"Never settle for second best"- Q&A with Theia
New Zealand's "new kid on the block", Theia, is quickly taking the music industry by storm with her funky tones and soothly melodies. This week, she comes to Australia to support The Kite String Triangle on their tour through Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne (gig details below). We were lucky enough to chat with Theia while she graced our sandy shores and she told us a little about her musical journey, offered advice to budding creatives and shared a few things that she loves about Australia.
Credit: Jo Rusling
How did you get into the music industry?
I’ve been writing songs since I was a child and although I dreamed of a career in music, I didn’t pursue it seriously until I was older. After university I decided that I wanted to make a go of it and I got myself into the studio. Once I had a few songs I contacted Broods’ manager and he invited me to Auckland to play at an industry showcase. From there I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the right people, including my managers and my label, who have backed and believed in me and been behind me all the way.
When you were a kid what did you want to ‘be’ when you grew up?
There were so many things I wanted to be - an award-winning actress, the editor of Vogue, an Olympian equestrian, a dancer and of course, a singer!
If you could support one artist in the world, living or dead, who would it be and why?
This is such a difficult question to answer because there are so many artists I’d love to support. I’m obsessed with Amy Winehouse, so it would have to be her. She’s one of my biggest musical inspirations. I loved her fearlessness, her vulnerability and her honesty.
What’s the story behind your hit single, Champagne Supernova?
A few years ago I read this book called Champagne Supernovas about the 90s renegades of fashion, the likes of Alexander McQueen, Isabella Blow, Marc Jacobs and Kate Moss. I was really drawn to the juxtaposition of grandeur and glory; darkness and self-destruction. I also loved the idea of champagne being this symbol for elegance and that a supernova is star that shines its brightest when it’s dying. The song itself is deeply personal. It’s a way of dealing with inner turmoil or fighting your inner demons - whatever they may be.
You’re currently in Australia to support The Kite String Tangle. With New Zealand and Australia so close together, there are bound to be some cultural similarities, but what would you say are some of the weird/intriguing things that you’ve noticed about Australia that you wouldn’t see back home?
Well, I know this isn’t a cultural thing, but your birds are very different. Very colourful and very beautiful. And, I got very excited the other night when I saw a whole lot of bats flying above me. I haven’t really noticed any weird things - everyone’s been really lovely and welcoming. There are, of course, way more people in places like Sydney compared to my home town of Christchurch, so that always makes things interesting. Sydney is such a vibrant and colourful place and I’m about to visit Melbourne for the first time on this tour, so I cannot wait to explore. I’ve heard so many good things.
How do you fuel yourself creatively (other than through your music)?
I love to draw and will spend hours working on pieces for others, which I often give away as gifts. I love to read and I watch a lot of movies. I also make sure I get out into nature. I’m based in Auckland at the moment and the cool thing is, there are so many beaches you can be at in less than 30 minutes. It’s so good for the soul and really does help me get into a creative space.
You’ve been described as “the new kid on the block” in the music industry. On that note, do you have a musical mentor/influence that you look up to?
There are so many influences - far too many to name. And it’s not necessarily just individual artists, songwriters and producers who inspire me, but different genres too. So does fashion - that’s a big thing for me and very much an influence in my work.
What advice would you offer to young people who want to break into the creative industry but might not know where to start?
You need to know who you are and believe in yourself as an artist. You need to stay true to who you are and to follow your instincts, because in my experience, they’re generally right. It’s important that you surround yourself with the right people - people who also believe in you and people who will help you to become the best artist that you can be. There will always be those who tell you you’re chasing an impossible dream, or those who will try to knock your confidence, but you’ve got to stay strong and keep pushing. And one final thing - never settle for second best.
Favourite post gig feed?
First thing you do of a morning?
Make a cup of green tea
Best song to get sexy to?
Best way to indulge in your own sadness?
Listening to Amy Winehouse
Would you rather live without coffee or alcohol?
THE KITE STRING TANGLE + THEIA TOUR DATES – APRIL 2017
Thursday 6th April - Newtown Social Club 18+
Saturday 8th April - Northcote Social Club 18+
Thursday 13th April - The Foundry 18+