Australian pop hit Dance Monkey is topping global charts and has spent a record 16 weeks at number one in Australia , propelling teenager Toni Watson from busking obscurity to instant fame. Just months ago, the year-old, known by the stage name Tones and I, was living in a van and singing on the street in the coastal town of Byron Bay, south of Brisbane. Now, her latest release has reached number one in 18 countries including the United Kingdom , France and Germany , as well as at home where it broke the record held by Ed Sheeran's smash Shape of You, which spent 15 weeks at the top spot. Before her debut single Johnny Run Away came out in March, Watson had spent a year playing her keyboard in public, too nervous to speak to passersby between songs. But, while she is now selling out shows worldwide, the singer says she looks back on those days with fondness.
The song was produced and mixed by Konstantin Kersting. It peaked within the top ten in many other countries, including the United States, at number four, where it also became the first top-five hit solely written by a woman in over eight years. In the United Kingdom, "Dance Monkey" broke the record for the most weeks spent at the top of the UK Singles Chart by a female artist when it remained at the top of the chart for an eleventh week. The following week, "Dance Monkey" entered the US Billboard Hot top ten for the first time at number nine, and later peaked at number four on the chart. When interviewed by DJ Smallzy in July on Australian radio station Nova FM, Tones explained that Dance Monkey's lyrics are about the relationship she had with her audience when she was busking on the streets of Australia:. And if they didn't like it, when they looked at their phones they could just click something else; So if you replace [the lyric]: 'dance for me, dance for me' with 'sing for me, sing for me,' it's pretty literal," she said.
But the song’s success is an online story
Every now and then a song comes out of nowhere and takes over the charts, streaming playlists, radio waves, and your ear canals. But who is Tones And I, the teenager behind the tune? The reverse was true for Tones And I , who first started uploading songs to YouTube when she was 16 but found success when she began busking on the streets of Byron Bay in While performing there, the year-old musician whose real name is Toni Watson met music lawyer Jackson Walkden-Brown, who introduced her to management company Lemon Tree Music, kicking off her journey to becoming a chart-topping artist. The track gained its first bit of success in Australia thanks to support from radio stations like Triple J. It went viral around the world thanks to finding a home on multiple playlists on Spotify, where the song has been streamed nearly million times at the time of writing. In it, Watson subverts other music videos that celebrate partying by playing an old man cruising in a convertible and causing chaos on a golf course with crew of grey-haired men drinking from red cups.
I used to work at a surf shop on Bourke Street, which is really the busiest part of Melbourne. And there was like, you could busk on Bourke Street. I really, really wanted to busk. One of my friends was like, you should come to Byron because you can literally just park up and busk out of the side of your van. So I bought a van, moved to Byron Bay and started living in my van. That was pretty cool.