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Thomas Appell

Vocal Coach

Thomas Appell

Thomas Appell is the main producer and president of Hot Hits Music located in Orange County, CA. Thomas began his musical career at age 10 singing with a professional children's choir, recording an album, and appearing on television many times. After four years of trumpet lessons he decided to focus on guitar as his main instrument. At 13 he started a rock group playing lead guitar. His first gig was at Taco Bell where the band played for all of the food they could eat. After playing with a number of local bands he formed a new group, US101.

US101 started out writing and performing the "beach boys" style of surf music with lots of harmony. The band got very good and quickly turned into an all-original rock group - with one problem. They weren't pleased with their drummer. The bass player told Thomas the drum major for his high school band was "unbelievable." Although the young drummer was only 15 years old, Thomas agreed to set up an audition. It didn't take long to figure out this drummer was spectacularly talented. His name was Tom Bass, aka Tommy Lee. Tommy's dad built a rehearsal studio for the band in his garage and US101 took off like a rocket, playing at local junior high schools, high schools, and Hollywood clubs.

After Thomas had played hundreds of gigs with Tommy Lee, the band decided to look for a new singer. Thomas began taking voice lessons to front the band as a singer. Tommy got impatient and left the group to form Suite 19 with local guitarist Greg Leon, and later Motley Crue. Thomas got hooked on voice training, left the group and in 1982 began training and coaching singers full time. In 1993 Thomas wrote Can You Sing a HIGH C Without Straining?, one of the best selling books in the world about singing. Clients have flown from all over the world to train with Thomas at his southern California voice studio.

As more of Thomas' clients became serious professional singers submitting demos to record labels, they began needing high quality songwriting, recording and producing. Thomas started by going with the singer to local top-notch recording studios and coach the vocal recording. During one of his first sessions there was a problem with the piano track. Thomas made a few suggestions that everyone liked and ended up re-playing the whole track himself. Soon he started doing all of the arrangements for the music being recorded by his clients.

A few months later a client who only wrote lyrics needed a song and asked Thomas to come up with a melody. Thomas agreed. At the songwriting session, the client refused to allow Thomas to see the lyrics and insisted that Thomas write the music while the client improvised the melody simultaneously. The only requirement was that it sound "gothic." Thomas pulled it off, wrote and arranged the tune and it was soon recorded at a local 24 track recording studio. He wrote one more song this way with the same client. Realizing he had a knack for songwriting, when a female singer asked him to write a melody for her lyrics Thomas jumped right into action. She loved the first tune and asked him to write, arrange and produce an entire album for her. To save money, Thomas agreed to produce the album for his hourly fee alone (no recording studio fees) if she paid up front and gave him enough money to buy all of the gear needed for a high end professional recording studio. Within a week Thomas had a HUGE check and went shopping. The year was 1993.

Once Thomas had his own recording studio he began producing, writing and recording music for many of his clients. In the years that followed Thomas began assembling a library of original song masters that are available for recording artists, film and television use. Most of his clients want finished masters ready for an album, so the quality of the finished masters is very high. Thomas' studio includes a Pro Tools set-up with a dedicated drum room. In the drum room is a permanently set up and mic'd DW quilted maple drum kit. Thomas hires top studio drummers for his songs and usually plays all of the keys and guitars himself.

Emmy award-winning producer Jim Klein recently chose one of Thomas' songs (So Close to You) to be part of his prestigious J2R Music library for presentation to network television and motion picture film producers. Two more of Thomas' songs (The Story Is Still the Same & I'm Not Gonna Break Your Heart) were recently included in InterMusic's music library for television and film.

Thomas has a core group of talented lyricists that he currently writes and produces music for, along with many artists. Most of the songs he produces are available to all of his artists. For example, if a lyric writer pays Thomas to write and produce a song, Thomas makes the music tracks available for free to all of the singers he works with. The same music tracks may likely be recorded by five or six different singers seeking record deals. As far as Thomas and his writers are concerned, whoever makes the song famous first has their blessing.

Thomas can write and produce custom songs for specific projects/artists. Thomas' writers often fund production for custom songs if they like the project.

Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA.

Vocal Coaches