Renowned Norwegian singer-songwriter St. Thomas has been dropped by his European label City Slang.
St. Thomas, who has now completed recording his fourth album titled “Let’s Grow Together – The Comeback of St. Thomas”, is now on the lookout for a new record label in Europe as German record company City Slang has announced it will not renew its licence agreement with the Norwegian singer-songwriter.
St. Thomas, who earlier this year was awarded wide critical acclaim domestically as well as internationally for his “Hey Harmony” album, cites co-operation problems as the main reason for the split. In an emotional statement forwarded to the Norwegian press last week, St. Thomas included a personal e-mail sent from City Slang’s head Christof Ellinghaus that described the cause of the termination of the licence agreement: “…the bad news is that we have decided to not continue to work with St, Thomas on City Slang. This has, as you can guess, absolutely nothing to do with the music. The problem is that our hearts are not in it anymore. We have all been going through the ups and downs in the past two years with Thomas, but the problem now is that there is nobody here in the office that gets really, really excited when it domes to a new album. … having said all this, I think this and the next St. thomas albums will find their way into peoples hearts and for that I wish you guys all the best.”
Earlier this year, St. Thomas released his third album Hey Harmony (Racing Junior) to great critical acclaim in Norway. Through City Slang and the Virgin/Labels system, the album was released throughout Europe. Hey Harmony was singled out as Album Of The Week in Sunday Times and The Fly awarded the album five out of five stars in its May issue. A quote from The Fly review: "St Thomas, a former Norwegian postie, has produced a work of heart-wrenching beauty". The X-Ray magazine awards the same release four out of five stars: "There's more to Norway that the denim-clad grease monkeys that are Turbonegro. Hey harmony is a sweet collection of genre-straddling songs that veer from alt.country to yodelling Norwegian folk to the purest of pop. .... Consider him also as a happier Ed Harcourt or more charming Richard Hawley.”
Despite strong reviews, the album failed to sell well, causing dispute between label and artist. This added to past outbursts of frustration when, during earlier phases in St. Thomas career, hectic touring coupled with extensive alcohol consumption led to severe depressions and temper tantrums on-stage. Things climaxed during the Royal Albert Hall final show of last year's tour with Lambchop. From the stage, St. Thomas lashed out against the audience on his frustration with the promoters. Luckily, the artist realised it was time for a change. After having lived in Berlin for some time, Hansen relocated to Oslo, quit drinking, took up football and even got a new girlfriend. The shift of lifestyle revitalised the once so promising footballer. Creative flow resumed and soon "Hey Harmony" was born. Still, it seems as if the past less-than-fortunate events have caused irreparable damage to the label/artist relationship.
In statements to Norwegian dailies and the Norwegian Broadcasting Company, St. Thomas expresses no grief or sadness over the situation: “I’ve just finished my best record ever. A raw, beautiful and 100% pure record.”
St. Thomas’ new album “Let’s Grow Together – The Comeback of St. Thomas” is scheduled for domestic release on Racing Junior Records in January 2004.