NASHVILLE SINCE 2012
Nashville may be known for country music, but step off Music Row and you’ll encounter some off-genre gems, like hip-hop artist Stealing Oceans.
Stealing Oceans, or Brian Thompson, first came to Nashville right after graduating high school. He attended a boarding school that had a music program, the culmination of which included a trip to Music City to see the industry. “I came down here and just loved the city, loved the energy,” he says.
Six years later, his songwriting partner was living in Nashville and suggested Brian make the jump. He was living in Stockholm at the time, working on an album with his brother, and his year-long visa was soon expiring. “I just blindly packed up after my visa was over and moved down here,” he says. “It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.”
Brian started rapping in boarding school. In high school, he became heavily into drugs and alcohol and started getting into trouble, so he was sent away to finish school. “We weren’t allowed to go out and I wasn’t allowed to drink, and so through that detoxing period, freestyling and writing raps was my outlet,” he says. “It helped me ground myself and work through some struggles that I had from experiences at home.”
“That turned into writing songs and performing, and once I hit the stage for the first time, I became addicted to it.”
The honesty that comes from writing through those struggles remains the undercurrent of Brian’s music. He and his band focus heavily on gratitude and mindfulness of the positive, both in and out of music.
“I’m so hungry for this,” Brian says. “I live for being on the stage.” Some of the moments he cherishes most, he shares, are when fans come up to him at the merch booth and share how much the songs and his journey mean to them. “I struggled so much when I was younger with drugs and alcohol, running away, and I was just a defiant one,” he says. “I’ve battled through that, I’m two and a half years without a drink now, and my life couldn’t be better.”
Connecting that to teenagers in a similar spot ranks highly rewarding for him. He now mentors three teenagers, hoping “to influence them to not go through the things I went through, skip that part to get to where I am today,” he says.
“That drives me,” he continues. “I just want to be able to create a platform where I can reach more kids, tell my story in hopes that they don’t go through a lot of the stuff that I went through.”
Follow them @stealingoceans