Tones and I: Local Street Performer to International Success

TonesPhoto Credit: Elise Derwin

From working retail, to full-time street performing, to creating music and gaining millions of streams within a year, Toni Watson has quickly amassed global success. Toni, professionally known as Tones and I, is an electro-pop singer and songwriter who is striving to connect with fans during her rapid rise to stardom. Toni Watson grew up close to Melbourne, Australia, on the Mornington Peninsula. In middle school, she learned how to play keyboards and drum pads. She began doing a form of street performance known as “busking.”

Around 2009, Toni started posting cover songs on YouTube. She started going to local festivals and picking up gigs to perform. In 2014 Toni began singing in bars and other local venues. While working retail full-time for a steady income, Toni decided to invest in her talents in music and pursue her passion for singing and dance. After gaining local fan base, she decided to drive to a different part of the Australia to see what would happen. As luck would have it, Toni met Jackson Walkden-Brown, her future manager, the same night she arrived in Byron Bay, Australia. The two hit it off and Walkden-Brown became her talent manager the following month. Toni spent most of 2018 writing and busking full-time. Toni and Jackson both noticed the growing crowd of people that stopped to listen to her and watch her busk.

In February 2019, Tones and I decided to sign with Bad Batch Records and Sony Music. The artist is managed by Walkden-Brown’s company, ‘Artists Only’. Tones and I uploaded her first single “Johnny Run Away” to the site Unearthed, which publishes music for unsigned artists, during that same month. The electro-pop track was quickly added to the listening rotation and gathered many streams.


“Dance Monkey” was released in May 2019. The song became a smashing international hit. It reached charts on 30 countries across the globe, mostly in Europe. To date, the song has millions of streams collectively. The bouncy and catchiness of the song appeals to the ears of people looking for upbeat music.

On August 30, 2019, Tones and I released her first EP, The Kids Are Coming. The six tracks on the EP are all in the electro-pop genre. “Never Seen the Rain” was the third single released by Tones and I. It is a heartfelt pop song about people who are afraid of failure. With the high success of the three singles, Tones and I announced she would begin a world tour from February 2020 until July 2020.

Tones and I seemingly has the talent and luck on her side as she continues to become an international pop sensation. With the confidence from performing in front of people and wanting to do things right, Tones and I creates the type of music that she would personally listen to with her friends. While the rapid rise to fame is mind-numbing to the artist, she is ready to continue building on her newfound success and is well on her way to becoming a household name.

Written By: Carlton Rolle

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