AMERICAN FALLS – Dante Thomas lived a full life.
Since his debut in the music business in 2001, the American singer has collaborated with popular artists such as Pink, the Backstreet Boys, Snoop Dogg and many more. He lived in Paris for several months and in Saarbrücken in West Germany, and he once owned an apartment in Switzerland. He hung out with Mariah Carey at a studio and had dinner with one of her childhood influences, Stevie Wonder.
Still, the R&B singer who made it big with her international hit single ‘Miss California’, which topped the charts in 2001 in many countries, had slipped away from the limelight until recently. Now he has returned to the music industry with new songs in a new genre, having moved to a new place where he began to put down roots and feel at home – American Falls, Idaho.
“I moved here just under two years ago,” said Thomas, who was born and raised in Salt Lake City. “I bought a house here in November 2019, months before the whole world changed.”
Thomas, who has more than 330,000 monthly listeners on Spotify from around the world, said he leaned into the country genre and focused on themes of patriotism and faith. He released his single “Still in Love with America” this year.
The inspiration for the song came to him when he was living in Germany and working with United Service Organizations, which helps service members stay in touch with family and country while away from home.
“I was watching my daughter crawling on the floor and I was watching CNN and I just noticed that there’s a lot of people who…had contempt for America, you know?” he said. “And I just couldn’t understand that. I couldn’t understand how they would feel that way on such a broad spectrum. I mean, every country has its problems, but America is the greatest country in the world, as far as I’m concerned.
Thomas has several family members who served in the United States Air Force, United States Navy and United States Army Special Forces, and he explained that their service and sacrifices, as well as patriotic love of his mother for the country, influenced him to write “Always in love with America.”
“Most importantly, I think the message (of the song) is just to remind us…that we come from a wonderful, amazing, beautiful country and we should never take that for granted,” said he declared. “People can take things for granted because of so many freedoms they have and so many freedoms they have. And being able to travel the world, you can see how other societies, cultures and countries live And I can promise you that when you travel to other places, you come home and you’re like, ‘man, I’m really grateful to be from here.’
Another song Thomas has been working on, which he says is one of the toughest he’s tackled to date, is his new single “Silver Than Gold,” which recently shot in American Falls home and whose story took place in the city itself.
“It’s country, an acoustic ballad,” he says. “And it was three days of really intense filming.”
The song centers on Thomas’ marriage of 13 years as it deteriorated and is a representation of the emotions he felt during the breakup.
“I almost didn’t write the song,” he said. “But in the end, I thought I wasn’t the only one who’s been through this before. And there are a lot of people who don’t have that voice to say what they feel. And so, d in a way, for me, it was like therapy… and maybe therapy for someone else when they hear it.
The music video features young people from Idaho who were Thomas’ own children, and several props used were real toys and drawings belonging to his son and daughter, as well as real messages his wife left for him.
“Basically…the song is the breaking up of a marriage in a very hard way and the choices people make and the cautionary tale behind the song is…the idiom…silver than gold,” he said. declared. “How many times in life are we offered something now, or if we are patient, a greater reward later?”
Thomas expects the single to be released in mid-November and his album to be released in early 2022.
Writing about events in his life is something Thomas began to explore, especially since early in his career he said he mainly wrote songs to entertain.
“When I was younger in my teens and writing songs, I was writing songs to entertain, not so much about myself,” he said. “And now I can tell you that everything I sing today is something that I go through in my life. And I don’t write the songs anymore. They write themselves.
His transition from R&B to country also strongly inspired him to rely more on the music his mother, who was an opera singer, listened to when he was a child.
These songs were not only entertaining but also told stories, he said, and this ability to tell stories that connected people was something he wanted to pursue with his own work.
“When I started doing country music, I started leaning more on my mom’s music, the country stuff that she used to sing. People… for a long time like Merle Haggard, Eddie Rabbit and Reba McEntire, they were people she loved,” he explained. “And so I went back and listened to those songs that she used to play when she was sitting in the car and driving and singing, you know, and I was like a man, those songs, the only one thing i love about country is that the stories are amazing.
“They are so good,” he continued. “And I mean storytelling is part of country music from what I’ve been through so far. And so all the things that I write now are really great stories. Wonderful and wonderful stories.
Since moving to American Falls, he has also become more involved with his faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his community, and hopes to do more by opening an organization one day soon. nonprofit to help give back and build families. and fostering creativity in the American Falls area.
The importance of being involved in the community and not just having a home in the area was something Thomas wanted to focus on when he decided to stay in southeast Idaho.
“One thing my manager pointed out, and I sincerely agreed, was (she said) ‘Even if you stand on stage, Dante, and do all these things, it’s not all about you.’ And I was like ‘I agree’…and she said, ‘That’s why…it’s important for you to get involved in your community…because I really want to see you. help the community you live in to show them that you’re not just there to live in and out of town. Do you think you want to be a part of it? And I… took a step back and looked at it from that perspective, I was like, man, you know, God really put the right people in my life,” he said. “And I’m so grateful. That’s all I can say. I walk around with tons of gratitude all the time.
Thomas explained that he experienced the peaceful atmosphere of a small town in American Falls and saw it at all hours of the day. He said that when the urge hit him, he sometimes put on his running shoes and went for a late night run, and even got to know the officers on duty and they would wave to him when he passed.
“Whenever I don’t have my kids…and I’m on my own, it’s a really nice little town and it’s quiet and very peaceful at night, I’ll go for a run at midnight,” he said. -he declares. “I’m going to put my running shoes on and I’m just going to run through the whole city for about an hour really slow and just listen to… music. And it’s very therapeutic in a way. … I watch everything and I’m so happy to be here. And I know I can do a lot of good things here. I know I can and I do it for the right reasons. And I look forward to doing it for the right reasons.
For those interested in learning more about Dante Thomas and his music, he is active on Facebook and Spotify as Dante Thomas, and on Instagram with his username as @realdantethomas.