Thomas Dolby is one of many artists whose initial success was closely tied to the rise of the music video in the early 80’s. In fact, the video for his hit “She Blinded Me With Science” was actually conceived before the song.
“I begged my record company to give me the budget to make a video,” he said in a 2013 interview. “I pretty much wrote the storyboard for that before the song was even finished. The song was almost like an afterthought. Frankly, it kind of surprised me that it was commercially as successful as it was…I never really viewed myself as a commercial artist, it was just a moment of flippancy which sort of paid off. A lot of my work is very personal and moody and atmospheric. I guess once people got past the commercial side, some of them got hooked on the quieter aspect of my work. And others will just think of me as the guy that did ‘Science.’ I can’t really help that.”
Though he never matched the success of “She Blinded Me With Science,” Dolby went on to release many well-received album before taking a break from his solo career. Among other things, he founded a company that developed software synthesis for online music and ringtones, and has served as musical director for the TED Conference.
In 2006, Dolby returned to touring, and in 2011 released a new album “A Map of the Floating City.” Most recently, he made “The Invisible Lighthouse,” a film about the decommissioning of a lighthouse near his childhood home. Dolby took the film on tour in 2013, performing a live soundtrack and narration, and doing a set of hold hits afterwards.
In 2014, Dolby was named the Johns Hopkins University’s first Homewood Professor of the Arts. In this position, Dolby is teaching as well as developing a new center that will serve as an incubator for technology in the arts.
Dolby has also started to occasionally do DJ sets. For more info, visit the official Thomas Dolby website.