Imaj Thomas has a special connection to Miami. Her father is ’80s TV icon Philip Michael Thomas, aka Ricardo Tubbs, one half of “Miami Vice.” Imaj, whose mother is model Kassandra Thomas, followed Thomas into showbiz: The Miami Beach native is a country singer who has toured with a variety of artists including LeAnn Rimes. Imaj’s latest single, “His Story, Her Story,” is off her upcoming sophomore album “America’s Sweetheart,” out Friday.
Did you watch a lot of “Miami Vice” growing up?”
“Vice” ended in 1990, the year I was born, so I missed out on all the fun and pastel colors [laughs]. But I have memories of my dad reading scripts when I was little. Also a lot of my fans send me clips from their favorite episodes.
What do you think of the show’s legacy?
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It’s a phenomenon. ‘Vice’ is known all over the world and was just amazing. The stylish cars, the fashion, the suave detectives; my dad and Don Johnson [Sonny Crockett]. The music alone was iconic; Phil Collins, Glenn Frey, ZZ Top, The Pointer Sisters. Guest appearances by Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, Wesley Snipes, Viggo Mortensen, Chris Rock ... I mean, Wow! And yes, I’m a millennial, but I do have an appreciation for the ’80s. ‘Miami Vice’ also has a huge, loyal fan base that loves to honor its legacy.
Did you ever visit your father while he was working?
We shared a set in the Bahamas when I was 5. I did a cameo in a film of his called “River of Stone.” My line was, ‘Hey Mister! I can do a cartwheel.’ It was a lot of fun.
What does he think of your career?
Daddy’s always been so supportive. It’s always a beautiful thing when your parents not only support but encourage your dreams and encourage you to be all they know you can be.
When did you start singing?
I’ve been singing forever. I trained with hometown legendary singer Betty Wright, who’s like an aunt to me. Now that I’m in Los Angeles, I work with my dear friend and vocal coach to the stars, Peisha McPhee. She’s an incredible teacher with such a loving spirit.
Do you have a favorite country star?
Johnny Cash. ‘Man In Black’ is his hallmark song and also a favorite of mine because of the message of change he calls for in society. I love what he stood for and occasionally do a cover of it in my shows.
When you travel to Miami where do you like to go out?
More than anything I love to go back to my home away from home: the ocean.
What else do you want readers to know about you?
That the world truly is a magnificent place where it’s never too late to follow your heart. Contrary to all the pain and suffering that we see in the news and experience in life, I'm just trying to be one of millions of lights shinning to make a change in our society. I also want them to know that when they do what they love, that love shines out into our world and slowly but surely, shifts our consciousness.