Everything You Need to Know About Homegrown Superstar Tones and I

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 27: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Toni Watson, also known as Tones and I, poses backstage during the 33rd Annual ARIA Awards 2019 at The Star on November 27, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

It’s hard to think of anyone who’s had a bigger year than Tones and I. Within less than 12 months, she’s become not only one of the most talked about artists in Australia, but the whole world. Topping the charts in 19 countries (and counting), breaking Aussie chart records and winning ARIAs are just the tip of her iceberg when it comes to her achievements. That’s right, she was the most nominated artist at this year’s ARIAs, and ultimately won four awards. While it may be easy for us to classify her accomplishments as overnight success, the truth is that she has been hustling for years. In case you have found yourself wondering how she got to where she is, or just who she is full stop, we’re bringing you the 411 on our homegrown superstar.

Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Tones and I:

She Paved Her Way by Busking in Byron Bay

Tones and I (A.K.A Toni Watson) was born and raised in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. It was in high school that her musical talent began to flourish, with her not only singing, but also playing both keyboards and drum pads. From there, she began gaining experience by performing gigs around her area and playing at local festivals. Eventually, she decided to take a chance and leave her retail job to pursue busking in Byron Bay. It was clear that she made the right decision from the get-go, as her eventual co-manager Jackson Walkden-Brown approached her while was performing her first set in Byron. After that encounter, she spent most of 2018 living between her van in Byron Bay and Jackson’s home in the Gold Coast. By the end of 2018, she had won ‘Battle of the Buskers’ at the Buskers by the Creek festival. At the beginning of this year, she then signed a co-management deal with Artists Only and Lemon Tree Music.

She Achieved Worldwide Fame Thanks to ‘Dance Monkey’

In March 2019, Tones and I released her debut single ‘Johnny Run Away’. While the song achieved considerable success and peaked at number 12 on the ARIAs singles chart, it was her next single ‘Dance Monkey’ that changed everything. After releasing ‘Dance Monkey’ in May, it quickly skyrocketed to number one on the charts. Not only that, but it eventually reached number one in a whopping 19 countries (and counting). As if that wasn’t impressive enough, in November she broke the record for the most weeks at number one in Australian chart history. Yep, it’s safe to say Tones and I has only gone from strength to strength. On top of her chart success, she has also performed at the Big Pineapple Music Festival, Splendour in the Grass, and at the AFL Grand Final. As the icing on the cake, she also made her US TV debut when she performed on The Tonight Show With Links”>Jimmy Fallon in November.

There’s a Weird Online Debate Over Her Age

Although Tones and I has yet to publicly confirm her age, someone somewhere along the line determined her to have been born in 2000. Thus, her Wikipedia page was changed to reflect her age as 19. Assuming it to be fact, many publications ran with the information that she was indeed 19. However, a rep for Tones and I confirmed to the Guardian that she is in fact her in mid twenties. Nowadays, there seems to be a low-key war among Wikipedia users who have repeatedly changed the page’s information from saying she’s 19 to 26, and then back again. At the end of the day, we think it’s safe to say her success is beyond admirable no matter her age, and that she has a bright future ahead regardless.