Twenty three-year-old Arizona native Thomas Muglia is preparing to release his debut album, I Have A Father, on February 25, 2022. Pre-order for the full-length project is live, and with each pre-order, the listener receives four instant gratis tracks in addition to a bonus song "You're Not Done" given on the day of album release.
Produced by Paul Moak (Matt Kearney, Third Day, Martha Wainwright, Matthew Mayfield) and recorded in Moak's iconic studio The Smoakstack in Nashville, Tenn., industry executives have taken note of the American Idol Alumni who has an extensive catalog of over 300 worship songs. I Have A Father will take listeners on the young artist's very personal prayer journey with each song being a monumental moment in his spiritual walk.
Q: Thomas, thanks for doing this interview with us. I have read that you were born with moderate loss since you were very young. How has that affected your music?
Thanks for having me! Oddly enough, my hearing loss doesn't affect my life as a musician very much. I can rely on feeling and practice for that, but it does affect my ability to communicate. If I'm in a crowd or a room of many people, it gets challenging to separate out background noise from the person I'm trying to talk with. There are certain musical challenges of course; I can't hear below or above a certain frequency, and the hearing aids are designed primarily for speech not music, but as I always tell people, it's my normal - I don't know life without it.
Q: How did you work through your hearing loss and begin leading worship and then releasing your own music?
I've been around music my whole life. My mom was a music teacher and my dad was the music director of the church I grew up at. Music was just always the thing to do in our house. When I was growing up, I focused more on playing pop music. I learned John Mayer and Ed Sheeran songs and would perform at high school talent shows, coffee shops, things like that. I always knew I would be a musician but I never saw myself going into christian music.
When I started college at Arizona State University, I got involved with a great campus ministry called Saint Pauls Outreach. Through an amazing community of great role models in the faith, I started to seek out a deeper relationship with God and my childhood faith really began to take root. Around the same time I became the Music Director at ASU Catholic Newman Center (A church on Arizona State University Campus).
It was there that my musical life and faith life really started to collide. I became incredibly excited by the power of music to move people to deeper faith or draw them into conversations with God. My Freshman year of college, I started writing worship music and by Summer, it was really snowballing - I was writing several songs a day and I put a lot of time and energy into creating music that would inspire my community to worship and pray. A year later in 2019 I released my first project as an independent artist called "The Return".
Q: You have a brand-new album coming out. How would you describe your style of music?
I would say that my music is very personal, especially the songs on this album. It's a collection of my internal conversations and my own prayers to God over the past few years. It's a pretty diverse mix of sounds and energy levels but they all have a common conversational element to them.
Q: What was it like to have Paul Moak (Matt Kearney, Third Day, Martha Wainwright, Matthew Mayfield) as your producer for this record? What do you appreciate about his input?
Paul is an amazing producer. He has a gift for bringing out the best in the artists he works with. He's really collaborative, easy going, and willing to hear everyone's ideas. At the end of the day though, he cares most about the songs and whether or not the story is being told in a way that's believable to listeners. I really appreciate that.
Q: I was listening to your new album I Have a Father. I love your use of words and how you explore the depth of emotions, what inspires you as a songwriter? Talk about your experience in writing the songs for this album.
I'm inspired by great music and great artists who are consistently honest in their music. On the first listen to a song I usually hear its musical elements (is it catchy, is it interesting, is it fresh, does it make me move?). This is what gets me to come back and listen again. By the second and third listen to a song, I either find the lyrics to be relevant to my story or I lose interest. A great song has both great melody and relevant lyrics.
I try hard to bring out truth in my lyrics. Most of the lyrics on this album are about my prayer life and where I'm at with God. Many of them were written about pivotal moments and experiences in my faith journey over the past 3 years.
Q: One of my favorite songs on the record is "Temple of Stone." Tell us more about this song.
I wrote "Temple of Stone" out of frustration with disunity in the church. In the Gospels when Jesus gets angry, his anger is often directed at self-righteous or religious people. It tends to be about their obsession with the laws when they are missing the point of what God is trying to do through Christ. This song is a warning that even after Jesus has come, we still can and still do make the same mistakes today.
Q: How do you hope these new songs will speak to your listeners?
I want listeners to hear their own stories in my songs and say "me too". I hope that when they hear this music it sparks a conversation with God in their heart.