Thomas Hellman was born in Montréal to a Texan father and a mother from Southern France. He was influenced as much by the French « chanson » singer-songwriter tradition as by American folk roots music. Hellman writes and sings in both English and French. He was active for many years in the Montréal musical and literary underground. While he was working on a Master's degree in French literature, Thomas recorded two independent albums (« Something Wrong » and « Stories from Oscar's Old Café ») at McGill University studios in Montréal. Both albums were well received by Canadian critics but received limited distribution and are now out of print.
In 2005, Thomas Hellman signed a record contract with Justin Time Records and recorded « L'appartement » (the appartment) his first predominantly francophone album, produced by Jean Massicotte (Lhasa de Sela, Jean Leloup, Pierre Lapointe, Arthur H). French Canadian critics hailed it as « one of the most important francophone albums in recent years ». Thomas Hellman was nominated for three ADISQ awards (French Canadian equivalent of the Junos), including « Best singer-songwriter » and « revelation of the year », was twice nominated for the Félix Leclerc songwriting award, won an « honours » award from the Quebec city summer festival, and was in the top five selection for the SOCAN « Echo » songwriting award.
In March 2007, Thomas Hellman will release « Departure Songs », a selection of remixed and remastered English songs from his two first independent albums. « L'appartement » and « Departure Songs » will be launched in Europe (on Harmonia Mundi records) in April 2007.