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Tones & I

Tones & I im Interview: Wieso wir der Aktivismus-Künstlerin nicht nur musikalisch Gehör schenken

„Kommt an Board oder ihr kommt bald nicht mehr mit!“ So kommentierte der australische Radiosender Triple J den rasanten Aufstieg der Künstlerin Tones & I .Wie wahr dieser Satz ist, haben wir im Interview mit ihr schnell gemerkt, denn sie bricht nicht nur Rekorde, sondern auch mit Gendernormen und festgefahren Grenzen. We got her first-ish!

Vor ein paar Monaten war Toni Watson noch Straßenmusikerin im australischen Byron Bay. Heute kennt man sie unter ihrem Künstlernamen Tones & I und kann ihre record-breaking Songs „Dance Monkey“ und „The Kids Are Coming“ mindestens mitsummen, wenn nicht sogar mitgröhlen! Ihre Welttournee ist (fast) restlos ausverkauft, der unverkennbar bunte Baggy-Style sowieso legendär. So viel Hype, da mussten wir die Chance nutzen, die Sensation aus Down Under zum Telefoninterview zu erwischen, während sie im Auto sitzt und von Termin zu Termin rast.

Turnes & I

Foto: Warner Music

Du hast einen der wohl rasantesten Karrierestarts überhaupt hingelegt: Stimmt es, dass du nach der Veröffentlichung deines ersten Songs „Johnny Run Away“ spazieren gegangen bist und bei deiner Rückkehr nach Hause quasi schon eine Berühmtheit warst?
Ja, so kann man das grob zusammenfassen. Zwei oder drei Stunden danach gab ich schon mein erstes Interview und in der Nacht spielte fast jeder australische Radiosender den Song. Es ging alles ziemlich schnell, aber ich war wirklich happy.

Hat dieser schnelle Aufstieg etwas mit dir gemacht und wie hast du dich dabei gefühlt?
Ich glaube, dass ich es von Tag zu Tag mehr verinnerlicht habe. Am Anfang konnte ich es gar nicht glauben. Aber diese schnelle Wende hatte auch seine Schattenseiten: Seitdem kann ich mein Handy kaum mehr aus der Hand legen und Zeit mit meinen Freunden genießen. Außerdem musste ich weiterhin Straßenmusik (in Australien busking genannt), um mich selbst zu promoten und meine Fans zu unterhalten.

Was genau ist denn Busking und wie kamst du dazu?
Ich habe angefangen Straßenmusik zu machen, um die Menschen in meinem direkten Umfeld für meine Musik zu begeistern und mir eine Fanbase zu schaffen. Mit Busking habe ich lange meinen Lebensunterhalt verdient. Das, was übrig blieb, steckte ich in die Produktion meiner Songs. Zum Glück konnte ich in meinem Van wohnen und für einen Auftritt einmal die Woche an einem Abstellplatz kostenlos stehen und die Badezimmer dort benutzen.

 

Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an

 

little tones had absolutely no idea what was about to happen..

Ein Beitrag geteilt von TONES AND I (@tonesandi) am

Und plötzlich bist du ein Star und dein Leben hat sich um 180 Grad gewendet.
Ja verrückt. Ich vermisse mein altes Leben tatsächlich ein wenig. Viele Leute sagen mir heute : „Wow, endlich kannst du tun was du möchtest“. Viele denken, mein früheres Leben als Straßenmusikern sei so hart gewesen, obwohl sie davon gar keine Ahnung haben. Aber wenn ich ehrlich bin war es bis jetzt die glücklichste Zeit meines Lebens. Ich hatte meine Freunde um mich und die Verbindungen, die du zu fremden Menschen auf der Straße aufbaust, fühlen sich so stark an. Ich bin wirklich dankbar für all die Bekanntschaften und Freundschaften. Ich und viele andere hätten nicht daran geglaubt, dass ich von einem auf den anderen Moment hier gelandet wäre. Die Straßenauftritte waren meine tägliche Routine und es war ein normaler Standard für mich.

Nur wenige Monate später ist dein Song „Dance Monkey“ der meist shazaamte Song ever, du hast über 200 Millionen Streams weltweit erreicht und hältst in deiner Heimat den Rekord für die längste Zeit auf Platz 1 der Charts. Auf welchen Erfolg bist du am meisten stolz?
Wahrscheinlich darauf, als australische Künstlerin die meisten aufeinanderfolgenden Wochen auf Platz 1 in meiner Heimat gewesen zu sein, weil dieser Rekord vorher von Ed Sheeran gehalten wurde. Das ist einfach mega cool! Ich meine, ich liebe ihn aber das erfüllt mich mit sehr viel Stolz!

