Obituary

Page, a pop star who became a music executive

Tommy Page performing at the Retrolicious 2015 concert at Fort Canning in Singapore.
Tommy Page performing at the Retrolicious 2015 concert at Fort Canning in Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

NEW YORK • Former pop star Tommy Page, who was closely linked with 1980s boyband New Kids On The Block (NKOTB) via his 1990 hit song I'll Be Your Everything and who later became a music executive, was found dead in New York last Friday. He was 46.

In a report last Saturday, music website Billboard.com cited his friends saying it was an apparent suicide.

A source also told Us Weekly that Page hanged himself, adding: "It's a shock to everyone because he was always so happy. There was no sign anything was wrong."

There was no evidence of anything amiss in Page's life on Twitter when he last posted in January. In a Jan 5 post, he wrote: "I'm working on new music. You haven't seen the last of me yet!"

He wrote I'll Be Your Everything with NKOTB members Jordan Knight and Danny Wood, and toured with the band. The song, off his second studio album Paintings In My Mind, topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1990.

Born Thomas Alden Page in New Jersey, he started his music career as an artist with Sire Records, after he impressed its founder Seymour Stein with a demo tape while working as a coat-checker at the New York nightclub Nell's.

After attending New York University's Stern School of Business, he went into the music business, becoming an executive at Warner Bros/Reprise Records.

He was also an editor at Billboard magazine, where he worked as a publisher, and was Internet radio company Pandora's vice-president of artist and brand partnerships.

At the time of his death, he was vice-president of music partnerships at New York magazine The Village Voice.

Throughout this, he continued to record and tour, releasing nine studio albums and winning a following especially in Asia.

"We are all mourning the loss of our friend and colleague Tommy Page," said Billboard Entertainment Group President John Amato. "He was a magnetic soul and a true entertainer. Our thoughts are with his family."

NKOTB members also paid tribute, with Jonathan Knight writing on Twitter: "In your darkness I pray you now find light! Your bright soul will continue to shine in my heart forever. #RIPTommyPage". Donnie Wahlberg tweeted the same hashtag.

Singer Josh Groban tweeted: "A kind and wonderful man who helped me a lot early on. Helped pick my first singles. He was and is so loved."

Page also contributed to the soundtracks of movies such as Dick Tracy (1990) and Shag (1989), and appeared as himself in an episode of Full House in 1992.

He is survived by his husband, Charlie, and their three children.


Loved by Asia

Tommy Page was a rare teen star who morphed into a successful music executive. Here are five things about him:

1. Teen heart-throb

The singer-songwriter, said to have an uncanny resemblance to Elvis Presley, set young girls screaming with his floppy dark locks and soulful eyes. He was 18 when A Shoulder To Cry On, a track from his 1988 debut self-titled album, made him a star in Asia.

Two years later, I'll Be Your Everything, from his second studio album, Paintings In My Mind, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

2. Asian connection

While he was known as a one-hit wonder in the United States for his Billboard hit, his songs had more success in Asia. He worked the Asian market with concerts in Singapore in the 1990s and duets with artists from the region. Page sang a duet with Hong Kong singer Sally Yeh called I'm Always Dreaming Of You in 1992. He later recorded The Best Part with Malaysian singer-actress Amy Mastura.

3. Return to Singapore

When he returned in 2015, he said in an interview: "Singapore is a special place to me because it was this part of the world that first embraced my music." He was here for Retrolicious 2015 with R&B quartet Color Me Badd and Grammy-winning group All- 4-One.

4. Best work

His two hits have become karaoke staples over time, but he did not find singing them cringe-worthy. In fact, he thought A Shoulder To Cry On was his best work.

"I know there are some artists who get tired of performing the songs they are best known for, but I'm not one of them," he said in 2015.

"Shoulder and Everything are two of the greatest blessings that have happened to me. I always get a special feeling inside when I sing them."

5. Shift behind the scenes

In the late 1990s, he went back to school and graduated from New York University's Stern School of Business in 1997. He has had a successful career behind the scenes since.

Page spent almost two decades at Warner Bros Records, was a publisher at Billboard and headed industry relations at US Internet radio service Pandora. He was also vice-president of music partnerships at The Village Voice.

Chew Hui Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2017, with the headline 'Page, a pop star who became a music executive'. Print Edition | Subscribe