Entertainment » Music

What Comes 'Round...' :: Tom Goss on His New Song and Video 'Round in All the Right Places'

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Oct 12, 2018

A few years ago, openly gay singer-songwriter Tom Goss thrilled the larger men among his fan base — and doubtless earned a plethora of new fans — with his hit anthem "Bears," a celebration of... well, the title says it all. The driving dance tune was coupled with a fun, colorful video that saw Goss pursuing various zaftig objects of desire right into the middle of a pool party, where he was soon revealed in a sexy swimsuit.

Now Goss is back with a new celebration of plus-sized men with a new song and video, "Round in All the Right Places," a suave, even lounge-like ballad that positively steams with heated delectation for sexy, strutting men of deluxe dimensions. Goss cleverly repurposes iconographic images from the world of non-plus-sized men to show how well similar ideas work for guys with a little more meat on their bones. It's funny, it's hot, and it's eye opening; the sex appeal is definitely on, and there's not a shred of shyness about the hefty hunks who are showcased in the video.

EDGE was intrigued — and Goss, ever gracious, was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer some questions about his new song and the experience of stepping behind the camera, as well as the microphone, to direct the video himself.

EDGE: Your new single celebrates plus-sized men. Is this a kind of follow up to your hit from a few years ago, "Bears?"

Tom Goss: In a way it is, yes. I wanted to revisit the topic in a way that was a less campy, more sultry and more specific. I love bears, but as much as I'm saying "bears are my fantasy" in that song and video ("Bears"), the real fantasy/sex symbol of that project is me. I wanted to make something that highlighted the beauty of plus-sized men. I wanted to step away from [being] the focus of the video, and magnify the things I find so alluring about round men.

EDGE: Tell me about the genesis of this song. I know with "Bears" it was a matter of sitting down with your guitar and the song being written in a flash of inspiration the afternoon before you first performed it. Was the writing of "Round in All the Right Places" a similar process?

Tom Goss: No, definitely not. "Round in All the Right Places" was much more intentional. I've grown a lot in the past five years. I've grown as an artist and songwriter, but also as a sexual being. It's impossible to grow and change without having new insights and perspectives. Over the years I've become frustrated with how round men are portrayed in art and media (if they are at all). I have a hard time finding my idea of beauty represented. I can complain about that, or I can work to change it.

But it's not really about me. I have a husband who is round and beautiful. I tell him that every day. Still, he doesn't believe it. I get it. He's bombarded with images and stories every day about what is beautiful, and he doesn't fit into that idealized spectrum. I want to do what I can to deconstruct these ingrained ideas of beauty. I don't believe our ideas of beauty to be innate, I believe them to be learned. I want to teach something different.

As far as writing, I didn't know where to start. I am not round. I don't have the same life experience as my husband or my friends who are round. It was important that I approach the topic with sensitivity and knowledge. Instead of simply forging ahead, I started texting my friend in Atlanta. He's very sweet, very beautiful and very round. We started talking about his body, the things he liked, the things he didn't. I was surprised to hear what he disliked about his body. I was surprised because I find those aspects of his body to be very beautiful. So I took his insecurities, turned them on their head, and put them into a song. When he — or any round person — hears this song, I want them to hear how I see them. I want them to be proud of each inch of their body. If there is a part of their body they are insecure about, I hope they hear me speak to its beauty, and ,as a result, see their own beautify a little more fully.

EDGE: Why did you choose this song as your next video?

Tom Goss: I had to make this video. I don't know any other way to put it. As an artist, I must always be authentic. This is how I see the world. This is how I see beauty. To fail to speak to that would be a disservice.

EDGE: Tell me a bit about the video's production. You chose to direct it yourself — a first for you, I believe! What led to this decision?

Tom Goss: The more I talked about it with other people, the more I realized that I had to tell this story through my own eyes. I was scared, but ultimately, I think it was the right decision.

EDGE: What was the experience of directing this video like?

Tom Goss: I was so scared for a long time. Then, the night before the shoot I was sitting at my computer visualizing the shot list. As I was doing so I became more and more excited. I realized that my job was simple: Shoot the most beautiful people in the world. Shoot them in a way in which you've always wanted them to be seen. Put your world on film.

I realized this was nothing to be afraid of — quite the contrary, I was given a gift from the universe. Not many people get to show the world their version of beauty. I'm very lucky.

Still, it was hard. No doubt. However, I had a brilliant DP (Nathaniƫl Siri) and team of folks behind me. I'm so grateful for everyone who helped make this possible.

EDGE: Now that you've directed one video, would you direct another?

Tom Goss: Absolutely.

EDGE: What about the men who appear in the video? How did you find them?

Tom Goss: Instagram mostly. I, and a couple friends, put out a blast on social media and submissions started rolling in. It really was a wealth of beauty and riches. I'm so very lucky. There is not a sweeter and more beautiful group of people on Earth. I truly believe that.

EDGE: We see so many derogatory references and remarks aimed at women of a certain stature in the culture at large (no pun intended) — and we also hear about profiles on gay dating apps where people express overt bias against larger guys. Do these two phenomena share the same root? Is size snobbery something that pervades mankind (as in, the male gender) across sexual orientation lines?

Tom Goss: Absolutely. We are taught that being plus-sized equals being lesser than. There's no doubt in my mind. We are not born thinking chubby is lesser than. We are all chubby kids, running around, playing with everyone we see. We don't think about it, we just see potential friends. As we grow older we are inundated with someone else's ideas of beauty, someone else's ideas of value, someone else's ideas of masculinity. We take them to heart and act in a way which we believe society will accept. Unfortunately, that behavior isn't always positive.

EDGE: Do you see these prejudices as being linked to ageist and racist tendencies that we hear about in gay culture?

Tom Goss: Fuck, yes. Same messaging, same learned behavior. Copy what I said about being a kid and paste it here.

EDGE: Let's get a little more personal... Can you articulate what it is you really like about larger men? Do they make you feel safe? Do you like how cuddly they are? Is it something you can't even put into words?

Tom Goss: I love everything about round men. I'm not exaggerating. I love how they look, how they feel and their energy. As a result of this, I feel safe, aroused, comforted, loved, supported and warm. Ideally this song would have been 22 minutes long so I could go into detail about every part of their body, heart and soul.

EDGE: Like you mentioned earlier, you're not exactly plus sized yourself, Tom, and I've heard you grumble about having to diet for photo shoots. Would you like, eventually, to have more curves and more physical heft?

Tom Goss: I have bought into society's ideas of beauty hook, line and sinker. I am in a constant struggle with accepting and loving my body. Twenty years of gymnastics and wrestling didn't help that. I have no trouble accumulating heft. As a result, I spend a lot of my time managing my diet and exercise to stay as lean as possible. It would be a dream of mine to accept and love my body as fully as I accept and love the bodies of round men.

EDGE: I think I heard you're working on a new album — could you say just a little about that?

Tom Goss: The new album is almost done. We just finalized the mixes last week. I'm so excited! It's very different than anything I've done in the past, both thematically and sonically. It's more like chill, ambient synth pop.

I've been working with the amazing Ian Carmichael in Barcelona. We've been chatting and writing, arranging and producing both separately and together. It has been the most life-affirming artistic process I've ever had.

EDGE: When might that new album drop?

Tom Goss: No promises, but likely early 2019 : )

For more about Tom Goss and his music go to his website: http://tomgossmusic.com/

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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