In our series Local Voices, we’ll be introducing you to locals and some of their favourite things to do in Stockholm.
The multi-talented Germaine Thomas does it all. She’s a performing artist, actor, photographer, professional masseuse, and baker. So we caught up with Germaine to tell us about her impressive performing career in Stockholm as well as some of her favourite places and things to do around town.
How long have you been based here in Stockholm and tell us a bit about your background.
I have lived here in Stockholm for 15+ years. I grew up in Queens, New York City with two sisters and parents who were highly educated and cultured in the Arts.
I was very engaged artistically and musically. I started playing piano when I was seven years old, and later in high school, learned to play the trumpet. Photography and pottery were also active interests. I received my first 35mm camera for my birthday at 16 years old and still have it now. The pottery didn’t stick.
I was singing since I was a child. There was always music in our home and we learned as we listened.
My studies in college included biology and chemistry, business advertising and management, accounting, law, and statistics. I worked for 10+ years with O.M.R.D.D.(Office of Mentally Retarded, and the Developmentally Disabled). I went on to work as an auditor, then an investigator for abuse cases, which lead me into further governmental positions.
Tell us more about your work as a performing artist.
My work as an artist didn’t blossom until I came to Stockholm. I began singing with Consensus Gospel Choir lead by Sun Erkensten. In 2005, I received an invite from a friend to join her in a Music Video with Run DMC (Rev Run) and singing group Liberty X called “Song 4 Lovers”.
In November 2010, I received a speaking role in the film, “The Stig Helmer Story” as Melvin’s Wife. The film opened on December 24, 2011.
In 2012, I was member of a choir for an El Giganten Ad with Gladys Del Pilar and Dogge Doggelito. In December 2012, Consensus Choir performed as the Church Choir in an SVT film, called “Odjuret”. In 2013, I was recommended for and received a role in the musical “West Side Story” at Stadsteatern (Thank you Derrick Walker Jr!). In this ensemble were Karl Dyall, Lagaylia Frazier, and Sanna Gibbs to name a few.
Back in 2011, I teamed up with Mikael Rosén to form the group, “The Big City Poets”. We released our first album called, Life Stories. We continued on, and in 2013 recorded our second album in Mahalapye Botswana called, Mind Journey. Our first single was called, “Big City Poet”. Later that year we decided to do a music video of that song and started filming with Pråmfilm on the day of our CD Release Party, Sept 13 at Galleri Duerr.
In March 2014, we released our video, “Big City Poets”, with a performance at Hellstens Earth Bar Hotel.
Since photography has always been a part of me, these things got combined when a young man named Patrick Botlero aka Risotto Man (VIDEO), wanted to spread his love for risotto with music and banded together a group of Musicians and we called ourselves, The Dynamic Risotto Musical- DRM. We began performing for home parties, while he cooked risotto dishes, we entertained with original music about Risotto, Le Mondine and Italy. We performed for Make Music Stockholm and Bryggarsalen in Vasastan. Later in the year, Patrick took me as the Photographer, and a Journalist with him to Italy to document his trip for a book on Risotto.
By Summer 2014, I met Christiano Can who teamed up several musicians and singers to form The CanJam Band. We had our first performance at The Hard Rock Café Stockholm in October for Shockholm.
In between this time, I began working on my own solo work with Artist/Producer/Musician Victoria Moralez. By November 2014, we released my first solo cover called, “Willow”.
The CanJam band progressed. We performed at O’Learys Gamla Stan and ultimately fixed a standing Thursday night gig at Copperfields English Pub.
In Sept 2015, we went on hiatus and returned after winter. Under that time, we performed for The MaishaGalan, Pave The Way Awards and The U.S. Embassy Independence Day Block Party, which hosted over 800 guests including Christer Fuglesäng, Max Martin and Justin Timberlake. Now, in June 2016 we are performing every Thursday at The Temple Bar in Gamla Stan and will be performing in Vasa Parken later in the Summer!
I continue working on my solo career and am in the process of filming a music video for my single, Willow.
You are also a talented baker who participated in Hela Sverige Bakar! Can you share some experiences as well as your favourite bakeries in Stockholm?
Yes, I was one of the twelve participants in Hela Sverige Bakar 2015. It was an honour to be among such talented amateur bakers. We are all friends still and keep direct contact. Meeting Johan Sörberg and Birgitta Rasmussen was such an honour. When I first came to Sweden, I saw Johan on TV and just fell in love with him, and there I was some years later, seeing him in the flesh!
Before this venture, I started a youtube and Blog on baking called, Happy Food Trippin’.
What are some of your favorite entertainment-related activities you would recommend for travelers to Stockholm.
I enjoy going to Stampen on Friday afternoons for the “After Work” and listening to Derek January “The Voice of Soul” and band. Such a great circle of musicians with a repertoire of music that touches every taste bud.
Bagar’n Hornstull: When I walk down in the train station at night, the smell of bread baking sails in the air. The first time I purchased day-old pastries that they put into packets and sell them for a fraction of the price. Drool… amazing. Then of course I had to purchase fresh baked. Even more amazing. It’s a small shop packed with many tasty breads and pastries. A shop and go place and totally worth it.
Paus Bagarstuga in Västerhaninge. My friends Angela and Shannon hipped me to this place. A plethora of breads, cakes and assorted treats. A chilled atmosphere. You could sit there all day with coffee or lunch or whatever.
What are three of your personal favorite things to do in Stockholm?
Listening to “After Work” music at Stampen.
Spending time with friends at a café or restaurant.
Follow Germaine on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
Do you know any local voices you’d love us to spotlight or would you love to share your voice and your Stockholm with us? Please get in touch.