News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Thunderstorm Artis returning to Sisters for Close to Home 2

Thunderstorm Artisis returning to play the Sisters stage for the Sisters Folk Festival’s Close to Home 2 event on the evenings of September 11-13.

Artis, a musician and singer-songwriter from the North Shore of Oahu, performed at last year’s festival as a solo artist and the year before with his brother, festival favorite, Ron Artis II.

The Artis family and brothers have music in their blood. Their father, Ron Artis was a Motown keyboard player, playing on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. He also created the Artis family band which Thunderstorm was a part of for most of his young life.

“I grew up listening to a lot of the soulful genre and I had inspirations that went a long way from people I could genuinely feel their heart in the music. That’s one thing I loved about the Sisters Folk Festival as well was how genuine all the people and artists are there. They’re the same person on and off stage,” said Artis.

After playing in the Artis family band, Ron Artis II and Thunderstorm played as a duo up until 2 years ago. Thunderstorm had been writing and working on solo music since he was 14, and at 21 he thought it was time to see if he could go out on his own.

“I took a chance on myself and put myself out into the world with my music at a young age,” he said.

Over the past two years he has toured with a festival called Wanderlust, a yoga summer festival based in Squaw Valley. He also toured around the nation on a Greyhound bus and has been working as a solo artist for the past 2 and a half years.

One of his most notable experiences of the past two years, was his time on the hit music competition TV show “The Voice.” Right after his performances at the 2019 Sisters Folk Festival, he was flown to LA to film a blind audition for the show, not knowing if his would make it onto the final cut of the show.

“I didn’t seek out this opportunity; the producers had contacted me to see if it was something I’d be interested in and come on the show,” said Artis.

After he went back out on the road, he got the call that his blind audition would be featured and he would be a contestant on the show. During the blind audition, he got a four-chair turn from all the judges who included John Legend, Nick Jonas, Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton who were all clamoring for Artis to be on their teams. Artis ended up choosing to be on “Team John,” having John Legend be his mentor and coach, until he was “stolen” mid-season to be on “Team Nick” for the rest of the season.

Artis made it to the finale of the show and was narrowly beat out by Todd Tilgham for the championship.

“As a solo-singer songwriter and being on the stage, I wasn’t sure how it was going to come across but it was really cool to see the reaction to my style of performance,” he said.

Artis mentioned how much of a family environment the show had and how much he learned, not only from the coaches, but the other artists on the show as well.

“It really became a family of artists and we learned from each other,” he said.

During the past few months of the pandemic, Artis has been keeping quite busy and making life changes.

“In amongst all of this, I decided to get married and make that life shift,” Artis said.

Artis married Australian singer, Faith McMaster in a small ceremony this summer.

Artis has also been playing small intimate shows in backyards around Portland, living there since May.

“It’s been really nice doing these smaller intimate shows and being able to share the story of a song with the audience,” said Artis.

He has also been writing and recording in his new home studio. He has been writing a lot from his life experiences and about what is going on in the world today.

“I plan on releasing a single at the end of September and then hopefully an EP in November and full album by the first of the year,” he said.

He has also been doing some small shows at a local guitar shop in Portland, Strum PDX.

“I am really trying to make lemonade out of lemons in this situation and have been getting back to my roots of writing,” said Artis.

Artis and his wife have also been working with

Artis is very much looking forward to returning to Sisters, “I am so thankful to come back and be welcomed into that community again,” he said.

Artis was an instructor at last year’s Americana Song Academy and said, “I learned a lot from so many musicians there and was also able to share my wisdom in a class and it was really cool being able to share with people a lot older than me who gave me their respect and asked questions.

“I love how much Sisters has cultivated a community of like-minded artists and people and it is such a wonderful community there,” said Artis.

Thunderstorm Artis will be performing amongst seven other artists during the Close to Home 2 Event presented by the Sisters Folk Festival on the second weekend in September. For more information, visit


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