Theron Thomas Reflects On 2024 Grammy Nomination For Songwriter Of The Year


Theron Thomas was nominated for Songwriter of the Year at the 2024 Grammys, the only Black nominee in this category. But it’s not the first time. Last year, Thomas was nominated for seven Grammys, even taking home the trophy for Record Of The Year for his contributions on Lizzo’s viral smash “About Damn Time.”

So who is Theron Thomas? A proud Caribbean, Thomas was born and raised in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, before relocating to the United States to pursue music. Coming up alongside his brother, Timo Makaveli, as one half of the duo Rock City (inspired by their hometown), Thomas is walking proof that hard work, dedication and passion pays off. 

To date, Thomas is responsible for a slew of megahits, including “Seven” for BTS Jungkook and Latto, “All My Life” for Lil Durk and J. Cole,  “Man Down” for Rihanna, “We Can’t Stop” for Miley Cyrus, “I Don’t Mind” for Usher,” and many more. 

The singer, songwriter, producer calls himself “Billie Goat.” AllHipHop spoke with Theron Thomas during his last work day before the holiday season, catching up at Westlake Studios in Los Angeles. Read below as we discuss his background, getting nominated this year, wanting to work with Jay-Z and more.

AllHipHop: Who’s Billie Goat?

Theron: Me baby! Just a shittalker man. Love entertaining, love making people laugh. Me and my brother had a record with Adam Levine that dropped in 2014 called “Locked Away” poduced by Dr. Luke and Cirkut, who produced our whole album.

AllHipHop: One billion views… let’s go!

Theron: One billion views! 900 million streams. Almost at a billion screens. We’re gonna have a billion on YouTube, a billion on Spotify. Hit them with the 2 billion right quick. I’m super excited about that, because they told me and my brother we definitely wasn’t gon’ get a hit. We got a super slapper!

AllHipHop: Who told you?

Theron: The music business. We’ve been in it for so long we came. I graduated high school in 2000, moved to Miami. Stayed there for nine months, went to Atlanta. We’re Caribbean people in America, trying to maneuver, pop music. American music. Just how far we came, we’re an anomaly. We’ve definitely been told like “yeah, that s### y’all trying to do ain’t really what we’re looking for.”

AllHipHop: How far apart are you and your brother?

Theron: Ten months apart. We’re super close. We’re Irish twins. He’s a Capricorn. We’re going to be the same age on January 17, then I’m going to pass him on March 13 and be a little bit older.

AllHipHop: Why Rock City? 

Theron: St. Thomas Virgin Islands is nicknamed Rock City. We’re from St. Thomas. St. John is Love City. St. Croix is Twin City. I tell people, we from Rock [laughs].

AllHipHop: Is this what you always wanted? Did you ever think you’d be here now? 

Theron: Since I was 9 years old. I didn’t know I was going to be a songwriter. But when I came to the States, when my first kid was born, I was s### scared. I was 21, like wtf? How am I going to take care of a kid? I used to say, “Yo God, I want to be rich and famous, have super smashes and tour the world. But if that’s not your plans for me, I just want to wake up every day and make music. If you can make it so I could do that, you won’t hear no complaints out of me.” I wake up every day and make music, so I have nothing to complain about.

AllHipHop: When did you fall in love with music?

Theron: I’ve always loved music. As a little kid, my parents would play Hip Hop and R&B. They had a little vinyl at the house they’d play. But when I fell in love like I want to do this, I want to sing myself: Kris Kross baby. Jermaine Dupri and Kris Kross, when I saw the ”Jump” video. They were kids. I was a kid like wait a minute, I could do that. Aw s###, y’all crazy! Since then, I’ve had a bullseye vision on it, lazered in and I’ve never let up off of it. Till I’m where I’m at right now.

AllHipHop: How does it feel to get that Songwriter of the Year Grammy nomination?

Theron: Man, it feels incredible. Because last year was the first year and I wanted it so bad. It’s crazy because last year, I had seven nominations. We won Record of the Year” with “About Damn Time” by Lizzo, I was so happy. I wanted to win a Grammy because previously, two years before, I lost my dad. Lost my father-in-law. COVID happened, it was a tough, crazy time for everybody. 

When my dad was a kid, he told me, “When you grow up, you’re gon’ do this. You’re gon’ do that. You’re gon’  win a Grammy. You gon’ have a hit, you gon’ do that.” I went on this mission in life where ain’t nobody will call my daddy a liar. He was my hero. Bruh, I want to win a Grammy. When I didn’t get nominated for Songwriter of the Year, it came up and I was so disappointed. Lizzo, Lizzo, Lizzo. Did I really get nominated? Then “Big Energy,” Latto.

AllHipHop: You did that song? 

Theron: Mmhmm. Wait a minute, did I just get nominated seven times. What is going on? We won Record of the Year, I was super grateful. I really, really wanted Songwriter of the Year. This year, I thought I wasn’t gonna get it. I was in a studio with a bunch of songwriter and producer friends. They said when you’re doing stuff like that, you gotta campaign. You gotta let people know you.” What? I didn’t know I had to do that! Damn, I’m not gonna get nominated. Well, next year, I know what I gotta do. Next year, I’ma do what I need to do. Because I want to at least be nominated, I’m really working hard. 

Usually I watch the Grammy nominations, I film it and it’s a big thing. I post it. I’m not gonna get nominated, so I went out with my friends and overslept. My publisher called me at 8 a.m. screaming on the phone: “Theron, Theron!” You got nominated for Songwriter of the Year!” What did you say? Oh my God. I’m calling all my friends. It was insane. I literally said, “Oh man, I gotta work hard, because next year will be my year. I’ma get nominated next year.” Then I was super psyched because when I look, I’m the only Black person in the category.

AllHipHop: That’s huge.

Theron: That’s huge! I felt so good. Again, in the year before, shout out to Nija and The Dream. They were nominated.That’s the first time the category’s ever been invented. It’s new, I really wanted it. This year, I’m looking. I’m nominated next to people like Justin Tranter, Edgar Barrera. These are people I’m already fans of, I’ve worked with, that I’ve met, that we’ve talked. I’m looking at them like yo, you see the little chocolate in there. Spice that thang up. I’m super happy and very proud of, of, of what I’ve accomplished in the last year. I’ve been really going crazy. 

AllHipHop: Three things you need in the studio at all times? 

Theron: Lights. Don’t like moody lights. I don’t like them dim, I don’t like candles. I want all the lights on. Water, definitely need some water. And a great engineer. If we’re going to put it in order, it goes engineer, lights, water. 

AllHipHop: Any goals at this point of your career?

Theron: The one artist I want to work with is Jay-Z. That’s my favorite artist.

AllHipHop: Is he even making music right now?

Theron: I don’t know what he’s doing. Again, I’m a hit person. Meaning people call me because “Yo, we want a big crossover song like that.” I can have track 19, end credits. I just want Shawn Carter and Theron Thomas names to be in the same — because I’m truly such a fan, from a kid to now. I want to work with him. But other than that, I’ve hit majority of my goals. If I have any other if I have any more goals man, I hope to be around for longer than they expect me to be around. That’s my goal.

AllHipHop: Favorite Jay-Z song all time?

Theron: “Mama loved me, pop left me/Mickey fed me/Annie dressed me/Eric fought me/Made me tougher.” “Momma Loves Me.” That’s my favorite song off The Blueprint.


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