Wishing all of my friends down in the U.S.A , a happy Independence Day.
Wishing all of my friends down in the U.S.A , a happy Independence Day.
Today I’m privileged to host, once again, nineteen-year-old singer/song writer Thomas Mastin. Some of you may recognize the name from a previous interview we did back in December of 2018. Please click on the link, if you want to read that one. Please note, that some of the links on that post are no longer available or relevant. His current social links and some videos can be found at the end of this short interview.
Thomas and I go a few years back, I remember a time when he needed two hands to swing one drumstick. Ok, maybe not that long, but it’s been a pleasure watching him grow from a young kid playing his heart out at church, into the talented musician he is today.
I’m offering you a brief glimpse into his journey. A tale of struggles, perseverance, Faith, life detours, and lessons. Thomas’s ‘can do’ spirit is an inspiration!
Me: You’re not a shiny penny to the music industry. You’re young, but you’ve already had a significant amount of experiences. Can you share some of those?
Thomas: Two summers ago, I was a drummer in a band called Arbour Season. We played a lot of venues in Florida including Busch Gardens, Splitsville in Disney Springs, and Mother’s Restaurant in Tampa. We’ve also done House Shows, which are exactly what they sound like. The band would do their gig at a residence either indoors or out.
Me: There’s been some ‘bumps in the road’ since those sunny Florida days. Can you share what’s happened and how the course of your career has changed?
Thomas: Well, as things go, we parted ways and I charted a course for a solo career, however, I’m a social guy and decided it wasn’t for me. I met Nathan Hardy, an amazing guitar player and fellow song writer. We formed Hello July. The name came to us one day, when we were in Nashville. I saw a poster for a band called Goodbye June. I jokingly mentioned Hello July. The agency that signed us, Brave Enough Agencies, supported it.
We began singing Blues, but our genre has evolved into a mixed style of rock and pop. It almost sounds a bit like Cold Play, and U2.
Thomas Mastin & Nathan Hardy
I’ve gone through an issue with my voice. As it turns out, I was straining my vocals, making them inflamed and they bled at times. Someone who knows more about singing than me, said to be careful, or there could be permanent damage. I’m taking some lessons and going a bit easier. I’m also learning certain diets that can help or harm your voice.
Me: I hope coffee’s okay!
Thomas: (laughs) “Oh yeah. I couldn’t do without it. I also couldn’t do without the ton of people reaching out to me right now. I didn’t expect that. It’s incredible! People have offered free lessons, I’ll have to choose which offer to take.
Pastor Dusty (Parkway Church, Amherstview, Ontario) has also been a huge inspiration. When I was eight, he told me, “If you can’t sing for five people, you can’t sing for 5,000.”
I’ve never forgotten that saying, even put it in the notebook that I use to write music. Those words remind me to be humble and with the trials of the past year, I’ve lost an arrogance. I’m no longer that high schooler who expects everything to fall into place.
Me: I think people can relate to struggles. We all have them and there’s an appreciation for an artist who is open about their challenges. They realize they’re not alone. Listening to music is often an emotional experience for most people. It can soothe, recall distant memories, and bring joy. You’ve been given a special gift.
Thomas: Yes, and now I’m in a place where people can relate to me better. This past year has taught me who I really am and that I sing, not for fame, but for God and to inspire listeners. It’s been hard for some to wrap their heads around the fact that I’m not pursuing a Christian music career, exclusively. I understand that, really, because when you grow up in the church and you say that you’re pursuing a music career, they expect Christian only. But I want to reach those who are struggling, both Christian and non. The band, NeedToBreathe, does this. They play worship songs on Sunday mornings, but festivals throughout the week.
We are planning a tour of Canada first, before eventually heading to America. We’re hoping to start with a few local House Shows. I’m willing to travel to the Toronto to Ottawa areas, and beyond. We have one booked, a couple from our church, they want to be the first.
Thomas in action!
Me: Does Hello July have any videos?
Thomas: We’ve made four. Speaking of a humbling experience, one day I was in a line-up at the grocery store and a woman behind me recognized me from a video. I asked her how she liked it, expecting a positive answer.
“It’s a good thing you’re pretty!” she said.
(laughs) I was surprised but answered, “Well, I’m glad I’m pretty, at least.”
Me: We all get those. They’re great reminders that not everyone appreciates your work. Most of the time it’s a matter of personal tastes. Personally, I don’t pay much attention unless a particular issue is mentioned by several different people.
Check out Hello July singing Coldplay’s song, Yellow.
My name is Thomas Mastin, I’m a 19 year old singer song-writer from Roblin, Ontario! Here are some links to my social media and one of the videos my bandmate Nathan and I have put out.
