Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Jeremy Williams-Chalmers
Arts Correspondent
1:02 AM 2nd March 2024

In Conversation With Bright Light Bright Light

Bright Light Bright Light
Enjoy Youth Pink
Bright Light Bright Light Enjoy Youth Pink
Bright Light Bright Light (or Rod Thomas to his family and friends) has had a rather wonderful career to date. Having toured with Sir Elton John, Cher, and Erasure, he has delivered to the world four stunning retro pop collections and a plethora of glorious EPs. Having taken time to focus on his contemporary classical compositions, he has returned to the wonderous world of pop. 2023 saw some stunning teaser singles for his upcoming album, Enjoy Youth, and his latest single, You Want My..., is a killer pop bop armed with an epic music video. We caught up with him to learn a little more about what’s coming next…

We are loving You Want My...—tell us a little about the writing and recording of it.

So, Ian Masterson (who's produced and written for Dannii Minogue, Geri Halliwell, and Bananarama) sent me the instrumental to write the vocal parts over, and I fell in love with it. It sounded like the Pet Shop Boys in their 90s dancefloor prime to me. I wanted to write something really empowering and FUN, and the song kind of wrote itself. For the spoken word part, I just wanted to push myself and do something I hadn't done before, so I thought, Why not try a spoken word part like all the 90s hits I listen to when I go running? And that was the end result! Oh also, in the chorus, Ian had these little hi-hat sounds that sounded like the word "sex" in my headphones, and I started from that, but I modelled how I said that word on how Goldie Hawn says it in 'Death Becomes Her' while trying to seduce Bruce Willis—high camp!

The video is awesome. An homage to some amazing records and your own back catalogue. Tell us how it came together.

Thank you! I had an idea to create something that brings the colours and the objects of the new album artwork to life; that was a wink to some of my favourite videos like White Stripes Seven Nation Army, Kylie's The One, Des'ree's You Gotta Be, and Sugababe's Overload.

While I was doing the styling, I remembered I had all of the old album outfits, and I messaged Tyler Milliron (the director) and said, 'OMG, how realistic is this idea to recreate them all as living photos?' and he loved the idea. I had the absolute most fun on this video shoot. He's fantastic, and I love the final result so much!

It is another cut from your upcoming fifth studio album. Let's start with the artwork—it intimates your sexiest release to date. Is this the correct assumption?

I mean, sure, let's go with that! Ha! I think for me it's my most fun, or my least self-conscious. I really just wanted to have maximum fun with it and make people laugh, smile, dance, etc. Plus, I'm kind of poking fun at myself with the cheeky artwork. Moira Rose herself said you should be taking gorgeous photos of yourself and putting them on the internet, and as I'm not getting any younger, I thought, Well, why not just be silly and bold with the artwork? I love it!

There have been a few singles already released; are they a good example of what's to come?

Yes! I think Boys Etc. and You Want My... are good indications of the album's energy and playfulness.

Which unreleased song are you most excited for people to hear?

I am so excited to share Heartslap with Mykal Kilgore. I'm SO pumped for that one to make its way to dancefloors. But I'm also most proud of the title track, which I wrote about my best friend Janice. I'm over the moon with how that one turned out.

Bright Light Bright Light
You Want My...
Bright Light Bright Light You Want My...
The album is brimming with collaborations. How do you choose who to work with?

So with the title Enjoy Youth, I thought about who I loved in my youth, and while everyone is now sampling 90s hits, I thought, 'Why not just reach out to the 90s artists themselves?'. So I emailed Berri (whose hits Sunshine After The Rain and Shine Like A Star I was obsessed with), I've done a show and am friends with Ultra Naté, and I absolutely LOVE her amazing back catalogue—dancefloor icon—and then Mykal Kilgore, which I think is a future icon.

He sounds like nobody else; I absolutely love his voice. For Beth Hirsch, it was a special mix of reasons. Not only is her voice a 90s legend for work on Air's All I Need, but I listened to her with my friend Janice on loop when I spent so many weekends at her place in Paris, so having her sing on the song about my best friend, being one of her favourite voices, was so special to me.

But we note a lack of Jennifer Paige. Could that be a future consideration?

Jennifer: I see a vision of you and me.

We loved your last UK tour; when are you over here again?

I'll be back this year after the album is out, so keep an eye out! I can't wait!

Lastly, if you could achieve one thing with the album, what would it be?

To remind people to make the most of moments of joy in the day. With news cycles and the dark side of social media, it's so easy to feel defeated, but there's so much beauty and fun hidden in the cracks... I struggled to feel optimistic and buoyant in the years after COVID closures, so it's for myself too: a reminder to let yourself have moments of levity, even when trying to be conscious of everything going on.