“Nerdy Bear” is a new song and music video by artist Tom Goss that celebrates plus-sized men who enjoy superheroes and playing video game. As a gay man, Tom has found success with music that speaks directly to the LGBTQ community. His previous releases, “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Breath and Sound” (featuring out artist Matt Alber) have had close to five million YouTube views each.
Tom recently discussed his career and new single via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you first realize that you wanted to be a musical artist?
Tom Goss (TG): I got a guitar for my high school graduation. It when then that I started playing music. I was obsessed with Dave Matthews Band and I was in awe of their ability to bring people together. I really wanted to do that.
MM: How would you describe your typical sound?
TG: I think it’s in a constant state of evolution. I like to experiment. I’d say that I have traditionally been in the realm of acoustic pop, but the past five years I’ve been really inspired by ambient and electronic sounds. These days, that is much more prevalent in my productions.
MM: How does that compare with the sound and style of Nerdy Bear?
TG: Again, totally different! Nerdy Bear is much more of an R&B grove with pop sensibilities. I love the warm tones of the instrumentation, that was really the inspiration for the musicality of the track.
MM: What life events inspired Nerdy Bear?
TG: I had a friend of mine write me and tell me he had a dream that I wrote a song about a shy nerdy bear. No joke! At that same time, I was playing a lot of Nintendo Switch and finding a lot of joy in a FB Group called “Bears Be Gaming.” So, I took the idea, and the “Bears Be Gaming” inspiration, and ran with it!
MM: Did the lyrics or beat come first?
TG: For this song the music came first. I really wanted something that was in the R&B realm, sexy and sultry. I stumbled across a track by the producer LARUE MADE IT and immediately fell in love. His track really inspired the songwriting. I went to town writing the lyrics, melody, and some additional instrumentation (all those horns you hear are actually made with my mouth) and then sent it off to Ned Douglas who worked his own magic. Honestly, it was a much different process for me and I loved it!
MM: What is your favorite lyric in the song. Why?
TG: Oh man, it’s hard to choose. There are so many fun ones in the song. All that said, I really love how I managed to write the Konami Code into the song (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, START). That cheat code was the first cheat code that all kids of my generation learned and it was such a wonderful discovery. It brings back very fond memories and is an Easter egg lyric for all the nerds out there!
MM: Who came up with the concept for the music video?
TG: When I finished a mix of the song, I sent it to my friend, and long-time collaborator, Michael Serrato. I just wanted to make him smile. He immediately texted back “I want to direct this.” He’s brilliant and we’ve made such great work together, so it was a no brainer. I hopped in the car and drove to NYC (no COVID planes for me) and we went to work. Narratively, the concept is primarily Michael’s, he’s so great at creating characters and telling a compelling story. That said, we’ve worked so much together we have a great ability to bounce ideas back and forth and come up with dynamic images.
MM: How long did it take to film?
TG: We shot the video in one day!
MM: You dress up as Princess Peach, which is adorable! So, what’s your take on the character? Is there anything about her that most people don’t know but might be intrigued to learn?
TG: Hahaha, not that I know of. There’s a lyric in the song that says “I’ll be your Princess, you’re Link, that’s right.” We wanted to play off that visually. I relate much more to “The Legend of Zelda” then I do to “Mario Brothers,” so I suppose if I had my choice of princesses I’d be “Zelda.” But I do love Princess Peach, she’s my “Mario Kart” choice every time! But ultimately, we wanted to make the Nerdy Bear the hero and what better way to do that then to save Princess in real life!
MM: What has been the best thing about working in the music industry so far?
TG: Probably the freedom to constantly play. I didn’t grow up being an artist. I grew up in an atmosphere (as a gymnast) where you were trying to attain perfection. That colored my work ethic in a positive way, but also colored my outlook on life sometimes in a negative way. I spend a lot of time being hypercritical and self-depreciating as a result of my imperfections. I love that there is no perfect in being an artist. You can be bold, and different (even different from yourself) and that’s a positive thing. I’m happiest when I forget my perfectionism and am being playful.
MM: What projects are coming up for you next?
TG: I want to work with other artists. I will always be working on my own projects, but I recently directed a music video for another artist (Jake Castro – Covet) and I loved the process. It would be an honor to use my experience to help other queer artists tell their stories.
MM: Is there anything else that you would like to discuss?
MM: I’m not sure anything is weighing on my mind. I’ve been driving around the country with my husband for about five weeks now and I’m as carefree as I’ve been for at least a decade. I’m hoping that the long-term result of COVID cancelling my life, is that I can re-learn what’s most important. I can learn to be less career focused. I can focus on my husband, family, friends and fans, without longing for more. The truth is, I already have it all.
MM: Final thoughts on Nerdy Bear? What do you hope listeners take away from the song and its music video?
MM: First of all, I hope it makes people smile. Secondly, I hope it helps show people that there are many types of sexy. Chubby is sexy. Hairy is sexy. Nerdy is sexy. People of color are sexy. If we stop trying to define what sexy is, we will begin to see it everywhere we look.
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