Mu­sic: Tom Goss is ‘awe­some­sauce.’

GA Voice - - News -

Years ago, Tom Goss planned to be a Catholic seminarian. Now he’s headed to At­lanta to help raise funds for a bunch of fake nuns.

An acous­tic singer-song­writer known for both his mu­sic and his mes­sages, Goss per­forms at At­lanta’s First Ex­is­ten­tial­ist Con­gre­ga­tion on Satur­day, March 9, to ben­e­fit the Sis­ters of Per­pet­ual In­dul­gence, the group of drag nuns ded­i­cated to com­mu­nity ser­vice for LGBT peo­ple and be­yond.

“I’ve met Sis­ters all over the coun­try; I love their en­ergy and their works,” Goss tells GA Voice.

And while Goss will join the At­lanta Sis­ters as per­former rather than priest, he still packs pow­er­ful mean­ings into his mu­sic.

The video for his song “Lover,” which gar­nered more than 81,000 YouTube views, told the story of the part­ner of a gay ser­vice­mem­ber killed in ac­tion and fea­tured three ac­tual mem­bers of the mil­i­tary who were dis­charged un­der “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

GA Voice caught up with Goss the day be­fore his new­est video, a multi-lay­ered acous­tic cover of “Can’t Hold Us” by Mack­le­more and Ryan Lewis, de­buted on Feb. 26.

GA Voice: You dropped out of Catholic sem­i­nary. Did coming out play a role?

Tom Goss: Not really. I didn’t leave be­cause I felt alien­ated by my sex­ual iden­tity. When I came to the self-re­al­iza­tion that I was gay that didn’t change my ideas about my be­lief that God was all know­ing, all pow­er­ful and all good.

For me, if God is in fact those three things then my sex­u­al­ity was some­thing that God cre­ated in me and was also some­thing that was good. As some­one who had spent my life feel­ing asex­ual it was a pos­i­tive rev­e­la­tion for me.

Be­ing at­tracted to an­other per­son opened my own un­der­stand­ing of my abil­ity to love on a deeper level. I see noth­ing but good in that. In many ways, that re­al­iza­tion brought me closer to God.

Do you still con­sider your­self Catholic? What do you think about the Pope’s res­ig­na­tion?

No. I don’t think much about it. I think it’s a very cor­rupt in­sti­tu­tion and they’ll put an­other per­son in his place to con­tinue their tra­di­tion and agenda. When I en­tered sem­i­nary I be­lieved the in­sti­tu­tion had huge flaws; I be­lieved it was hurt­ing peo­ple and alien­at­ing peo­ple. How­ever, I also love it. As a re­sult, I be­lieved the only way to help cre­ate pos­i­tive Tom Goss Satur­day, March 9, 6 p.m. First Ex­is­ten­tial Con­gre­ga­tion 470 Can­dler Park Drive At­lanta, GA 30307 www.tom­goss­mu­ change was from within.

At this point in my life, I be­lieve ev­ery­one should stop go­ing to Catholic Church and giv­ing them their money. It seems to me that the Catholic Church will only change when it is forced to.

Is be­ing a singer-song­writer in some ways sim­i­lar to be­ing a priest? You are still spread­ing a mes­sage.

I en­tered sem­i­nary be­cause I wanted to work in ec­u­menism, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and in­ter­re­li­gious di­a­logue. Folks al­ways say to me, “Man, I wish I would have met you when you were train­ing to be­come a priest. I bet you were so dif­fer­ent.”

The truth is, as you have al­luded to, I’m still do­ing much of the same things. How­ever, now I have a dif­fer­ent plat­form. My goal is still to rec­on­cile peo­ple with them­selves and one an­other, to speak about hope and love, and to help make the world a bet­ter place.

What in­spired your lat­est CD, “Turn it Around”?

Well lots of things. I don’t really set out to write con­cept al­bums, mostly I write songs. Even­tu­ally a col­lec­tion starts to take shape. Some songs get dropped be­cause they don’t fit; some seem to fit nicely.

