Atlanta-based singer Rhonda Thomas has become a favorite in the new Soul music scene, and for good reason. She's paid her dues over the last decade backing such artists as Isaac Hayes, India.Arie and others, and has captivated audiences during her sporadic solo stints as well as her participation in one of the most enjoyable new recording groups around.
Possessing a deep, soulful voice that is most reminiscent of Maysa (with whom she has occasionally performed), Thomas scored a hit in the UK with her 1999 EP Rhonda. She followed in 2004 with Breathe New Life, a jazzy soul album that included a handful of very attractive cuts and which achieved notice both in America and Europe. It peaked at #3 on Listmania's Top Nu-Soul on the Net chart. It also received notice from syndicated radio host Michael Baisden, who featured Thomas on his show, introducing her to a larger urban music audience.
Over the past half decade, Thomas has continued to provide backing vocals to a number of major label and independent artists and also became a founding member of Jiva, a soul/dance/jazz quartet. That group wowed audiences in 2006 with album Sun and Moon, one of the year's best discs, the highlight of which was the dance cut, "I Realized," fronted by Thomas's gorgeous lead vocals.
It was four more years before Thomas issued her second solo disc, appropriately titled Listen. It was an even better disc than her debut, with clear growth as a lyricist and her always-strong vocals. And she continued her development over the next several years via a Christmas release and the lauded Vinyl Daze
With a strong industry reputation and a growing visibility with Soul Music audiences around the US and Europe, Rhonda Thomas continues to increase her mark as a star to watch.
by Chris Rizik