Born in Sydney, Australia, Channell spent his youth in South Africa, then ripened as a songwriter and performer in New York, where he has played at venues like the legendary CBGB, The Living Room, The Bitter End, Cornelia Street Café, The Knitting Factory, Caffe Vivaldi and Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction. In Berlin he has taken the stage at WABE, Kunstfabrik Schlot and Junction Bar. He has also performed all over his native South Africa.
His music? Just imagine Tori Amos and Kurt Vonnegut’s love child was adopted by Rufus Wainwright and k.d. lang. Differently put, Thomas’ tunes are expressive, haunting, quirky, harmonically just a little off-beat, soulful, mellow, with lyrics that read like a novel.
A versatile performer, Thomas sings, plays piano, acts, writes songs and musical theatre pieces, and even dances. Somewhat of a nerd, he has a Bachelors of Music Honours degree from Stellenbosch University and an MA from Columbia University, where he studied on a Fulbright Fellowship. In South Africa he has performed with artists such as Stef Bos and Lise Swart, in productions directed by Marthinus Basson and Pedro Kruger/Hennie Van Greunen, while in NY he has worked with the likes of Mikanic (previously Sons of Trout) and director Juan Souki.
+ The music from Thomas Channell's album "Crowded Sunrise" ranges from calm ballades, to a pop-duet, rock, jazz, musictheatre, and has a very original sound. It is in English and Afrikaans. Collaborators on the album include Mario Cronje, Lise Swart and Tinus van Dyk. The songs are about relationships, but never soppy, about issues, but with a unique sense of humour and poetry. They draw on personal relationships and experiences, from travelling to working for Rape Crisis as counsellor. The production is very tasteful, and highly integrated between the lyrics, the music and its arrangement.
This leaves me speechless. A top-end professionally
crafted piece. It exists with a sense of timelessness that would maintain a long shelflife without going stale. His art is so beyond contemporary trend. One of the finest singer/songwriters in the serious adult scene.
Billy Shaw, Sonicbids, August 3, 2005
Thomas Channell displays an infectious quality that is also vibrantly intelligent. Even his voice sounds just a little bit different, more emotive than your average super ambitious musical prodigy.
Peter Tromp, The Cape Times, July 2, 2004
Thomas Channell shines as the narrator and lead singer. His voice is tremendous.
Rafiek Mammon, The Cape Argus, June 18, 2004
Natascha Patterson from New York says: Again, I have to tell you how much I enjoyed the performance. You were fantastic. So, definitely had some impressions of: Damien Rice, Sufjan Stephens, could also see some similarities to Billy Joel. But truthfully, I changed my mind every song. I think your music really defies definement, which is very cool.
Anise Hutchison from New York says: Music from the soul...inspiring, thought provoking...Thomas' words read like a novel in which you are thrown into his captivating stories and discover a chilling resemblence of yourself in the midst of his bitter sweet lyrics and the rhapsody of his accompanied piano. A twist on folk music, he and his band create a unique consistency alternating between an alternative style, a jazz flare and a traditional country tune. Just when you think he has mellowed down the mood of his song, his instrumentalists and his bellowing voice catapult you into a whirlwind of movement and hair-raising energy.