The whole world needs someone like you,” she said. Preach.
Listen to “Hope” right now, then listen again a few hundred times; we’ll be right there with you.
New episodes of The Launch are available on Crave immediately following their broadcast debut every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.