Here is an excerpt from an open-hearted conversation with the tenacious twins Richard & Ronny Thomas, who, at a very young age, have carved a name for themselves by assisting in music bands to performing at their own music shows.
At what age was music introduced to you brothers?
Ronny: Fun fact about us- we were into dancing till class 10th. So any dance competition in St. John’s School, had us as the lead dancers and our trophies and certificates are a proof! After taking admission in Hislop, we joined the SCM (Student Christian Movement) where there was no dance, only music. And our new friends were into it so we were surrounded by music. Especially me, I was so inspired by a drummer that just watching him made me want to learn the craft of drumming. And that’s exactly what I did; now I am the official drummer for our Church.
Richard: My story is a bit different. I used to learn tabla in 9th grade. After 10th, we used to go to YFC (Youth for Christ) where they have their own band. The guitarist got me hooked to the instrument. So every morning at 10 my mother dropped me off at YFC and I practiced the whole day till 8 in the evening. So that’s how we learnt and now Ronny is a lead singer and I am the lead guitarist. I now know how to play acoustic, bass and electric guitar. And now we teach keyboard to kids (learnt while teaching, yes bragging). Ronny is a music teacher at Centre Point School and I teach at Priyadarshini School.
Like any other artist, share the hurdles you might have faced during your music journey.
Richard: Yes, we both have. In fact you won’t believe it but I still do not own a guitar. I had to borrow one ALWAYS, either from my cousin, my mentor or a friend. Practicing was difficult but whenever I could I gave all my heart, hunger, tiredness and sore fingers. There have been times when our mother could not drop us off at YFC, so we used to take a bus till half way and walk the other half in the middle of the day to save money. At YFC, we had a room to practice with a single fan and we fought to sit under it.
Ronny: And I was into drumming, the acoustic set up. Now imagine learning to play drums without any guidance. It took a lot of practice and observation. Then there have been times when people asked me not to sing because I screamed more than singing (laughs). That hit me hard. So for the next one year I worked so hard that my screaming turned into singing and the same person who asked me not to sing, invited me to perform at his gig. Yes bragging again.
Do you feel we have a music culture in Nagpur?
Ronny: There was a time when there were very few singers / musicians in Nagpur who really worked hard. And when they started earning through their art, people were amazed to know that art can actually fetch money. Local artists too were motivated to sell their art. And now it’s no more about performing on the stage, a musician is much more than a performer. It’s also about how he communicates and connects with the audience off the stage.
Richard: Looking at those amazing musicians in Nagpur made us realise we are still very raw to showcase our learning out there. And I think this self-awareness is very important in every artist which has helped us improve every day. We knew where we stood and worked day and night literally to reach the level where we are right now. Our hardwork and patience has given us this confidence to perform and teach music and get better with it.
What can we expect from this dynamic duo in the future?
Richard: As for the near future is concerned, we just want to make an album of our own compositions. Ronny has written a few songs and I am composing them. I want to be known as a Songwriter and a versatile Musician who can adapt to any genre of music, like Ed Sheeran, self-sufficient writing for other artists as well.
Ronny: I have come to this realisation that singing is my ultimate calling. This is the reason I have been composing my own songs because I want people to feel connected to me through my words. I wish to be known as a singer whose songs and voice strikes a chord with the listener’s heart. What good is my music if I cannot make my audience hum along?
What are your thoughts about Thinkin’Culture?
Ronny: Honestly, years back I had no idea about what Thinkin’Culture was. It was only through our friends that we came to know about the monthly edition.
Richard: We knew Thinkin’Culture is a platform where artists are appreciated and actually helped out professionally. And that is when we knew we had to be worthy of being featured on their page. And I would like to thank the whole team for playing an important role in every artist’s life.