You might not have heard of Rosie Thomas, but the Seattle folk-pop artist is garnering strong reviews from the likes of Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR. With obvious comparisons to Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan, Sarah Masen, and Sara Groves, her strong 2002 debut When We Were Small was followed up by the equally engaging Only With Laughter Can You Win in 2003, both on Sub Pop Records. Additionally, Thomas moonlights as a comedian, closing her shows as the accident-prone pizza delivery girl, Sheila. It all adds up to a delightfully exuberant personality—and a burgeoning songwriter who was happy to share her journey with us.

How did you begin playing music professionally?

Rosie ThomasBoth my parents performed professionally around Michigan, and they inspired me to know how valuable music is—how it can change a moment or a heart. I started playing publicly with my Dad around Detroit. I'd walk down the street with my guitar all day and go into every coffee shop asking if I could play, demonstrating on the spot. We'd usually do it for nothing and put out a tip jar.

When I moved to Seattle, things were a bit more competitive. Getting into bars or the bigger coffee shops, you definitely had to be somebody. Thank God for my friend [Sub Pop recording artist] Damien Jurado, because he shared his performance opportunities with me, which allowed me to play some of the better venues.

Were you always a Christian?

ThomasI did come from a Christian background. My mother was very much a stronghold in that, and my father as well. But I didn't fully understand God and have that friendship until I was 20 or so. I was at a time in my life where I didn't know what to do with myself, so I accompanied a friend on her drive to school ...

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