Artist on the rise: Singer Theia dishes on her new single 'Bye Bye' and wishes to collaborate with Lana Del Rey in the future
Theia's name may not sound familiar, but the New Zealand singer is breaking into the music scene in a very big way. The young artist has been slated to open for Portugal. The Man on the May 8th for the band's 2018 concert tour.
Born Em-Haley Walker in Christchurch, Theia had her big break last year with her single 'Roam'. Now, the singer is back with a brand new single titled 'Bye Bye' which was out on March 23. We managed to get in touch with the singer to discuss her new single, and also dived into her influences and the kind of music she likes to jam to.
What’s the story behind the name of Bye Bye?
I’ve been describing it as a finger up to the haters, which it is, but to explain myself in a bit more detail - it’s really just that feeling of wanting to rid yourself of the negativity in your life. It’s not necessarily about one thing or a particular person, but the feeling when you've had enough; you’re done and you want to say 'bye bye'. I think it’s something that can resonate with people because everyone has those moments.
When did you first start performing?
I only started performing when I released my first single ‘Roam’ in 2016. The song started to take off, so it was a bit of a steep learning curve - having to get out there and learn to perform to a crowd, without never having done it before. It was pretty daunting but every show has taught me and now I'm so much more confident and able to enjoy the experience. I've played at some awesome festivals over the New Zealand summer, with the most amazing crowds. You can't beat that feeling.
Who are your biggest influences?
I have many. If I have to choose, then Amy Winehouse always wins out. I loved her honesty, her fearlessness, her fragility, her strength. I'm also a massive fan of Björk, who is so inspirational on every level.
What kind of music do you like listening to? Can we have a link to a playlist/mixtape that you particularly enjoy?
Lately, I've been listening to kick-ass female rappers and am such a fan of Princess Nokia, Tommy Genesis and Leikeli47. I am also thrashing Jaden Smith. Love Trippie Redd too! When I made the video for Bye Bye, I made this playlist which I had on repeat for the whole two-day shoot.
Check out Theia's playlist here.
If you had to pick just one artist/band that you would like to collaborate with in the near future, who would it be?
Lana Del Rey’s my dreamgirl collaborator. Lana, if you're reading this, I'm in LA. Let’s do a session.
What were some of the challenges / the greatest challenge that you faced while recording your music?
Being in the studio is always full of ups and downs. There are some days when you're on such a high and everything’s going so well. Then you have days where you're like, oh no, this is so not happening. I think the biggest challenge is trying to find the right vibe for a song. I mean, I know exactly how I want my songs to sound, but sometimes it takes a little longer to get it to that point. Then you've got to be able to step away and give it some space for a bit. It is a challenge, but it’s something you fight for because you only get one shot at getting it right.
Who produced the single? What was it like in the studio during the production?
I co-wrote Bye Bye in Sydney as part of an initiative called Songhubs, where local NZ and Australian artists get paired with big international producers and writers. I was lucky enough to be paired with Mike Elizondo; the legend behind so many amazing albums and songs (Eminem's Slim Shady and 50 Cent’s In Da Club) We wrote Bye Bye in a day. It was such a cool vibe in the studio. Then to finish off the track, I sent it to Tony Buchen in LA to produce, who I had met last year. I knew that he'd be able to stay true to Mike's input - that big rolling bass. And he did, with some of his own unique twists and turns.
If you had to pick one favorite among all your tracks to date, which one would it be and why?
I can't possibly answer it, because they are all special to me. There are some that I prefer performing live more than others, and those are usually the ones that people know the most, like Roam, Champagne Supernova and Treat You, and the crowd sings every word, which is so cool.
What is music to you?
Music is life.
Vinyl or digital? What’s your preferred format and why?
Vinyl for sure, but I can’t travel with my vinyl collection so digital it is. How amazing that music can travel so quickly now.
What do you think about music streaming? Do you think it’s helpful or harmful for up and coming artists?
I've heard and read a lot of different opinions on this and I can see both sides of the argument. I get that for some artists, streaming doesn't pay the bills. On the other hand, it’s evened out the playing field so that acts from far-flung places - like New Zealand - can now have their music heard in any city, in any country, at any time. I personally believe that’s a positive thing. Streaming has certainly helped my career.
Do you have any plans of touring soon?
I’m currently working on new music so I’m head-down in the studio. But I’m definitely working with my team sorting out live shows for a few months from now.
What can we expect next?
I’m just really excited to start releasing some of my new material. Bye Bye was the first of a number of singles I'm planning on releasing this year and I can't wait for people to hear them.