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2020 Wharton graduate Evan Thomas' "Foundations" will address his coming out and his experience as a gay Black man from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (Photo from Evan Thomas)

2020 Wharton graduate Evan Thomas will release his debut album, "Foundations," on August 21.

Thomas, who previously served as the co-music director and arranger for Penn's Dischord A Cappella group, has released three singles on Spotify thus far ahead of the album: “Like I Do” in mid-February, “Cool Kid Rules” in March, and “Foundations,” the titular song of his upcoming album, nearly one month ago.

Thomas said the album "Foundations" will be a “beautiful story” addressing his coming out and his experiences as a gay Black man from Lancaster, Pennsylvania — which he described as the “Bible Belt of the North.” 

“There's certainly an introduction and rising action [in the album],” Thomas said. “‘Foundations’ is the climax, and then we get to falling action and resolution, which have more recent songs that sound more modern, too.” 

The album art for "Foundations" (Photo from Evan Thomas)

Thomas said many of the titles of his EP, especially those at the beginning, have been in the works for years. “Carbon Footprint” was composed in 2015, and he said “Month of May,” a song addressing his thoughts on suicide, was penned over 10 years ago. “Slowly Get Lost” — the hit song of Thomas’ former church church choir in summer 2018 — was crafted over a bowl of ravioli at 4 a.m. years ago.

“It literally came to me in a dream,” he said. “I was trying to write a melody that was a combination of H.E.R. and Daniel Caesar’s ‘Best Part,’ John Legend's ‘Ordinary People,’ and Christian themes.”

In addition to those artists, Thomas said that his inspirations for the album have come from a variety of sources including gospel, Christian contemporary, blues, modern R&B, and ’70s and ’80s classics.

After releasing the album in late August, Thomas said he plans to work with rising College seniors Harold Milton Gorvie and Shalom Obiago on their Penn's Sachs Grants Arts Innovation Prize winning project. The University-funded project, which must be completed by the end of the fall semester, will be a three-song visual EP that will tackle his Black and queer identities “in a more symbolic manner" than his previous work.

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