Find out more about Thomas and Hello July
I came off a few long days of work to find a wonderful surprise when I checked the comments on my blogsite.
I’ve been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! I was pleasantly surprised and honored!
The award is given out by members of the blogging community in recognition of their inspiring, creative, and motivational blogs.
I would like to thank Chris, whose informative and motivational blog Living Healthier and Happier is full of helpful articles that give great advice on diet, mental/physical health, financial issues, and everyday challenges. I highly recommend a visit, just click on the link above.
Chris has asked me to answer eleven personal question, so here goes:
1. How long have you been blogging?
2. What inspired you to start a blog?
I’m working on my second novel, and novel writing is a marathon. I wanted a way to connect with people in a more consistent way. I also enjoy reading the works of other bloggers and have learned so much from them.
3. How much time do you spend blogging each week?
It depends on the subject and blog length. In general, I devote around two hours.
5. It’s The Sunshine Blogger Award so how do you spread rays of sunshine on your blog?
I try to focus on the positive things in life. People need a break from the negativity in media, such as the news. There are still so many good experiences, and people, in this world. For the most part, I write about those. If I can make someone smile, or brighten their day in even a small way, my blog has done its job.
6. If you were to impart some words of wisdom about blogging, what would they be?
I don’t mean this in a bad way, but people are busy. Most readers are probably enjoying more than one blog. What I’ve found is that shorter blogs, with a few impactful paragraphs and some interesting photos, receive the most positive feedback.
7. What has influenced your blog most?
Personal experiences and ideas that I want to share.
8. What do you like best about blogging?
The connection with readers and hosting guest bloggers. I enjoy giving a boost to others.
9. Describe your blog using five adjectives.
fun/ unique/ emotional (at times)/ encouraging/ thought-provoking
10. What advice would you give a new blogger?
Read, read, read! Before you type the first words of your new blog, find and follow those of the experienced and successful. Learn from them, like and COMMENT on their posts. It takes awhile, but if you give support, you will reap the benefits. Do not copy the voice of others, find your own and be consistent in your posts and loyal to your followers.
11. Which blog topics are your favorites to read?
Travel blogs . . . I would love to travel more, but time and resources do not allow for this. I enjoy living vicariously through those blogs!
Here are some inspirational bloggers that I nominate for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I chose them because they are committed to blooging excellence!
For accepting the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, there are a few rules:
• Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
• Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.
• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.
• Nominate 11 new bloggers & their blogs. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award and ask your nominees 11 new questions.
I love to know what makes people ‘tick’ so here are 11 questions for you. I promise, nothing embarrasing. If there are any questions you do not wish to answer, please feel free to give them a pass.
1. What is the most extreme “sport” you’ve done (if any)?
2. Do you have a favorite travel destination? If so, where?
3. What is your favorite blog topic?
4. Do you have a prefered time of day to blog? When?
5. Do you drink coffee while you blog?
6. Do you have pets?
7. If you were trying to fix a broken shovel handle and a 500 pound gorilla came up to you with a roll of tape, what would you do?
8. Do you prefer to swim in a pool or a natural body of water?
9. It’s Thanksgiving- turkey, some other type of meat, or no meat?
10. Given the choice, would you prefer a spider or a snake in your home?
11. What type of music do you listen to?
That’s it! All done! I wish you all the best in 2020! Keep writing those wonderful blogs!
Today I have the privilege of hosting Madison Wicklam. A few months ago, she embarked on a journey that would take her on a worldwide mission of mercy that was made possible by an organization called YWAM (Youth With A Mission). I have included a link to YWAM at the bottom of this blog, for those interested in learning more.
The experiences this young woman had were unforgettable. While serving others, she gained valuable personal growth and close friendships.
What places have you traveled to, and served in, while involved with YWAM? Which one was most memorable?
The first place on my long journey with YWAM was Las Vegas. The actual school part of my discipleship training school was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. While in this school, we were involved in a diverse community where we all grew closer to God and served Him there. Ministry in Las Vegas involved handing out self care packages and talking to and praying for women on the most popular prostitution “track” in Vegas, working with Nevada Child Seekers to bring missing, young women and men home and simply going to the most tourist populated areas to raise awareness about human trafficking. These are just some of the many ministry aspects that YWAM Las Vegas is involved with.
The one part of YWAM Las Vegas is that they have a mini outreach (mission trip) to Mexico halfway through their school. In Ensenada, we worked with boys and girls rehab centres, we delivered coats and prayer to women and men in the red light district of Tijuana, and we spent time at a migrant camp playing with children and encouraging the women who were in less than ideal circumstances.
