A few years ago Tristan Thompson found himself on the streets of Victoria moonwalking to complete strangers as a Michael Jackson impersonator.
“I started when he passed away,” Thompson said. “I used to go downtown by the harbour front around Government Street.”
But what began as something fun to do has morphed into into a music career that includes appearances on national television.
On Saturday (Sept. 19), Thompson, 17, will be performing at Maffeo Sutton Park as part of TeenFest, a free exhibition tailored for teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18.
“I love it down there,” Thompson said about Nanaimo. “It is really a great community. I performed there last year and I created a lot of fans down there.”
Saturday’s festival will also include performances by Sirreal, Schayde Dame, Kasumi Robinson, D Lay, Kyle Stephen and Morgan Murray as well as a climbing wall, a teen talent contest, model search, games, sports and prizes.
Last April, the pop artist Thompson released his debut album, Here For You to Chatter Records.
The album’s single, Tidal Wave, received airplay on radio stations throughout the nation and in New Zealand, Scotland and the Philippines.
“It is synth-pop,” Thompson said about the album. “It’s got a bit of edge to it.”
Thompson has previously been featured on CityTV’s Breakfast Television as well as on YTV’s The Zone.
“YTV was a really big thing because I always watched it as a kid. Going on the set was a childhood dream,” Thompson said.
The Victoria native was also named as a Future Star by Bell Media.
“Bell Media’s Future Star really helped me with radio,” Thompson said. “It got people to know the sound of my music and to know who I am.”
Since Thompson is under the drinking age, performing in venues in Victoria can be a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, the Internet and social media have picked up slack and helped Thompson to gain exposure in places such as Italy.
“That’s where the internet really helps,” Thompson said. “I think the biggest fan base I’ve got is in Italy. I’ve got a whole group of fans there and they are really supportive.”
When it comes to social media use, Thompson says he enjoys Instagram the most.
“I like the format of it,” he said. “It is a cool way to express my style through photos … I love using filters.”
Thompson is currently working towards a new record, but is tight-lipped on the subject.
“I can’t say too much,” Thompson said. “I can tell you that the vibe that we are going for is alternative.”
TeenFest begins at noon. The event is free. For more information, please visit www.teenfest.ca. For additional information on Thompson, please visit www.tristanthompsononline.com. You can also follow him on Instagram at @tristanthompsonofficial.