Interview with Singer-Songwriter TOMI

We were lucky enough to chat with the exciting talent Pam Autouri who writes and records as TOMI. For Pam, music has been a sanctuary since coming out at age 12 in suburban Connecticut. Read all about her new music, her struggles as a lesbian growing up in the Catholic Church, and where you can catch her perform next.

So, tell us a bit about yourself, how did you get into music?

My dad taught me to play guitar when I was a kid, I fell in love with the secrecy of
it – the ability to create these little worlds and be honest about feelings and my
point of view. Music was my escape, a private conversation I could have with myself
to process all that is life.

Who are your musical influences and why?

I grew up listening to everything from Bruce Springsteen to Cher to Nsync to PJ
Harvey. I like to keep my ears open to everything – you never know what will hit
you and when.

How would you describe your sound?

Psychedelic Mom Rock

What inspired your recent single “NUN” and talk us through the video?

I grew up catholic and I always had this daydream “what if I gave up everything to become a
nun..” how much simpler would life be? I wrote this song when I was falling in love and I didn’t
want to deal with the ups and downs of love games, so I started to daydream…I wanted to
challenge myself in the music video and play with the Catholic Guilt and shame around being
gay. Julie Pacino was incredible to work with, the video is all one shot and we really dove into
the meaning behind each scene change as it followed the song. The campy/psychedelic nature
of it is exactly how I see the song.

For any of our readers who would like to get into songwriting and singing, what advice would you give to them?

Write every day, whether it’s a melody line, journaling or a verse. Songs come
out of nowhere, you have to be present to catch them.

You expressed previously that you had felt shame when coming out as a lesbian, talk us through coming out, and how you feel now as an out artist.

I feel incredibly proud of my coming out journey. I came out really young and it was
a hard experience to go through, especially with growing up catholic and in a pretty
hetero suburb. I wasn’t secret about my feelings, I wanted to pave the way for
other people like me and I surrounded myself with LGBTQ+ friends for support. The
community is what got me through it and made me stronger. I feel so happy to have had that support along the way and to have watched that little suburb change
into a more accepting place.

Talk us through what your new album was inspired by, and what story you take the
listeners on.

The new album is all about my 20s. I was living in New York City at the time and
was going through the ups and downs of falling in love, of partying, of hustling in
music…Everything was up for grabs and I felt completely invincible. The entire album goes from the beginning of that journey “NUN” to the reckoning of it all in “Thought I’d Wait, Then I Waited” which is the last song I wrote for “Late Bloomer” about the comedown, the crash, the need to grow the f*ck up.

If you could use a magic telephone to call yourself at 15 years old what would you
say?

HA! I would say, “Bitch, hold on!!”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

There’s no right, there’s no wrong, there’s only consequence.

Who’s your celebrity crush and why?

I have a big gay crush on Jennifer Beals and I have a big straight crush on John Hamm. In fact, they should have a baby.

Interview with TOMI

When can people see you next perform?

I head on tour with The Crane Wives Nov 1! Come through!!

Thanks for chatting to us!

Be sure to check TOMI out via her Instagram: @thenametomi and if you’d like to read other inspiring interviews with queer women, head to our interviews section.

Team Nonchalant x

Nonchalant Magazine
Nonchalant Magazine

This article was written by one of our creative team writers here at Nonchalant Magazine.

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