On our two month outreach, we stayed in Kathmandu, Nepal for a month doing slum ministry, teaching English, dance bar ministry, cabin bar ministry, and lots of prayer/intercession over the city. For the second month, my team split up and my half of the team went to Thailand while our other half went to Uganda. In Thailand, we spent most of our time in a village where young girls are taken into the city of Bangkok to be put into slavery and being human trafficked. Our ministry consisted of loving on young kids and showing them that Jesus gives them hope. We also had the opportunity to minister to some of the young children’s parents which was very important in saving these children from being sent into turmoil. The most memorable place for me was Nepal. I fell in love with the children and all of the ministry we did with them. Their need for love was so apparent and me being a carrier of the love of the Father, I wanted to love on every single one of those precious children. Working with these children will always be my most memorable part of my outreach. They will always be in the back of my mind and I hope to go back to visit these kids who really changed my heart.
Any particular life-changing experience(s) you want to share?
Pretty much my entire time in Nepal was life changing. During our time there, I experienced God in so many new ways and I really had to rely on Him daily to get me through some pretty hard times there. Every morning we would go to the slums which was a small community of little shacks and tents right off of a busy highway. We took our team to a little shed and as the children saw us come in, they would join, and we would sing songs about Jesus, share a bible story, and teach English to them. In this group of kids there were about three or four girls around the age of twelve to fourteen that expressed they did not have parents. I do not know the circumstances in which caused them to have to raise their siblings, but my heart absolutely broke for these strong young women. They are also very much at risk for being taken out of this slum and put directly into a dance bar, cabin bar, or brothel where they will be sexually exploited for money. In a situation like this it is hard to see God’s hand but He has surely protected them this far and I have so much faith that He will continue to shield them. These girls really influenced me in how their lives were less than ideal but they found so much joy in praising God and taking care of their families. I really grew during these difficult days in Nepal as God significantly grew my faith in Him. There were multiple times where I could have lost hope or been discouraged in a situation where He did not give me the answer I was makes all things work together for my good in HIS timing and not mine. Having Him reveal this to me, really made the rest of my outreach a lot easier and I completely leaned on Him when I felt overwhelmed or discouraged.
Why should other youth consider joining YWAM? Or become involved in the fight against human trafficking?
Other youth should consider joining YWAM for so many reasons. The major reasons I can think of are to grow their relationship with Jesus, fight for a cause they are passionate about, learn more about the word and God’s calling on their life, travel the world, meet new people, get introduced to new cultures/ways of life, build life long friendships and set a fire in their own life to see their lives transformed. Through YWAM youth have an amazing opportunity to follow and work for a passion that they have including human trafficking. YWAM Las Vegas offers young people a chance to explore the harsh realities of human trafficking by bringing in special speakers who were once trafficked themselves, parents of trafficking victims, police officers working on the front lines and others in the community working tirelessly to prevent human trafficking. During the school, my team and I would go out into the most high risk areas for human trafficking to pray for women, hand out care packages and ask them some key questions in indicating if they are involved in human trafficking or not. This was a hard task but so rewarding when we were able to help out one of these young women. I believe youth who have a passion for anti-human trafficking should definitely check out YWAM Las Vegas.
Have you made lifetime friends?
I definitely have made lifelong friends. During the course of the discipleship training school I became very close with a lot of people. When living in community, being open and vulnerable with the people around you is necessary because during the course of the school, you go trough a lot personally and spiritually. It is essential to talk things through with people and the small community around you can understand what is going on and it makes it easy to confide in them. Living with the same group of people for 5 months has its ups and downs but it is definitely a life-changing experience and I believe it will better prepare me for life at post secondary and even for when I have my own family some day.
Has this experience influenced your career decision?
This experience has influenced my career choice indefinitely. I never would have thought I would want to be the type of person to pursue missions but I can definitely see myself continuing with intercultural ministry. I am also hoping to continue in social work/human services at post secondary in attempts to eventually work with young women involved in human trafficking in a professional setting. My heart has broken for missions and helping victims of this modern day slavery so I am excited to see how God uses me in these areas. I am ready to go where He sends me and I know He has big plans for my walk with Him.
Madison Wicklam is an 18-year-old from a small town hoping to reach the nations. She has a passion for children living in less than ideal situations and those enslaved by human trafficking. Madison has recently come back from a five-month missions trip that she describes as life changing. She now thrives to spread the love of God that she has experienced so deeply in her own life.
Get Involved! Learn More at YWAM !
Woah, we’re half way there
Woah, livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear
Woah, livin’ on a prayer – Bon Jovi
These catchy lyrics by Bon Jovi could well describe my guest today. Meet Thomas Mastin, a young man of eighteen who is pursuing his dream of becoming a musician and a singer/songwriter. I’ve known Thomas since he was a child, from the time he started swinging those drumsticks in our church’s worship band. I’ve watched him grow as a musician and become what he is today. He’s a talented, dedicated artist who’s boldly stepped out from the comforts of quiet rural life and into the challenging, nomadic lifestyle of chasing a musical career.
