Tones and I: From Busker to Number 1
The catchy, vintage-tinged tune took the charts by storm, topping Spotify’s charts in 16 regions. From this she has gone on to top the UK charts, and currently remains there for the fourth week running. This is an impressive feat, seeing as she has edged out the other giants in the charts such as Lewis Capaldi, Ed Sheeran and Post Malone. Dance Monkey has also become Ireland’s longest-reigning number 1 single of the decade by a female artist, holding on to the top spot for eight weeks now.
Not since Iggy Azalea’s 2014 collaboration with Ariana Grande on Problem has an Australian managed to top the charts. Even more impressive is that at just 19 years old, Tones and I has managed to reach the top spot without collaborating with other established artists. But she has still attracted their attention, with Stormzy offering her congratulations on her success.
Her success story is one of hard work and meeting the right people. In 2017 she moved to Byron Bay to try busking. It was there she met Jackson Walkden-Brown who then became her manager. She quickly left her day job and began living between her manager’s home and her van, busking and writing music full time. She signed her first record deal in February 2019 and her debut single followed soon after.
Tones and I released her first single in March 2019, Johnny Run Away, reaching number 12 on the Australian charts. It received good critical responses but did not reach the international heights of Dance Monkey. Already nominated for eight ARIA awards in Australia, including for Best Female Artist, Breakthrough Release and Song of the Year.
For those who have yet to hear Dance Monkey, it’s a fun blend of vintage, almost swing-jazz vibes mixed with electronic beats. In an environment dominated by electronic pop, piano ballads and hip-hop, the return of vintage influences is a refreshing twist. And no doubt it is this alternative style that has caught the attention of listeners around the world.
Her distinctive vocals also stand out from the rest of the crowd. The sharp, precise style cuts through without being overly loud or aggressive. Her voice is unlike many others but could be compared to artists like Paloma Faith or even early Sia. In a time where many female vocalists tend to be gentle and light, Tones and I’s distinctive sound puts her in a category of her own.
This also makes her hard to pin down. While her EP The Kids are Coming has a clear sound of chilled electronic pop, each track has a clearly unique vibe. The title track has the notes of Billie Eilish and darker RnB influences, while the later tracks such as Jimmy are brighter and more pop-like.
Her UK tour beginning in London in later 2019, however she has already sold out two of her shows in November 2019, meaning fans will have to wait until February 2020 to catch her on stage.
Her debut EP is now available across all digital music platforms, as well as on vinyl and CD.
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