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Thomas Alexander

Thomas Alexander was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in a taxi cab outside the St. Boniface Hospital. In 1955, at the age of six, he moved with his parents to Edmonton.

Thomas was inspired by such musical legends as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Billy Eckstine, and Ella Fitzgerald. His father, a music lover, named Thomas’s brother after Duke Ellington. With music in his blood, Thomas started singing with the band The Patchwork Quilt at the age of 19.

The Patchwork Quilt eventually became The Key. The Key, with its brass section, rivalled the popular Brass Drops band in which LeVero Carter played. The Key was the first funk group in Edmonton and played all over Alberta, drawing from a repertoire that included the music of other funk groups like Sly and the Family Stone, The Buddy Miles Express, Cold Blood, and Tower of Power. Unfortunately, the size of the band made travelling difficult, and the group eventually fell into financial difficulties and broke up.

Several of The Key’s band members joined the rock band The Southbound Freeway. Thomas went to visit this group; unfortunately, when they were set to perform, the band's lead singer was high. After audience members started leaving, Thomas took over the singing. After an impressive rendition of Down by the River, audience members started filing back in. The Southbound Freeway fired their lead singer and brought Thomas on board. The group toured Canada and the United States. They eventually recorded an album in New Mexico and released the rock single Right Now Good Vibrations.

Thomas Alexander left The Southbound Freeway to grow as a musician. He joined Red Deer's Gaetz Avenue Dance Band, which played in both Calgary and Regina. For five and a half years, Thomas stopped playing with bands and, instead, performed on television and radio; wrote jingles for commercials, including one for MacDonald’s; and worked on learning different styles of music.

The next band he joined was Force Major, based out of Seattle, Washington. Force Major played with such bands as Kool and the Gang, The Bar-Kays, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and The Platters. A show band, the members of Force Major didn't record and, instead, toured Eastern Canada and played at Club Etcetera in New York for a while. After two and a half years, Thomas quit Foce Major and left the music industry altogether. Disillusioned, Thomas returned to Edmonton and, for five years, he stopped playing and even listening to music.

He gradually got back into music, singing some jazz on television and for the Miss Edmonton Beauty Pageant and making it to the cover of TV Times. He was then invited to go to Japan, where he was known as “The Canadian Bluebird” because his tenor voice was thought to be as beautiful as a song bird’s. In Japan, Thomas became part of a Las Vegas-style rhythm and blues show. He released seven CDs there, all under his pen name, Rejie. Also, it was while in Japan that Thomas's wife Paulette gave birth to their son Asia.

The Alexanders eventually moved back to Canada. In 1994, Thomas took his country-rock singing talent to the Canadian Country Vocal Star Search contest. Through the contest, he won a recording contract but was told to sing more reservedly—to “sing White.”

Thomas has also sung in Mo' Magic with Irene Cara of Flashdance and Fame and with Florence Larue, lead vocalist of the 5th Dimension. He also starred in the world premiere of Music of the Millennium, which featured the music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Thomas Alexander continues to perform his music in Edmonton, but he has increasingly turned to playing and writing religious music. In 2005, he sang George Blondheim’s anthem for Alberta, Alberta Strong and Free, during the centennial celebrations on 1 September. In January 2005, at the request of her family, he sang at the memorial service for Lois Hole.


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