Over ten years ago, Ethan Thompson won a jingle competition that made him realize that it was possible to have a career in music. Today he is living that career as a Los Angeles-based musician, writing and recording his own songs.
As Alt Bloom, the Whitefish native recently posted âI Believe,â in conjunction with National Geographic’s Planet Possible initiative. In the song, he sings “I believe the impossible is possible together / We’ll see everything the biggest and the brightest and the best,” aimed at encouraging everyone to come together to fight climate change together.
âI’ve been a National Geographic fan my whole life,â Thompson said in a recent interview with the pilot at City Beach. “Bringing together artists and the outdoors in a collaboration, I was delighted to be a part of it.”
The outdoors and music are both central to Thompson’s life. Describing himself as ‘mountain pop’, his music includes messages aimed at getting people out and active, and whenever possible, he also incorporates outdoor landscapes in his music videos.
Last year, ahead of the U.S. shutdown linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson completed a video series called California Sessions that has him playing guitar and singing with beautiful settings in outdoor destinations. iconic such as Death Valley and the Redwoods.
âIt gives me peace to be outside,â he said. “Nature and music are important and anytime when I’m doing a project in the woods, that’s enough for me.”
Outdoor shooting conditions are often far from ideal. Thompson says that when performing “Sway,” his fingers were so numb with the cold that he couldn’t play guitar anymore after walking around the scene at 4 a.m. to catch the sunrise.
In 2020, Thompson released his debut EP Astronaut Complex which racked up over 26 million streams and received features on Billboard. Last month, he released his latest single âTiredâ inspired by the frustration of being âsick and tiredâ over a relationship that didn’t work out.
Even while living in Los Angeles, Thompson made it a point to come home to Whitefish for a few weeks each year. In 2018, his group Ocean Park Standoff performed a concert here to benefit the North Valley Music School where he began his first music lessons. The alt-pop group is known for their single “Good News”.
When the pandemic shut down concert halls and the possibility of performing live, Thompson returned home to Whitefish. He spent months hiking outdoors in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, but he also devoted time to writing his music in his childhood bedroom.
He says he was disappointed not to be on tour after releasing his first EP, but returning home to Montana had its perks.
âIt was positive,â he said. âI was able to spend more time with my parents. I bought a motorbike, which I always wanted to do. I was able to spend more time exploring and enjoying the outdoors. “
The music scene in Los Angeles can be very stressful, he says, and returning to Montana was a chance to spend time in the mountains and write the songs he loves.
âHere I have to draw from my roots,â he says.
Thompson fondly remembers starting his music lessons at North Valley Music School as the younger brother hung out while his sisters took lessons, and mentors such as Toby Scott showing him lead in the music scene of Los Angeles.
And of course, there’s the jingle contest. As a student at the University of Montana, Thompson and his group won the Folgers Coffee Company Jingle Contest. They won a trip to New York and a check for $ 25,000.
âThat’s when I realized I could live this as a life,â he says.