NoVA Musician Sees the Light

Northern Virginia will be the nexus of this decade’s popular music.

Northern Virginia will be the nexus of this decade’s popular music.

By Matt Basheda

Courtesy of Joe Portnoy

Tiffany Thompson, the 25-year-old Alexandria native who recently released “We Are the Dreamers,” is ready to lead the charge of music in Northern Virginia.

Thompson’s music holds the banner of a new generation, a generation that celebrates a joyous present and anticipates an enlightened future. Anger and dissatisfaction are now so commonplace that they attract little attention, and cause even less provocation—they have no place in this wise new world.

Instead, Thompson’s textured voice—part crooner, part folkstress—sings of golden dreams and sculpts broken spirits into polished songs of beauty.

“I don’t really make [music] just for myself,” she says. “I really love relationships and connecting with people.”

Her onstage performance is the true source of her musical power. Her eyes put spotlights on the audience. She chats with the crowd, and by the end of a 30-minute set, wins them over without a struggle. She sways with her guitar in a passionate waltz, her smile explodes and the truth becomes obvious—Thompson believes in what she sings. Not all musicians have such confidence in their own music. It’s what sets the great artists apart from the merely good ones. Thompson carries that unblunted honesty.

Her melodies are pop, but her words are serious, even as they are spirited. Thompson sets glorious lyrics—”We are the dreamers/waking/and shaking/the city that’s been sleeping”—amid melancholy tunes backed with simple electronic tapestries.

She plays guitar well, and adds unique tones to her songs. Thompson even uses partial capos, an advanced trick. But her voice shines above all instrumentations. She slides from breathy verses to crystalline choruses with ease.

Thompson regularly tours across the U.S. on her own, with nary a roadie or even a passenger. But her friendly personality means she has friends in most American cities who are more than happy to give her a place to crash.

When she’s home, Thompson performs frequently from Vienna to Arlington, and in D.C., as well. And she’s passionate about the potential of the homegrown music scene here.

“I’m excited for what’s happening here,” she says. “I think people want to start collaborating more. Seeing this [area] as a base for the East Coast would be really a neat thing. There’s enough venues that it would be possible to build a great local fan base here.”

“We are the Dreamers” is the perfect anthem for NoVA’s long-dormant music scene—always present, but with never enough dreamers to completely rouse the homespun artists who call this sprawl home.

When the city finally wakes up, Thompson will be on center stage.

CATCH THOMPSON: July 28, Ebenezers Coffeehouse, 201 F St. NE, Washington, DC;

New Release: ‘Take It and Run’ drops July 28;


(July 2012)