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19 March, 2021

Spreading the light with music and lyrics

ON a sweltering 40 degree summer’s day, a man stood in the middle of the desert, having just left behind his home, his job, and his life in Melbourne, to meditate in the heart of Australia and learn from an Elder.

By Tanya Murphy

He sat and reflected on his relinquishing of all the modern conveniences of city life. No money, no security and no direction - just an acoustic guitar and a dream of something more.

As he plucked the strings that day, he found the rhythm to his rhyme – he found his calling - he found music!

Now a Cairns local of four years, Adrian Thomas is a musician with a deep powerful voice, who bridges the old and the new, blending the influences of reggae, country, and folk music with his acoustic guitar and harmonica to spread a message of appreciation for culture and the environment.

After a tumultuous childhood growing up in housing areas of Queensland and Victoria, Adrian was born into a large single-parent family that struggled to reach the breadline, forcing him to take on many of the traditional parental roles for his younger siblings.

Drawing inspiration from his early childhood, his Polynesian-Melanesian roots and a strong passion for life, Adrian’s music is meaningful, compelling and poignant.

As well as performing, he gives back to the community by running music and mindfulness-based programs for under-privileged youth and drives community building projects for the less fortunate.

He works with Indigenous/Islander and under-privileged communities throughout Far North Queensland and Northern Territory.

Since 2018 he has recorded five singles and has just returned from a self-driven tour of Australia playing in remote (and not-so-remote) communities throughout Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Being blessed with strong radio support across the country and abroad, Adrian has worked with ARIA award winning producers, internationally acclaimed artists like David Hudson (Didgeridoo), Ben Hakalitz (Yothu Yindi) and David Jones and has supported Dan Sultan.

Having performed at multiple Yarrabah Band Festivals, Townsville Cultural Festivals, Cairns New Year’s Eve, NAIDOC Cairns, Tamworth Country Music Festivals, Yungaburra Folk Festivals, Australia Day Cairns, Gympie Muster and more as an emerging artist, Adrian tours the East Coast and into Northern Territory regularly, sharing stories of hope and empowerment, and inspiring and lifting spirits.

Adrian also has a huge following in Hawaii, and due to popular demand was scheduled for his second tour of Hawaii last year but had to cancel due to COVID-19.

Adrian’s last two singles ‘Kuku Yalanji Girl’ and ‘Heaven on Earth’ both have lyrics and YouTube videos which highlight the cultural and natural beauty of the Far North, and he is currently working on a new single called ‘Great Barrier Reef,’ to be released in June.

The uplifting reggae-influenced track speaks about how all people are connected to each other and to the environment and ultimately, to the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef, and calls for Indigenous wisdom to be our guide in protecting the priceless and endangered ecosystem.

“This song’s about Indigenous people’s sovereignty, and having a say in looking after the Great Barrier Reef,” said Adrian.

“Protecting the Reef is not just about ecology, it’s also about protecting livelihoods and culture.

“This song came from considering the question of whether the GBR should be regarded as a living entity, that should be protected by law.”

Adrian is engaging an internationally acclaimed film production crew to work on the YouTube video for the song, which will be his most ambitious yet and will feature community members who are connected with the Great Barrier Reef such as traditional owners, environmental groups, and scientists.

Adrian Thomas’s music can be found on all music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and more. You can also follow him on Facebook and Instagram or visit

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