Tom Goss is a gay singer-songwriter who lives in D.C. If you were at the 17th Street Festival last September, you might have caught his performance. A native of Wisconsin, he moved to the area in 2004 to enter Catholic seminary. He later abandoned his quest to become a priest and began performing in local coffee houses in 2006.
Goss is also still program manager at Charlie’s Place, an organization that works with the homeless; it is based at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church at 1830 Connecticut Avenue NW.
Today, he is a successful musician with two full-length CDs, two LPs, a live DVD and four music videos. Next month his latest CD, “Turn It Around,” releases, which will be followed by a 10-week, 50-city tour. For more information about Tom and his music, visit his website.
Borderstan: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Goss: I describe my music as Acoustic pop. Lots of folks call it singer-songwriter but I try to really focus on writing pop songs more in the vain of The Beatles rather than folk songs. People often compare me to Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, David Gray or Dave Matthews.
Borderstan: What or whom inspires your music?
Goss: People inspire my music. I am inspired by stories of tragedy and triumph. I’m lucky to be able to share my story. As a result, people share their stories with me. I am very lucky.
Borderstan: Where have you performed in the Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods?
Goss: Lots of places. I lived at 11th and Girard for a long time. I’ve performed at Nellie’s Sports Bar, The Black Fox, go mama go!, 17th Street Festival, St. Margaret’s Church, Dog Days Festival and Miss Pixies, and I used to run a showcase every month at Solly’s. The neighborhood definitely has inspired and impacted my music. I have met so many amazing people that have helped form me musically and personally. D.C. is a vibrant and friendly city. I have always felt welcomed and encouraged by my listeners.
Borderstan: I read your bio and you have an interesting story. How have the events in your life affected your music?
Goss: I write from personal experience so all the experiences in my life shape the way I see the world, thus shaping the songs that I write. It’s been a strange journey for me, not always good either. That being said, I’m very happy to have had the experiences that I have had because they have brought me to where I am today. I’m very lucky to live in D.C., have a beautiful, supportive husband, a family that encourages my dreams and a general sense of happiness.
Borderstan: Favorite local music venues/musicians?
Goss: Sadly, I don’t get to watch much music in D.C. because I’m always out of town or performing myself. That being said, my favorite D.C. bands are The Mavins (Michael Yugo), Echo Armada, Michael Jantz and the Sweater Set. Each of these bands is different and unique. I feel lucky to be able to collaborate with them.
Borderstan: Advice for anyone pursuing a music career?
Goss: Work hard to develop your own voice. Don’t take anything for granted and have fun!