Recently, I conducted an interview with Thomas and I’m going to share a snippet with you here. I admire anyone who has the courage to go after their dream and wish Thomas all the best in his pursuit.
It’s great to have you here today, thanks for taking the time away from your busy schedule to tell us a bit about yourself. The first question I have and that I’m sure others are wondering about, is how it all began. What inspired you to pursue this avenue?
Thomas: Growing up my dad was a farmer who also worked full-time at the local Good Year plant, and my mom was a teacher at the school I went to. I was brought up in a home where no one else had an interest in music. When I was around three or four, they noticed me drumming on pots and pans, or the floor, to music, so they would put me in lessons, but I didn’t like them. Around eight years old, my youth pastor, Dusty (Dustin) Crozier put me behind the drums at church and I took a liking to them.
You’re saying that Dusty was a major influence?
Thomas: Most people expect you to mention someone famous, but for me it was Dusty. And it wasn’t just drums, he taught me to sing and play guitar, even write my own music.
You mentioned several instruments, which one do you play the most?
Thomas: Well, that’s a tough one. My main instrument, at first, was drums, but I grew to hate playing them, so I switched to guitar for three or four years. Right now, I’m playing drums in a band in Florida, called Arbour Season.
So, you left home and began to play with this band. Can you tell me a bit more about it and the genre of music?
Thomas: They’re a married couple named Shane and Emily and when they were a two-member band, they played Pop. When I joined, they switched to Indie Folk and changed their name to Arbour Season. Getting a drummer helped them make the switch. Indie Folk, it’s very nostalgic. You hear it and you just want to drive through the mountains.
We’ve played summer festivals at Busch Gardens in Florida, gigs at Splitsville in Disney Springs, and Mother’s Restaurant in Tampa.
The plan is to, in February, hopefully go back to Florida for a month and then go on a full tour for a year across America non-stop. We want to stay on the road for a full year, just doing house shows, not even as many bar gigs, just singing in people’s living rooms. What we do is, well Shane does it, is message people and see if they want us to play in their homes, the only thing we ask is for a small donation.
Wow, that’s fascinating, I wasn’t aware that house shows are even a thing. What about you, personally, are you planning an album?
Thomas: Actually, they’re quite popular in America. Until I met Shane and Emily, I really didn’t know about much about them.
When on tour, I want to be writing the whole time. I want to have 100 songs done that I can pick five of. It’s a weird number, because usually it’s a four song EP (Extended Play). I want to put out a five or eight song EP, which is sometimes called a Freshman’s Album. That’s my biggest goal right now.
An EP is a step to an album. For instance, Shawn Mendes put out a four song EP and that was his introduction to his album. So, the next year, he wrote 100 more songs, picked ten and put it on a big album, and that was how he got out there.
I never realized the amount of labor that goes into an album. Unless you’re in the music industry, I don’t think you can appreciate all the background work. It has to be stressful. Do you have any routines that you do to help you relax?
Thomas: There are definitely things you do to deal with nerves, especially for a bigger show. One thing, for me, is that even though we may not be playing worship music, it helps me to know that this is still a ministry. I have certain people I will call, or Shane, Emily, and I will just talk or pray before we go on. Or sometimes I watch the show, The Flash (laughs). These just help me go on the stage relaxed.
Any inspirations for songs? Things that have happened in your life?
Thomas: I’ve written a couple of songs about how my past year has gone, with a duo that I was in called Compass North, that just came to an end. I think that if I put out an album in the next year, I think it will be focused on my faith in that situation, in the way that I’ve been guided through with God’s strength, my parents and my friends. That’s one of my inspirations, but even things that go on in my family and how my parents have been so supportive.
Just one last question before I let you get back to your music. Any advice for those following their musical aspirations?
Thomas: The whole thing with music, is that there are endless opportunities. You see all the famous people who have made it . . . I don’t think that should define how good of a career you have. It was hard for me to understand, but my parents keep reminding me that it shouldn’t be my main goal. Your main-focus should be on your love of music, not whether you are making a lot of money. Keep at it. I’ve been fortunate with the supportive people in my life. Get great people behind you.
Thomas Mastin lives on his family farm near Napanee, Ontario, Canada. He attends Roblin Weslyan Church and is committed to music, friends, family, and his Faith. In his spare moments, he enjoys playing and watching basketball.
If you would like to find out more about Thomas and Arbour Season, or would like to listen to and/or purchase their music, please visit one of the links below.
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