Contributor | Telegraph Local
From the video “Tones And I nye in Byron bay” in January 2019
Your local radio station has been bumping this for weeks, but you’re not growing tired of it yet. Tones and I took the incentive and unleashed the hit “Dance Monkey” on NBC’s the Voice and its audience. Citing Billboard, Tones and I was the musical guest for the season’s Top 8 Eliminations episode. The track is from Tones and I’s EP “The Kids Are Coming”.
The NBC performance begins with a stripped, quiet rendition of the piece. It’s a quiet, lamenting ballad accompanied by piano.
Then, the beat drops. She stands up. You know this is a force to be reckoned with. You know that this is the new “it” thing in pop. The Aussie singer’s vocals cut through the static of a confusing cacophony of buzzy sounds today. Also citing Billboard, this song has blasted across the Globe, slicing across the top spot on the charts worldwide. It’s still the No. 1 track in 20 territories in Australia. It’s made a 19-week unbroken record in Australia. It’s been at No.1 in the UK for 11 weeks.
This song lives up to its own lyrics. Tones and I has been “doing it all again” across the ARIA Awards the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Her performance has received standing ovations and the jaw-dropped awe of global audiences.
If there was speculation that the song got its power from autotune, think again. It is Tones and I’s vocals. It’s all in her vocals. Even the beat can’t top it. It was so powerful to the Voice audience that at the end glitter rains on the rising popstar.
Every performance shows a different range of it. From the soft undertone of NBC’s the Voice performance to the energetic pace of her Jimmy Fallon performance. In her Adidas and baseball cap style, the performer has made a bold testament of personality. This adds to the effect of the raw unique quality of her voice. There is no one out there today that sounds quite like her.
The ARIA Awards showed her flamboyant personality when she appears on stage in a full faux pink glitter beard and mustache. She swaggers in a dance to match the song’s lyrics and this performance has a grit to it, an understanding of the irony of the words with her own performance. It is as if her performance is a satire, alternative/indie pop’s message to the world of the starstruck music industry. It was as if she was saying, “this is my real voice. This is music.”
There is a story behind the Dance Monkey hit. It comes from the heart of an Aussie busker, long before Tones and I was a worldwide sensation. The singer went on record with DIFFUS to break down what makes this song ours as much as hers.
“I’m from Australia. And I’ve been busking for the past 2 years.” She then details how Dance Monkey is available on her new EP before resuming with the story:
“I think the decision to quit my job and start busking full time_was a decision I made probably 3 years ago, while I was working selling clothing. And on the street, I used to watch these buskers on the street outside the store. And I really wanted to busk, I knew that’s what I wanted to do but_it took me so long to get my permit_it was like a year_ because to busk in this spot in Melbourne you have to audition and do interviews. And when I got that position, it was very hard because it was very busy in the middle of the city and you could only park your car like a kilometer away.” Tones and I described the difficulty she had transporting her equipment at this time. A friend suggested she move to Byron Bay for greater mobility, where she went to busk full time for two years.
“Dance Monkey”, as Tones and I tells it, was born from a dark night of her busking career. She had already been busking for 6 hours when her money was stolen and a drunken, rowdy crowd began to play with her keyboard. She said, “Look, I’m really sorry, but this is it now.” And when she tried to leave, the drunken crowd pressured her with “again, again.” The crowd booed her when she refused.
She then created the indie-pop ballad to reflect the frustrations she and we all together feel with the impatient carousing of the modern world.
The hope_the prayer_of those who hear this song is that Tones and I is not a one-hit-wonder. For the angels singing on the street, for the kids oppressed by the drunken rabble of creeping 2020, this is the anthem.