Now is the time for singer-songwriter Tom Ricci to boldly step forward as a solo artist following years in the trenches as a sideman and a bandmate. After the sudden death of a close friend forced him to take stock of his life, Tom is confronting his fears, his aspirations, and his haunting past on his own terms.

Tom rises to the occasion in style with a visceral dose of emotive indie rock boasting the production genius of Grammy winner Ed Stasium (Talking Heads, Ramones). His solo bow, Escape Into Life, is a siren that signals a new era of non-compromised creativity and openness.

“I was shy growing up, but my dream was always to sing and write my own songs,” Tom shares. “In the wake of losing a friend, I came face to face with the frailty of it all. I realized life could end at any moment, and I couldn’t hold back anymore. “

Tom is a gifted multi-instrumentalist with an affinity for diverse genres such as roots rock, indie, jazz, bossa nova, tango, and the singer-songwriter tradition. Tom welds a worldly perspective that imbues his artistry; coursing through him is a United Nations of cultures. He was born in Argentina, comes from an Italian background, and, for the past decade, he’s been a proud Californian. Escape Into Life captures select hues of this vibrant palette, and, in the future, Tom will boldly explore other facets of his creativity and his life journey.

Tom has supported Escape Into Life with tours and gigs in Orange County, Los Angeles, Germany, and Tijuana. The album has garnered radio spins locally and nationally, and, intriguingly, it has become a fixture in the Latin American indie rock market. His rousing and heartfelt leadoff single, “What Are Saying Man,” and its explosive video—produced by Tom’s youngest sister Lu Ricci—has been featured on MTV Hits Latin America and VH1 Megahits, sliding into regular rotation in Mexico, Brazil, Panama, Argentina, among many other Latin American territories. This distinction crested in Tom winning Indie Music Channel’s “Best Alternative Rock Video and Music Video of the Year” and playing LA’s famous Troubadour to support the triumph.

Previous to issuing Escape Into Life, Tom fronted and founded the alt-rock band NerveBloc who issued one self-titled EP. Highlights in the band’s career include international gigs and performances at venerated venues such as The House Of Blues, Whisky A Go Go, and earning semi-finalist status for a 2011 Warped Tour unsigned band competition. In addition, Tom has collaborated with legendary Wishbone Ash and Iron Butterfly drummer Ray Weston, and Grammy Award winning producer Rob Chiarelli. His collaboration with Weston, “Sweet Love,” won a semi-finalist position in the 2008 UK Songwriting Contest. Tom has also issued the swank bossa track “Simply Love.”

Escape Into Life was inspired by some profound unfinished emotional business. The 7-song album thrusts forward with 1990s-vibing arty angst. It conjures the eclectic songcraft and immediacy of acts like the Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Nirvana, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. But alongside those signposts, Tom blazes his own path with a distinct vantage point that includes scruffy anthemics, keyboard-tinged power pop, and reflective balladry.

“This is me revisiting one of the darkest periods of my life. I was depressed, my home life was a mess, I was failing at school, and I didn’t fit in or have any prospects with girls,” confides Tom.

The 7-song album is a rally call to find happiness, take charge of your life, and be the architect of your world. It’s something of a wakeup call to someone who has succumbed to demons and depression.

Album standouts include the aforementioned “What Are You Saying Man,” the galvanizing “Tell Me (Who You Want Me To Be),” and the powerfully introspective grunge ballad “Fantasize.” The stinging “What Are You Saying Man” is a missive for a protagonist who is troubled and uncommunicative. The stunning “Tell Me (Who You Want Me To Be)” surges forward with mesmerizing guitar melodies and a got-to-get-this-off-my-chest sentiment. “That’s really about any relationship where there is a standoff of frustration and anger because the other person isn’t happy with who you are, but you can’t change your essence,” says Tom. “Fantasize” captures the painful environment of being alone in a room, contemplating suicide or some self-inflicted pain. The song’s bittersweet melancholy and direct lyrics are darkly cathartic.

Escape Into Life is both immediate and polished, a rare feat for an album bursting with such raw-nerve emotionality. Much of this is due to working with iconic producer Ed Stasium who pushed Tom and, as he says, “beat him up in a good way.” Superstar mastering engineer Greg Calbi (John Lennon, David Bowie, Norah Jones, Bruce Springsteen, Ramones, The National, St. Vincent, Lady Gaga) added the final golden sonic touches.

Escape Into Life has been a transformative passageway for Tom. He says: “This album is a huge accomplishment. It taught me the values of persistence and self-belief, and it lifted a huge weight from my chest, it was cleansing. Now, I’m done hiding and being nervous. I’m ready to peel back more layers and explore deeper.”

(Bio by Lorne Behrman)