Defiant Tones ‘strong’ in the face of bullies
Pop gamechanger Tones and I has claimed another historic milestone in her already phenomenal career as she joined APRA's The 1,000,000,000 List for streaming juggernaut, Dance Monkey.
But even as the prodigiously talented songwriter and musician celebrated her success on Monday, she braced herself for an onslaught of bullying.
The young artist has been subjected to a vile torrent of online abuse after each of her significant achievements, from her record-breaking 24-week run at No. 1 on the ARIA charts to reaching the top 4 of the 2020 Hottest 100.
Dance Monkey has been streamed more than two billion times on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube and she remains one of the most popular artists on our festival stages, drawing huge support from fans during her Laneway Festival performances this week.
But the haters have been relentless and Tones said it is time Australia plucked the tall poppy syndrome out of its psyche for good and stopped targeting successful female pop artists.
"Everyone can see it, other artists bring it up to me all the time, my family, my friends see it. How bad does it have to get? Leave me alone now, please," she said.
"(All) for releasing a song I wrote in my wardrobe. I can't control the radio playing it every day, as soon as you release a song it's out of your hands.
"I'm the one who has to hear it more than anyone, I have to play it for the rest of my life so get over it, stop hating and go be nice to someone you actually do like instead of focusing on hating on someone you don't."
Tones said she has gained strength from the "good people" who have shown their support at her live gigs and challenged the haters online - only to be bullied themselves - and remains fiercely determined to serve as an example of how to combat the social media scourge.
She said had written dozens of responses to trolls but deleted them.
"It shows me how strong I am, there's been so many times I've written things and then deleted it. I am getting stronger every day, and it's fine," she said.
"What my music is right now has done so much for me and I wouldn't change it, I wouldn't change the songs or anything I've done on my musical journey.
"It's gotten me not only where I wanted to be but tenfold and the only people that got me there was Australia, so I need to remember that."
And then there is the love from all around the world as Dance Monkey inspires thousands of cover tributes. And some truly bonkers versions.
"I see all the tags, from all different countries and different cultures enjoying that song," she said.
"I have had everything under the sun, every single way you could possibly cover that song, with a saxophone, with a violin, riding on a horse, I've seen it. There was a video of 200 Muslim women doing an aerobics dance to my song.
"There are so many Japanese people making up dances to that song."
APRA CEO Dean Ormston said Tones' achievement with Dance Monkey was also historic in that it was a song she wrote entirely on her own, a rarity in the modern pop game.
"The reason for this award is to signal the importance of the songwriter, who is sometimes behind-the-scenes. Tones' talent is incredible: she's the artist and the person behind-the-scenes with a song she wrote one hundred per cent herself. Her career is just beginning," he said.
As she joins the elite club of Australian artists who have reached the billion streams club including Flume, Dean Lewis, Troye Sivan and Starley, Tones is readying to release her next batch of new songs.
"In three weeks I will release two songs from the album and then drop another one a month later and then the whole album," she said.
"There's a song about my childhood and then there's a song about how I felt after all of this happened, everything, every aspect of it and how it made me feel. It's called You Can't Be Happy All The Time and I finished that one two weeks ago."
The Laneway Festival continues this week, hitting Hart's Mill, Port Adelaide on Friday, Footscray Park in Melbourne on Saturday and Esplanade Reserve and West End in Fremantle on Sunday.