As the al­bum was tak­ing shape it be­came ob­vi­ous to me that “Turn It Around” was pri­mar­ily a song about see­ing things in a pos­i­tive light. It’s a record about growth, over­com­ing ob­sta­cles and of course, find­ing and nour­ish­ing love.

What is your fa­vorite part of the mu­si­cal process — writ­ing, record­ing, or per­form­ing?

I pre­fer writ­ing and per­form­ing to be­ing in the stu­dio. I do love it all though. I sup­pose if pressed I would have to say per­form­ing. That’s when I really get to tell sto­ries and con­nect with peo­ple on a deeper level.

Record­ing and writ­ing are very per­sonal, soli­tary even. Per­form­ing is in­ti­mate as well; how­ever, it’s a prac­tice in be­ing in­ti­mate, hon­est and open to a room full of peo­ple. That in­evitably sparks con­ver­sa­tion, you be­gin to hear peo­ple’s sto­ries, their hopes and fears, con­nect­ing with them on a whole new level. That’s what I love.

I do this be­cause I love telling sto­ries and hear­ing oth­ers’ sto­ries. To me, that’s the real power in mu­sic.

You have said that some of your songs are in­spired by your hus­band. Do you think that mu­sic can help aid in the fight for mar­riage equal­ity?

With­out a doubt. Mu­sic is al­ways a cat­a­lyst for change. I’d like to think that the videos for “Till The End,” “Lover,” and “You Don’t Ques­tion Love” made their own im­pact.

Now you see mar­riage equal­ity videos be­ing pro­duced by main­stream artists, just look at Mack­le­more’s “Same Love.” The more we see and hear im­ages of the nor­malcy of gay mar­riage, the more nor­mal it will seem in the main­stream.

You head­lined Au­gusta Pride here in Ge­or­gia last sum­mer. How did the fes­ti­val com­pare to oth­ers you have played?

I love Au­gusta. I al­ways have a lot of fun there. I’ve been play­ing there for years. I am al­ways in­spired by Prides in smaller cities — there is a real sense of com­mu­nity, pol­i­tics and com­mon good that is ad­mirable. …

Some­times we take for granted that, in a big met­ro­pol­i­tan city, we can go on a date, hold our part­ner’s hands and be openly af­fec­tion­ate. That is usu­ally not the case in th­ese smaller cities. As a re­sult, there is a real courage that’s in­volved in

host­ing and run­ning a Gay Pride fes­ti­val.

What can fans ex­pect from your At­lanta show? It ben­e­fits the At­lanta Sis­ters for Per­pet­ual In­dul­gence —how did you get in­volved with them?

I met Gary Sisney [owner of At­lanta gay sports bar Woofs] when I was play­ing at The River’s Edge in 2010. He was very gra­cious and has helped in­tro­duce me to sev­eral peo­ple in the At­lanta area. Even­tu­ally he passed my name along to B’Yonda Cloud as some­one who would be a good per­son to help en­ter­tain folks at a fundraiser.

I’ve met Sis­ters all over the coun­try; I love their en­ergy and their works. Still, I never per­formed at one of their of­fi­cial func­tions. I’m very ex­cited to be do­ing so. Hopefully we can raise a lot of money. Bring your wal­lets...

If peo­ple leave a Tom Goss con­cert say­ing only one word, what would you hope for it to be?

I hate this ques­tion. I never know how to an­swer it with­out sound­ing com­pletely ego­cen­tric. OK, let me think… The words that I hope peo­ple come out think­ing are in­spi­ra­tional, mov­ing, touch­ing, vi­brant, pow­er­ful, en­er­getic, or even awe­some­sauce.

I think usu­ally peo­ple are think­ing awe­some­sauce.

Tom Goss dropped out of Catholic sem­i­nary, but uses his mu­sic to spread a mes­sage of hope, love and so­cial jus­tice — plus just plain good songs. (Photo by Michael Pa­trick Key)

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