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LI Sound: East Northport's Thomas Priest returns home to focus on performing

East Northport singer-songwriter Thomas Priest is promoting his

East Northport singer-songwriter Thomas Priest is promoting his new EP "Wake Up Call." Credit: Linda Schindlar

While so many Long Island musicians are moving to Nashville for its music scene and lower cost of living, singer-songwriter Thomas Priest is one of the rare ones to move back.

The East Northport native graduated from Belmont University with a degree in music business in May and quickly returned home so he could release his new EP “Wake Up Call” (Priest Music) and focus on performing.

“I loved Nashville,” Priest, 21, says. “But there’s just something about Long Island. I had to come back.”

And even though Priest recorded “Wake Up Call” in Nashville, it still features the straightforward rock sound that he has loved since he was in the concert choir at Elwood John Glenn High School listening to Muse and Coldplay and organizing benefit concerts for scholarships at the school and 125 plants donated as a living memorial.

There’s a touch of Coldplay in the new single “Safe Tonight,” his duet with Lindsay Mac, who brings in a bit of country influence. However, the hard-charging rocker “Distant Memory” bears more of an edge, showing off Priest’s collaboration with All Time Low’s Rian Dawson as producer.

“I was always a fan of All Time Low,” says Priest, adding that a chance meeting at the Nashville airport resulted in Dawson handling the whole EP. “I just enjoyed the whole process with him. He has a fast-paced, great working group of people. We recorded five songs in seven days.”

Dawson’s influence is especially seen on the indie-rock groove of “Ignorance,” where Priest begs, “Please let me go back when ignorance was bliss.”

“I was really influenced by bands like The Killers growing up,” says Priest, who didn’t start playing electric guitar until he turned 13 and didn’t start writing songs until two years later. “But I really did want to focus on my own sound.”

Priest says now that he is back on Long Island his entire focus is on building up his music career and getting his songs in front of as many people as he can.

“I’m all in,” says Priest, who launched the EP with a release party at Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville. “I want to get more performances under my belt and I will always be writing more music on my own. I want to keep putting out new music every year.”

Contact The Long Island Sound at glenn.gamboa@newsday.com or follow @ndmusic on Twitter.

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