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Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby Dates

Thomas Dolby Biography

The list of breakthrough innovations in Thomas Dolby's 35 year career is continuous. As an early MTV icon he blazed a trail for electronic music with his imaginative videos. The same year as his own record reached the top of the pop/dance charts, he co-wrote and produced the first ever platinum-selling rap 12” single Magic’s Wand by Whodini. His synth playing and production have graced the recordings of Foreigner, Def Lepperd, George Clinton and Joni Mitchell, earning five Grammy™ nominations. He appeared live with Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock, with David Bowie at Live Aid, and with Roger Waters at The Wall in Berlin. And his self-penned She Blinded Me With Science became a Top 5 Billboard hit, going on to become an evergreen geek anthem of the 1980s that still pops up in Grand Theft Auto, The Big Bang Theory and Breaking Bad.
 
Thomas has created original music for features films produced by George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Ken Russell; he has appeared with The Muppets, and on numerous TV shows from Soul Train to The Late Show.
 
Sought after as a consultant for tech startups and research companies, Dolby seemed to have a hand in every emerging entertainment platform, from laser disks and computer games to interactive TV, virtual reality installations and location-based entertainment. His name is on multiple US patents, and he has worked as an investment advisor for top venture capital firms. During the early Silicon Valley internet explosion, Thomas founded high tech startup Beatnik Inc and co-created the code that drove interactive audio in Java. When mobile phones began to play polyphonic ringtones, it was via his BAE technology, which Beatnik licensed to phone manufacturers to be embedded in over two billion cellular phones and devices.
 
Between adding music to the mix as in-house Music Director of every TED Conference from 2001-12, Thomas taught himself to be a digital filmmaker; and in 2013 he won multiple awards for his groundbreaking film The Invisible Lighthouse, which chronicles the closure of a 250 year old lighthouse visible from his coastal home in Suffolk, UK.
 
Since Fall 2014 Thomas has held the post Professor of Music for New Media at Johns Hopkins University's Peabody Institute in Baltimore, MD. He has recently released his best-selling memoir in 2017 The Speed Of Sound (Macmillan/Flatiron) and plans to release his first novel in Summer 2024.
 
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"He rose during the advent of the British New Wave. But what was he, exactly? A singer-songwriter? Performance artist? Programmer? Engineer, poet, actor, inventor? And if we couldn't be sure, how possibly could he? This is the engaging, emotional, funny and surprising tale of Thomas Dolby -- a brilliant multi-hyphenate on his journey of discovery and self-discovery."
-- JJ Abrams, Director, Writer, Producer
 
 
"Whatever technology does to musicians will also be done to the rest of us -- but to Thomas Dolby first. Professor Dolby's candid memoir is fascinating. Its significance will grow."
-- Bruce Sterling, author of The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things and The Mirrorshadeanthology


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