ST. THOMAS — Brothers Theron and Timothy Thomas, known as R. City, formerly Rock City, made it to No. 1 on the Billoard chart with their hit single “Locked Away,” featuring Adam Levine. The song is R. City’s first foray on billboard as artists, with the song receiving the most plays on the 170 mainstream top 40 stations monitored for the survey by Nielsen Music in the week ending Sept. 27, according to Billboard.
Though they’ve seen success, the brothers have remained true to the territory and have promoted the islands at every turn. At UVI’s “Man Up” conference in February, R. City was among the group of speakers invited to encourage the youth.
The siblings recounted the events that lead to them becoming a success story, which lends itself to the notion of persevering under the most difficult and grim circumstances. They spoke of being misunderstood by producers on the mainland; being sidelined because of their St. Thomas accent, and although they had the skills, it seemed impossible to catch that ever-so-important break.
Nonetheless, even after being homeless, the duo stood strong and determined within their hearts that success would not come, they had to go find it.
The message Rock City relayed to the young men that “nothing good comes easy,” prompted the brothers to ask one of the youth in attendance, who said he had a passion for baseball: “[Are] you willing to be homeless for baseball? Because we weren’t making any money [while pursuing our music career],” the brothers said. “Because if you’re making money, you’re definitely not homeless. You must love baseball so much that even if you were homeless, you’d still want to play ball and you wouldn’t care.”
According to Billboard, while R. City is new to the Pop Songs segment of the chart, the siblings topped the chart as co-writers of Iyaz’s “Replay,” which topped the Pop Songs category for three weeks in 2009-10. They’ve co-penned three other Pop Songs top 10s: Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” (No. 9, 2013), the Pussycat Dolls’ “When I Grow Up” (No. 8, 2008) and Sean Kingston’s “Take You There” (No. 5, 2008), Billboard wrote.
“‘Locked Away’ means the world to us because the story is based on our parents,” R. City recently told Billboard. “Our dad [was] locked up for five years and our mom [held things] down while he was gone, and still to this day. We’re just very happy that people are able to connect with it on different levels.”
The hit single, to be released on the group’s “What Dreams Are Made Of” album, launching on Friday, was co-produced by Dr. Luke and features a writing credit for Toni Tennille, thanks to its closeness in melody to Captain & Tennille’s 1980 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, “Do That to Me One More Time.”
“We’re blessed and grateful that we’re finally getting a shot as artists,” the Thomas brothers say. “We’re living our dream.”