“That video,” says Tom Goss, “has had millions and millions of views and has been seen all over the world, but I haven’t really made any money off it.” Goss is referring to “Bears,” his 2013 music video, filmed while he was living in D.C.
“It gets flagged as being inappropriate for children because guys are running around in bathing suits. There’s this really strange double standard that happens.”
And what he calls “a little discriminatory” pattern keeps occurring across all platforms.
“I had three things on TikTok early on that were starting to trend and go viral,” he says, “and then they got closed for violating ‘community guidelines.’ I’m putting air quotes around that. They were the tamest, most nonsexual things that you would ever see.”
Recently, Goss has had success on TikTok and elsewhere with “Dancing In My Room,” a lighthearted pop song he co-wrote with producer Austin Danson. “As soon as the pandemic started, I was sad and wanted to connect with other people, to collaborate,” he says. Danson had sent Goss the melody, and the musician immediately was inspired by it.
“I just started dancing in my room and singing,” he says of the lyrics, which were made up on the spot. “I think there’s something fun about being in your room by yourself. Nobody’s watching. You’re cranking your favorite tunes. You’re in your happy space in your room, just dancing.”
Tom Goss — Photo: Daren Cornell
In a time of mass isolation, it’s more compelling to think that we’re all alone together. “I really wanted to do it in a way that brought people together,” Goss says. “So I started reaching out to friends and just pitching tons of people.”
Ultimately, eleven musical artists signed on for three variations of the video — from the original English-language version featuring a French rap in the bridge, to one in Spanish with a Mandarin rap, to another in French with a Korean rap. Adds Goss, “A lot of people have been doing their dances [on] TikTok.” Proceeds from the project go toward United Way Worldwide.
“It became something really fun and really collaborative and that’s exactly what we wanted,” Goss says. The project might even serve as a harbinger of more collaborative works to come — once the singer-songwriter is able to get fully back to work. “The majority of what I do with my day and my life and how I make my income has more or less vanished into thin air,” he says.
“I’m sick of the idea of Tom Goss,” he says. “I don’t want to do things that are just me, about me. I don’t want to release anything anymore that’s not collaborative.”
COVID-19 has also reinforced Goss’s commitment to collaboration in his personal life.
“I’m in a very lucky situation because I really love my husband and I enjoy spending time with him,” he says. “To be honest with you, we haven’t spent this much time together since 2006. It’s been really very wonderful to get to know each other once again.” –Doug Rule
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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.
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