He’s worked with both the King of Pop and the Queen of Pop. With ‘90s boy band No Authority, he performed on two of Nickelodeon’s All That Music and More Tours, and opened for Britney Spears on her Hit Me Baby, One More Time Tour and 98 Degrees on their Heat It Up Tour. Just last year, he released his first-ever solo album, Songs I Wrote For You, consisting of material written during his No Authority days.
“I make music because I love taking a concept, an idea, and turning it into something beautiful,” says Tommy McCarthy. “Songs are super cool in that each individual can interpret a song in their own, unique way. Music is connected to so many memories that we have. I'll hear ‘Always Something There to Remind Me’ or ‘Africa,’ and it will give me a feeling inside that I don't know how to describe and remind me of a place and time that I can't quite pinpoint. There's something magical about being able to be responsible for those little moments in others' lives.”
Tommy grew up in a musical family. His mom and her five sisters and one brother sang in church, showing off their Southern gospel harmonies. In high school, he joined the marching band and on the long bus rides to away games, a few of the kids would sing. It was then he realized girls really dug his singing. But the idea of singing professionally didn't really occur to him until the opportunity was practically punching him in the face.
No Authority was already together when Tommy joined. He took the place of one of the lead singers. With Tommy in tow, the band toured internationally and played hundreds of radio shows and fairs. They released two albums, 1997’s Keep On and their 2000 self-titled sophomore album, and they had a single on the Rugrats in Paris soundtrack, which earned them a gold record.
Tommy had been in other vocal groups before -- one even had a Motown opportunity on the table -- but until No Authority, he never really believed that it was something he could do for a living.
His mom, on the other hand, for the first year or two he was performing would ask when he was going back to school practically every time they talked. It was only after he played with Mandy Moore at the South Carolina State Fair, and she came to see him for the first time, that she never again asked him that question.
In the spring of 2002, the No Authority ride came to an end.
These days, Tommy stays busy writing new material, booking live shows and creating music for film and TV. Late last year, he released his first-ever solo album, called Songs I Wrote For You. He made a conscious decision to release only material that he'd written during his No Authority days. Many of the songs, he wrote with No Authority's next album in mind. For the No Authority fans, Songs I Wrote For You will feel comfortable and familiar, but still be new.