Tones & I the kids are coming

Foto: Warner Music

Etwas, auf das du ebenfalls stolz sein kannst, ist, dass du deine Plattform nutzt und in deinem Song „The Kids Are Coming“  politisch aktiv wirst.
Danke! Ich wollte einen Song kreieren, der Jung und Alt empowert, zum Aktionismus motiviert aber gleichzeitig auch Wut ausdrückt. Deswegen habe ich für das Video echte Menschen mit echter Message rekrutiert. Klar, geht es viel um die Klimakrise, das Video hat aber auch eine Message in Hinblick auf strengere Waffengesetzte, den Tierschutz, die Plastik-Plage, und auch ein Trans-Mann ist dabei, der seine Geschichte über Jahre hinweg dokumentiert und damit unzähligen Menschen geholfen hat. Es ging mir darum, eine Welt abzubilden, so wie ich sie mir wünschen und für fair ansehen würde. Aber um dieses Ziel erreichen zu können, brauchen wir die Hilfe aller Generationen!

Speaking of Aktivismus: Dein erster Release „Johnny Run Away“ handelt von deinem besten Freund, richtig? Magst du uns seine Geschichte erzählen?
Gerne. Mein allerbester Freund der Welt war die Inspiration für das Lied, das ich im Übrigen vor fünf Jahren geschrieben habe. Es geht darin um seine Coming-Out Story, vor allem in Hinblick auf die Reaktion seines Dads. Irgendwann erzählte er mir nämlich, wie schwer es für ihn war. Das zu hören hat mich irgendwie total schockiert. Weil er in meinen Augen so proud ist, konnte ich mir nicht vorstellen, dass er wegen seiner sexuellen Orientierung so viel Schweres durchmachen musste. Ich weiß natürlich, dass es leider immer noch sehr vielen Menschen so geht, aber wenn die Person dein bester Freund ist, ist das so schwer zu greifen.

Dass der Song dann quasi sofort explodierte, zeugt einerseits davon, wie relatable das Thema ist, hat ihn aber sicher auch schockiert, oder?
Ja, schon. Ich habe ihn aber umgehend angerufen und gefragt, ob ich seine Story in den vielen Interviews, die ich binnen weniger Stunden angeboten bekam, weiter ausführen dürfe und er hat zugestimmt und ist heute stolz darauf.

So hat beinahe jeder deiner Songs eine Message. Würdest du dich als Aktivismus-Künstlerin bezeichnen?
Ja, und das sogar sehr gerne. Denn wie bereits eben erwähnt, bekomme ich es einfach nicht in meinen Kopf hinein, wie Menschen Homosexualität heutzutage noch nicht als etwas völlig Normales akzeptiert haben können. That sucks! Gleiches gilt für Themen wie einen achtsamen Umgang mit Plastik. Dass dafür überhaupt noch Aktivismus betrieben werden muss, macht mich sauer, denn wir als Menschheit haben noch so viel andere Baustellen, die wir dringend anpacken müssen. Was ist zum Beispiel mit Bullying? Und das meine ich nicht bloß im schulischen oder Internet-Kontext. In der Politik sind so viele Menschen, die sich der breiten Masse, den normalen Menschen, gegenüber unfair verhalten.

„Ich bin eine Aktivistin durch und durch, aber nicht (nur) für die LGBTQI+-Community, denn gay zu sein sollte 2019 fucking normal sein!“

Nach diesem Banger-Satz gibt uns Toni noch einen letzten Tipp, wie wir uns in dieser unfairen, sich im Wandel befindenden Welt nicht völlig verlieren: „Legt das Handy so oft aus der Hand, wie möglich. Seid präsent und hört den Menschen nicht nur zu, um zugehört zu haben.”

Weitere Interviews von Künstler*innen, die richtig bocken, haben wir hier für euch: 

Boyfriend Material: Bobby Lies und seine Debüt-EP „not enough”

„Meine Generation spricht aus, was ihr auf der Seele brennt” – Saba über Style, Smartphone und Self-Care

NYLON-Freundebuch: Hey, Emma Steinbakken

Martyna Rieck
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