Washington DC

‘Music was my way of staying sober': Musician shares how Elton John's music and personal life inspired him

“Tom’s Elton Tribute” comes to D.C. on Sunday to perform Sir Elton John’s greatest hits. 

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A one of its kind tribute show comes to D.C. this Sunday to celebrate musician Elton John’s music and legacy.

In “Tom’s Elton Tribute,” Tom Cridland devotes himself to honoring John’s classics with his live performances where he takes on the persona of John, complete with elaborate outfits and glasses.

Cridland’s musical journey started during the pandemic when he learned to play the piano. John wasn’t just an inspiration musically but personally too. 

“During the lockdown, I thought, Elton’s music has been kind of like a soulmate to me in good times and bad,” Cridland said. 

When he was comfortable playing the piano, he started performing John's music in public. 

“I just wanted to get good enough at the piano to be able to play Elton John’s music in bars or in casual places like that,” Cridland said. “You know, things just kind of went quicker than I thought they might.” 

Before he started performing, Cridland began listening to John’s music regularly when he met his wife Deborah at university when he was 18. He was struggling with sobriety before he started making music.

“I gave up drinking because my drinking was getting out of hand,” Cridland said. “Music was my way of staying sober.” 

He set John as an example of sobriety because the singer was doing concerts and living a “larger-than-life existence.” 

“I find that immensely inspiring when it came to getting sober,” Cridland said. “It’s like Elton’s music was there all the time and it’s a source of comfort.” 

Not many have the chance to meet their idol but Cridland met John and had a conversation with him. 

“I just wanted to say thank you for being a source of inspiration when it comes to staying sober,” Cridland said. ‘We talked about recovery and he was very gracious.” 

“Tom’s Elton Tribute” will perform at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Sunday night. 

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