photographed by David Christopher Lee
Thomas Orlina is a Filipino-American, Producer, Recording Artist, TV Host & Social Media Influencer with over 50K followers. He has over 70K views on his YouTube channel Your Time With Thomas which was featured on CNN (Philippines). Recently his music has been featured in Forbes (USA) where he highlighted many causes. He has been working hard to help promote diversity & inclusion and bring awareness to the Filipino-American community, (GLAAD Organization LGBTQ+ Community) and (INQUIRER Asian American Community) along with mental health advocacy.
Tell us about your background? Where are you from and how did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and I grew up in a town called Eagle Rock. I lived in a household with parents that worked tirelessly to provide my siblings and I with a great life. They set us all up for success.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by a lot of recording artists like Justin Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears who have all transformed their careers in different areas and evolved past music whether it be acting, fashion or developed their own brands.
Where did you find your passion for creating music?
At a very young age I wrote pop songs and created storylines for them. I kept most of them in my personal emails and knew one day I was going to eventually release music when it was the right time. My debut single, “Brush It Off” was one that I wrote during my early days in college and I released it in 2021. It’s cool to see how the song has received such a positive impact and made it in Forbes. I’ve loved being in front of the camera so directing and producing music videos add a second layer to the creative process of what it takes to be a well-rounded artist.
You have created two music videos that have been both featured in Forbes. Tell us about them:
For my first music video, “Brush It Off”, I really wanted to make a huge statement. There are many different subject matters that are touched upon such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the Stop Asian Hate movement, mental health, the LGBTQ+ community and targets a wide range of audience members. I really wanted to check all of my boxes of what I wanted the world to see for the first time from my multiple fashion changes, to filming it in different parts of Los Angeles, it was the perfect debut music video as a solo artist for me.I couldn’t have done it without all of the amazing artists, dancers, talent and extras who were involved in the music video process. They say there’s nothing like your first music video.
With Journey, I really wanted this love era to touch on the beauty of being in pure bliss with your significant other and showcase my passion for travel. My partner is featured in the video so that was special to share that moment together. I also loved filming in a private plane. Throughout the video you will see different cities highlighted like Paris, New York and Las Vegas along with heavy choreography which was the goal for this song. I worked with a lot of #AAPI talent for this project which this video was released to honor Asian American Heritage Pacific Islander Month. It’s a timeless track that you can play anytime of the year and the music video also has a very timeless feel. I’m grateful to have two videos highlighted in Forbes. It’s truly a pinch me moment everytime I think about them.
How would you describe your Instagram following?
My following are people who are diverse, come from all different walks of life and have supported me from the beginning of my career. I get messages from people from around the world who cheer me on and send so many kind messages of how they’ve seen me grow as an artist. Those messages mean the world to me.
What would be your ultimate project?
That’s a great question. My ultimate project would be to find the most talented people in the world and produce that show. It would be a mix of singing, hosting, producing, fashion everything all at once. Having it air on Bravo TV or E! Or even a streaming service like Hulu or Peacock would be epic. I also want to create my own line of clothing one day. As I mentioned, fashion is something I truly have a passion for, so that would be fun to explore one day.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on my new song and music video set to release later this year. I’m excited for my third single which has a completely different era than the first two singles. My team has put in a lot of work into it so it’s been fun creating a new era.
Do you have any influencer friends who we should be following on Instagram?
There are tons of people. I love @parishilton’s instagram, it’s always filled with positivity and a mixture of her work. Other friends that follow me are Real Housewives @rhoc_emilysimpson, @lisabarlow14, @heathergay I mean the list goes on in the housewives world. I love them all. Other accounts to follow are my friend Anthony from GLAAD @anthonyramosah, beauty gurus @glamtechstevent, @etienneortega and @michaelcostello.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me means being comfortable in your own skin and having the confidence to be who you are no matter what.
How would you describe your style? Do you have any style tips?
My style is very street meets high-end. I love wearing pieces that are high and low together. Whether it’s a Balenciaga sneaker paired with a simple plain tee shirt. I also love a good jacket and great fitting jeans to hug all the best parts of the body. I’m a big fan of Vogue and staying in touch with all of the new trends and styles that are constantly changing. Other favorite brands I love are Tom Ford, Givenchy, Celine, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
You’ve amassed quite a social media following. Do you have any tips for everyone else? How can we beat the Instagram algorithm?
I would say to do a lot of networking in your respective areas of interest and hit that collaboration button on Instagram. You can truly build your audience by working together and aligning yourself with other people who have a much wider reach.
Where can we find you?
You can find me everywhere on social media @thomasorlina or my official website thomasorlina.com for more updates!