CHRISTCHURCH girl Theia (born Em-Haley Walker) first made her debut in 2015 with her electro-pop-meets-sultry-R&B track Silver Second.
But she started to receive a lot of attention when her single, Roam, was released last year.
Her melodic vocals on the catchy pop track immediately made people sit up and listen. The single went on to clock more than one million play on Spotify in just six weeks.
She followed that up with another single, Champagne Supernova, as well as feel-good song Treat You.
Theia’s self-titled debut EP, which showcases her songwriting abilities, was released on June 30. It features six tracks that will undoubtedly establish her as one of the new young stars to look out for.
The tracks include her three hit singles, as well as Silver Second, the R&B Everything, and Forever.
In an email interview, Theia (right) answers some questions about her music.
What made you choose a one-word exotic-sounding name (after a Greek goddess no less) as a stage name? Wasn’t your stage name Plum initially?
“When I first started making music, I was working under the name Plum – I made Silver Second during that time.
“But as I began working on new material and started to grow and develop as an artiste, I felt I needed a name that better encapsulated my sound and aesthetic, so I settled on Theia.
“I love that it’s a strong and feminine name. It’s ethereal and a little quirky.”
Does it bother you that people may compare you to fellow Kiwi artiste Lorde?
“It doesn’t bother me at all. Lorde is absolutely crushing it. She’s amazing and inspirational.”
Roam’s lyrics have a strong emphasis on longing to return home. Tell us more about the song.
“I wrote Roam when I had just returned from Sydney writing and recording Silver Second.
“I was about to go into another studio session in Auckland and I was feeling lonely and anxious, not at all prepared to go back into the studio.
“But I realised in that moment that the song needed to be about how I was feeling at the time. I put everything that I knew I needed to hear into the song.”
Your video for Roam looks like a nice plug for New Zealand’s tourism industry. Was that intentional?
“Ha ha, no! There are so many beautiful spots in New Zealand that it’s hard for anything that’s filmed outdoors not to have a stunning backdrop.
“Much of the video is set in a little place called Kawhia, which is in the Waikato on the west coast of North Island.
“The shots of me standing in waist deep water were filmed at sunrise in the middle of winter!
“I was freezing and desperately trying not to slip in the mud, while a drone buzzed above my head.”
Who are your music heroes?
“I have a neverending list of music and fashion inspirations who I admire for different reasons.
“A few that spring to mind are strong, female icons like Rihanna and Lady Gaga. I love their fearlessness. But top of my list is always Amy Winehouse.”
Tell us more about the EP. How long did it take you to record it?
“Apart from Silver Second, which I wrote with Alex Hope in Sydney, the EP was made with Josh Fountain at Golden Age Studios over a period of several months.
“Roam, Champagne Supernova and Everything were the first songs we finished and I had a good feeling about all of them. Treat You came a bit later. I wanted it to be a fun and upbeat song.
“Forever, which is the last track on the EP, was the last one I wrote. It’s a bit of a slow-burning come-down tune, the perfect way to round off the EP.”
Tell us what inspire your songwriting process.
“I find inspiration in everything! There’s no linear process I follow when it comes to songwriting. Songs are often based on my own experiences, then art or fashion will guide me along.
“The songs on this EP are personal to me, almost like a diary of my life so far, but I hope that people are able to hear them and take their own meaning from them.”
Is there a particular track or set of lyrics that resonate deeply with you?
“All of the songs are like my babies, so it’s hard to pick favourites. But Champagne Supernova and Everything are very dear to me.
“I wrote Champagne Supernova as a way of dealing with inner demons – it was inspired by a book I was reading called Champagne Supernovas, about the 90s renegades of fashion, like Alexander McQueen and Kate Moss.
“Everything is a break-up song – the vocals are sweet and angelic, and yet the lyrics are quite dark and cutting.”
Why release an EP as opposed to a full album?
“I’ve been sitting with these six songs for some time, so it just felt right to release them together to the world now – as a short and succinct body of work that wraps up a period of time.
“I’ve made it a self-titled EP because I figure you only get one chance to do that, and this is it.”
When will a full-fledged album be released?
“I’m working on new material and a full-length album is definitely on the cards.
“But for now, I’m focused on releasing the EP and then touring and doing shows – the new songs are just quietly ticking away in the background.
“That said, I’m pretty excited about them.” – The Sun