Thomas Dolby

Born: October 14, 1958
Cairo, Egypt

Thomas Dolby Robertson was born to English parents in Cairo, Egypt in 1958. His father was an archaeologist specializing in Greek and Etruscan pottery, and his mother was a teacher. Thomas hated to study, and loved listening to jazz music. He taught himself piano, and found that he had an excellent ear for picking up melodies quickly. Electronics also interested him, and this passion grew as he got older. His high school friends called him Dolby after the man who created the noise reduction system for recordings. In high school, he taught himself how to play the guitar, and he began writing songs. But, before he could graduate, he dropped out of school to become a musician and artist. He bummed around England and France for a couple of years, relishing the punk scene and living it to the fullest. He would play guitar in the streets for money, and then go to London and play piano in pubs. He began developing and building synthesizers, and he began invisioning a sound that would fuse pop music with the new electronic sound that was becoming popular in the Europe underground. Dolby got a gig as a soundman for an R&B band, and he began hooking lighting and stage effects with drum pads and synthesizers to produce timed effects on stage. This made him very popular, and very much in demand by many European bands. After he wrote "New Toy" for singer Lene Lovich, it became a huge hit single, and Dolby's name began to get very popular for his synthesizer work. The popular stadium rock band Foreigner came to Dolby wanting him to do the synth work on their new album, 4, and Dolby obliged. What was produced became some of the most popular rock and roll synth work to date; "Urgent" became a number one single right away, and the band achieved huge sales off this killer album. Then, in 1982, Dolby released his first solo album entitled The Golden Age of Wireless. This album is given credit for being one of the first new wave albums out, and the hit single "She Blinded Me With Science" took over the world. And, although this single does not accurately indicate the work Dolby is mainly interested in, he received much publicity, and huge sales ensued. After the mania of "Science" was finally over, Dolby got back to his love of mixing electronic sound and melody. He also began working with Roger Waters, producing a new live version of The Wall (minus Pink Floyd). After a few years, Dolby formed Dolby and the Lost Toy People, who put out an album entitled Aliens Ate My Buick, which went back to the style of "Science". The band's live performance was almost comparative to that of the Grateful Dead, in the manner that it, too, was a freeform jazz-funk explosion. The following album, Astronauts and Heretics, was much more of the same. Throughout the 90's, Dolby was involved with the computer boom, creating graphics programs and mixing in digitally-mastered music. He is now known for his innovation with online sound production and mixing, as well as software and hardware development. Thomas Dolby is always referred to in the highest regards concerning his innovation.

Instruments Played / Skills:
MIDI/Digital Music Songwriter Synthesizer Vocals Organ Piano Composer

New Wave Electronica

Thomas Dolby Has Worked With:
Roger Waters
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"If you pick up a guitar and it says 'Take me! I'm yours!' - then that's the one for you."

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