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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Timothy Bloom, Flourishing Into His Own

Aja Dang |
May 21, 2011 | 10:42 p.m. PDT


Timothy Bloom is huddled in the corner, nervously rubbing his hands together. The stacks of silver cuffs that sat so delicately on both wrists just moments ago have since slithered down towards his elbows.  

Noise of creaking wood floors break up moments of silence as Bloom sways back and forth in his black combat boots. 

It’s five minutes until show time. 

“Once I get on stage I will get a whole new perspective,” said Bloom in an upstairs room of the House of Blues in Los Angeles. “I will be in a different place.”

Until then, he is a nervous wreck.  

Two minutes until show time. 

Bloom and his band walk out of the room, past walls covered in graffiti and down the stairs. The atmosphere suddenly turns into excitement as his band members scream and jump around to get pumped up. Bloom remains calm, if not for the smile he cracks before entering the stage. 

“Wish me luck,” he said.

But luck is something Bloom doesn’t need. Over the past 10 years, Bloom has traveled around the world, experienced the successes and failures of the music industry and found and lost love, giving him the personal experience needed to write hit songs for artists like Smokey Robinson, Chris Brown and Ne-Yo. 

However, all these years of hard work have culminated in a career change. He is hoping to make the move from successful writer and producer to solo artist and -- according to hit makers Polow Da Don, Timbaland and Jimmy Iovine --Timothy Bloom, with his refreshing influences of rock, R&B, soul, gospel and hip hop, could be the next big thing.

While artists like Keri Hilson, Kanye West and the Neptunes have made the transition from the back room to the main stage, the industry has claimed the careers of many who weren’t able to make the cut. 

“It’s not unordinary, but it is very hard,” said Kelvin Chu, an A&R representative at Interscope Records, which represents Bloom. “But what I like about Tim is he is a real artist. He can produce, write, sing, and has a show. He is the total package…He’s meant to be a star.”

Bloom acknowledges that this career change is a road not easily traveled, but he has the confidence to believe he will succeed. 

“I love to perform, I love being on stage. Even if there’s no one in the crowd, I love it,” he said. 

The son of two pastors, Bloom grew up with music. Forbidden to listen to anything else, he was raised on southern gospel and played the drums in his father’s church. But “the devils music”, as his parents called secular music, always interested him. 

The third of five siblings and self-proclaimed black sheep of the family had a rebellious side, stealing the keys to his parents’ car to flip through radio stations. This escape from the strict grip of his parents was where he discovered Bob Dylan, Nina Simone and Led Zeppelin, musicians who still influence the sound of a sheltered boy from Fayetteville, North Carolina. 

As a child, Bloom taught himself how to play the guitar, bass and piano. In 1996, when Bloom was 16, a promoter spotted him performing “Ribbon in the Sky” at a talent show. The promoter was impressed and recruited Bloom to be a part of the group Intrigue. Bloom was shipped off to work with the group in Germany a year later. 

The band was short lived but it gave him his first opportunity to write and produce on a professional level and he had his songs on all of the records

“I was always the one in the back,” Bloom said. “I always wanted to be the Teddy Riley of Blackstreet.”

After the group broke up, Bloom, then 21, decided to take control of his career and drove from North Carolina to Los Angeles with his best friend in hopes of making it big on his own. Luckily, his best friend’s father was Mickey Stevenson,  an executive at iconic Motown Records, who ended up giving Bloom his first big break.  

Stevenson took Bloom under his wing and built a studio on his own property where Bloom made music. His tracks made it into the hands of “King of Motown” Smokey Robinson, who enlisted Bloom to write two songs. Bloom was only 22. 

The opportunity not only gave Bloom his first big-named client but allowed him to learn from a legend. Robinson was focused, hard working and dedicated, and Bloom was inspired. 

“I took a cue from him and started to create music every single day,” Bloom said. “Sometimes I didn’t sleep because I was so inspired with what I experienced with him. It just motivated me to do better.”

“My Love” and “Fallin In Love” were featured on Robinson’s “My World (The Definitive Collection),” which peaked at #19 on the R&B charts in 2005. 

Since then Bloom has worked with bad boy crooner Chris Brown and won a Grammy for his work on Ne-Yo’s “Say It.” Though proud of his achievement, his Grammy certificate lays on the floor in his in-home studio.

“I appreciate the acknowledgement, those accomplishments are great, but there’s so much more to life,” he said. 

To Bloom, the most important thing in his life are his two young children. While they live with their mother in Los Angeles, toys and pictures of them are scattered around his home. Bloom talks on the phone with them every day after school and his face lights up as he talks about their weekend plans together.

“I’m thinking finger painting. All over the walls,” Bloom excitedly said. 

His two children were the inspiration for his latest single “Til The End of Time.” 

The song came about after a series of events caused him to think about the direction his life was taking. Twice last year people close to him called Bloom to tell him they had dreams about him dying.

“I was really depressed. If you saw my other place all you would have seen was a bunch of wine bottles,” he said.  

Bloom decided to pick up his guitar and free himself of his depression. He called artist V. Bozeman to come over to his house and be with him as he wrote the song.

“The song is mainly about my two babies,” Bloom stated. “If something should happen to me, they would take on my legacy. She witnessed the tears coming out of my eyes while I was writing it.”

An hour later, the song was complete. Bozeman lent her vocals to the second verse and the song took off. iTunes made it the single of the week on March 8, and it peaked at #95 on the Billboard Top 100. 

His manager, Malik Levy, said he was first impressed with Bloom’s vocal ability, but over the past three and a half years has watched him mature into an all-around artist. 

“It was a growth process but I haven’t known any other artist be as dedicated to the performance side,” said Levy. “You can tell he has a true passion for performance, he has a great work ethic.”

Bloom is already 500 songs deep for his LP, a follow-up to his EP “The Budding Rose”. The hard part will be deciding which songs will make it onto his first album, “In Full Bloom,” anticipated to drop sometime this fall. 

“There’s a high level of pressure right now. There’s a record that needs to be done,” said Bloom. “I’m trying to stay focused on that and deliver what is expected of me.”

The crowd at the House of Blues broke out in applause after Bloom’s last song. As Bloom said his good-byes, people yelled for him to perform longer, but their requests couldn’t be heard over the loud cheering.  

The band left the stage and ran up the stairs, back to the room they left 30 minutes ago with a whole new perspective. They were pumped.

Bloom walked into the room with a huge smile on his face. While everyone was jumping up and down in excitement, Bloom stayed calm and silent.

“I can’t believe what just happened,” he said. 

His team was also excited. Interscope executives and agents had been sitting in the crowd. One by one they filed into the room congratulating Bloom on a job well done, shaking his hands and patting him on the back. 

“This performance encapsulated every performance he has ever done,” said Levy. “This will be a milestone in his career.” 


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