Theron Thomas Photo/Getty Images
In a resounding victory, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands native Theron Thomas secured the Songwriter of the Year award at the 2024 Grammy Awards, marking his second triumph after the 2023 Record of the Year win for "About Damm Time" with Lizzo. The recognition highlights his unwavering talent and dedication to the craft.
The Grammy-winning songwriter was nominated for several notable tracks, including "Been Thinking" by Tyla and "All My Life" by Lil Durk featuring J. Cole. His elation upon winning was palpable, with Thomas recalling his father's words when he was just nine years old: "My father told me when I was nine years old, Theron, you're gonna win a Grammy."
In his moment of victory, he exclaimed, "Let's go!"—a rallying cry echoing through the hearts of aspiring musicians everywhere.
Theron Thomas's acceptance speech at the 2024 Grammy Awards
The roots of Theron's musical journey trace back to the Oswald Harris Court housing projects in St. Thomas, where he, his mother, father, and brother navigated a very humble environment, with his parents working two to three jobs at a time, to make ends meet. Theron's musical odyssey commenced at the tender age of nine, as he and his brother Timothy Thomas (aka Timo) formed a hip-hop group known by various names and finally settled on R. City – a node to his hometown of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, affectionately called Rock City by the locals.
Growing up surrounded by the pulsating beats of hip-hop, Theron found inspiration in the likes of Kris Kross, with Jermaine Dupree becoming a pivotal figure in his decision to pursue music. Their journey evolved from back-up dancing for a local group to becoming the biggest hip-hop act in St. Thomas.
After high school, Theron and Timothy moved to Miami to pursue their dream of becoming recording artists, which came with its own set of challenges. The pair found themselves staying with a cousin’s boyfriend in Miami; however, the crowded living situation meant they had to sleep on the dining room floor with just a blanket for 11 months.
The Turning Point
The turning point came when a promoter from St. Thomas, offered the duo an opportunity to serve as the opening act for Jam Band, a U.S. Virgin Islands calypso band, for a modest $200. This gig took them to Atlanta, where they eventually established themselves in the music industry.
The pop and hip-hop hitmaker’s foray into songwriting began with a serendipitous meeting with then up and coming hip-hop star, Akon, ultimately paving the way for a remarkable career. However, it was their collaboration with Adam Levine, the lead vocalist of Maroon 5, that catapulted them into mainstream success.
In 2015, their hit single "Locked Away" not only achieved immense popularity but recently crossed the remarkable milestone of one billion views on YouTube. The song soared to the top 10 charts in multiple countries, lauded for its catchy rhythm and poignant lyrics. This moment not only marked a significant milestone in their career but also solidified Theron's reputation as a songwriter capable of creating universally resonant and impactful music.
Theron Thomas unveils over 2 billion streams plaque from Encore to his Instagram fans.
Theron's discography reads like a who's who of the music industry, with hits for Beyoncé, Rihanna, Usher, Lizzo, Miley Cyrus, and Harry Styles under his belt. His unique ability to infuse hip-hop swagger into pop music has earned him a revered status in the industry.
The Key to Theron Thomas’ Success
A key aspect of Theron's success lies in his collaborative approach to songwriting. He firmly believes in the power of multiple writers. In a candid interview with Hot 97, Theron emphasized that great music often involves at least five names in the credits. He challenges the stigma around artists using songwriters, asserting that the priority is creating hit songs that resonate with audiences.
Theron's inspiration comes from real-life experiences, and his close relationships with artists foster an environment of trust, enabling him to tell their stories through his music. Particularly, he thrives in collaborations with female artists, noting their receptiveness to his ideas.
As Theron Thomas basks in the glory of his Songwriter of the Year win, his journey serves as an inspiration, proving that passion, perseverance, and collaboration can lead to transformative success.