Having already opened for Sia and Charlie XCX, Theia is an alt-pop powerhouse on a mission to show the world just how her music should go down! Coming from New Zealand, Theia (also known by her real name of Em-Haley Walker) has already teamed up with female identifying and non-binary influencers from around the world in the music video for her new single ‘I’m Not Your Princess’. We spoke to her about her new single and how importing it is today that we are still encouraging the world to keep up with feminism.
So, tell us about you and your music?
I’m an artist from New Zealand. If I had to give my music a label, I’d call it alt-pop. I write my own songs and have worked with some incredible producers since I began my career in music, including Sydney-based Liam Quinn who produced my latest single ‘Not Your Princess’ and LA-based Tony Buchen who produced ‘Bye Bye’.
What was your first thought this morning?
It’s Sunday. Yay!! Day off. I can’t wait to chill.
What are you most in love with right now?
My fans! The love they have shown me with the ‘Not Your Princess’ release has just been so heart-warming. People have sent in videos of them singing along to the song; they’ve made fan art and their own music videos. It’s been so amazing and it’s also so much fun to be able to engage directly with them on Instagram. I am truly thankful for their kind words and the ongoing encouragement they give me.
Tell us something about you that is weird?
Hmmmmm. That would involve revealing my deepest, darkest secrets and no-one wants to know those! Ha ha!
You are from New Zealand, what is that like?
New Zealand is a great country. But it’s also very small - with around 4 million people. It means you can’t tour constantly, as you’d be playing to the same people over and over and they’d probably get sick of you. Ha ha. But it is a beautiful place and I’m thankful for having grown up in NZ.
Tell us about your new single, Not Your Princess?
Not Your Princess is a sassy song that’s in keeping with the vibe of some of my previous singles like ‘Candy’ and ‘Bye Bye’. There are some pretty cutting lyrics in there, sweet and sour melodies and a gritty soundscape of epic bass and crisp 808s.
What message are you trying to get across in your music?
I don’t necessarily set out to convey a message in my music. I just write about what I’m feeling or experiencing at any given time. That said most of my recent releases have all been empowering songs, with loads of attitude and bass! Made to be played very loud! For me they’re all songs about strength and being yourself. The other songs on my upcoming EP - also called NOT YOUR PRINCESS (which haven’t yet been heard) are different again.
The video involves so many great women in there from artist Frances Canon to influencer Celestina Tiew. How did you get involved with working with all of these women?
They’re all female identifying/nb creatives, artists and influencers whom I admire. Badass babes just doing their thing in their respective fields and smashing it. I reached out to each of them through social media or email and told them what I wanted to do; invited them to take part and they came back to me with videos of them dancing and singing to the song. It was such an amazing project to work on.
In your video, everyone is singing to the camera, reflecting massively on today's social media culture. Why did you choose to make your video like this?'
Initially I only planned on making just the one video, which is the official video featuring me in my room singing into a camera/laptop and my phone. I decided on this concept because I’d been reflecting on the great expense and time that goes into making music videos for artists such as myself, who are not exactly rolling in cash. I didn’t want to go into great debt making a big budget music video. So, I decided to make it in my room, which is where I make most of my music and where I feel happy and relaxed. I then decided to invite others to do the same - to just film themselves doing whatever they wanted, while listening to the song, in the comfort of their own spaces. I’m acutely aware of the fact that we’re all consuming content through our phones and laptops now, so the video is also a bit of a play on that. And, who doesn’t love bouncing around their room singing and dancing!!!
You have spoken about how your new song is about empowering women, why is this such an important issue to talk about?
I think the song is about empowering anyone really - regardless of gender. “I am not your princess, stay out of my business” is a statement about taking control and doing things on my terms. It can apply to so many situations and circumstances. But yes, it does lend itself to being something of a ‘gurl power’ anthem, particularly because it was released around the time of International Women’s Day and hence the amazing badass babes who appear in the video. It is an important issue to talk about because it’s about being heard, about being visible and about continuing to push against the challenges we face on the daily.
And how does it make you feel that in 2019 we are still having to talk about this?
It’s frustrating. I don’t tend to read the comments on certain social media platforms because it can be pretty upsetting. But I did spot one or two, which were so disappointing. For instance, a person commented praising the song for its strong theme of female empowerment. Someone responded with: “no one cares you guys are just objects”. I mean, wow. That’s what we’re dealing with. And that’s just one example. So, hell yes, this is an important issue to talk about. And when there are people sitting around trolling sites, who think it’s ok to write ish like that - even if they think it’s a joke - I’m pretty sure I’ll be talking about it for the rest of my life.
What other important issues today do you think we need to be talking about?
Inclusivity. Full stop!
You have also opened for Sia and Charli XCX, how did those gigs come about?
Sia, Charli and MO all played at a big stadium in New Zealand called Mt Smart. It was part of Sia’s world stadium tour. They came here after a big tour of Australia and they needed a local act to open, so that was me! It was an incredible experience.
What would be your dream place to perform?
I have so many. I’d love to play at the Roxy in LA; Red Rocks too! Right now, I’m really loving the dark, dingy club vibe, so I’m keen to play a gig at this cool edgy bar in Auckland, NZ called Whammy Bar. I think that would be next level.
If you could collaborate with one person, who would it be and why?
Oh, I have so many people on my wish list! Let’s start with Sia. Writing a song with Sia would be a dream.
What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?
I am about to release my second EP, also titled NOT YOUR PRINCESS. And I’m already working on new material for beyond that. I’m just head down in the studio. I’d love to play a few shows outside of NZ too, so am thinking about a visit to the UK and Asia for shows.
Follow Theia and catch up with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.