Tomi Allen’s music is a melting pot of genres blending into what could be best described as pop/rock/world with a '70s vibe. Drawing on a wide variety of influences including classic rock, reggae, blues, latin, funk, flamenco, jazz, african and old school R&B. One song might get you grooving to a roots reggae beat with bluesy jazz infusions, the next might take you on a soulful exploration of Brazilian music or back in time on a psychedelic funk/rock trip. How to classify the overall sound is anyone’s guess but one thing is certain - Tomi’s mix-mash of musical styles is refreshingly unique.
Growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Tomi began studying piano at an early age but it wasn’t until the age of fifteen that he really discovered his love for music through the guitar. He dug into classic rock and blues and followed rock and roll’s history back through time to the blues emulating as best he could the likes of Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Buddy Guy. After years of obsessing over the blues he met some funk/jazz musicians in need of a keyboardist for a reggae band and it proved to be a turning point. He was inspired to broaden his horizons and began exploring the world of reggae, funk and jazz through notable influences such as Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Ernest Ranglin, James Brown and Galactic. The next marked influences came during Tomi's sun-seeking, Canadian-winter-dodging adventures where the acoustic music of Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and Coldplay seemed a perfect complement to the backpacking, boats and beaches. His travels later took him to Spain and revealed flamenco guitar techniques he had heard on Gipsy Kings records during childhood but hadn’t quite been able to figure out by ear. The fire and flash of the complex style captivated his focus and humbled him once again. He went back into study mode and began piecing together the rhythms, scales, and intricate right-hand techniques that compose the fiery form. When it was time to travel again, South America was on the map and there he was introduced to a funky, jazzy, easy-grooving variety of Brazilian music - Bossa Nova and Samba. And being the sucker that he is for infectious rhythms and grooves - you guessed it - he began studying that music as well.
All the while blues, classic rock, reggae, flamenco and other bum-shaking ear candy like soul, funk, old school R&B, African and Cuban music continued to circulate on his playlists.
With such a broad backdrop of influences it is no wonder that Tomi’s music is different. Any given song could feature flamenco and latin fingerstyle guitar blended with bluesy, classic rock, reggae riffs; screaming psychedelic guitar solos, or simple but tasty leads. Such an unusual combination of influences has resulted in songwriting and guitar work that has a unique and percussive twist that is sure to get even more interesting as Tomi continues to seek more music beyond the horizon.