Artist of the week: An­thonie Ton­non

Central Leader - - WHAT’S ON - HUGH COLLINS

Writ­ing songs about sup­pos­edly mun­dane top­ics has paid off for An­thonie Ton­non.

The Auckland song­writer said his lat­est al­bum Suc­ces­sor was a ve­hi­cle to de­velop short sto­ries.

Re­leased in 2015 it has a track about wa­ter man­age­ment in Can­ter­bury en­ti­tled Wa­ter Un­der­ground.

The song went on to make the top five con­tenders in 2015’s APRA Sil­ver Scroll Award along­side Lorde and ris­ing New Zealand coun­try/folk singer Mar­lon Wil­liams.

The Sil­ver Scroll Award is New Zealand’s premier song­writ­ing prize and has been won by the likes of Dave Dobyn and Bic Runga.

While Ton­non said his lyrics are his strong point, they’re still ‘‘bloody dif­fi­cult’’.

‘‘They’re even harder when you’re very picky about them,’’ the Herne Bay res­i­dent said.

‘‘If I can’t find the right lyric for a song I’ll just throw the whole song away, even if the mu­sic is re­ally good.’’

Orig­i­nally from Dunedin, Ton­non loves to write about char­ac­ters. One song in par­tic­u­lar, A Friend from Ar­gentina, is about a co­caine dealer liv­ing in Pon­sonby. ‘‘The song to me starts to feel like it’s got some­thing to hold onto when you de­velop a strong sense of a char­ac­ter in it.’’

Mov­ing to Auckland in 2010, he said he’s now reached a point where he only needs to work a non-mu­sic re­lated job one a day a week.

De­spite this he never had big dreams as a teenager, grow­ing up in what he de­scribes as a work­ing class Dunedin fam­ily.

Yet with two full length al­bums be­hind him he now spends roughly three months of the year on the road tour­ing around the world. But this doesn’t im­ply a glam­orous life­style - rather some­thing he can make work be­cause he tours solo, he said.

‘‘I be­lieve you can be a mu­si­cian and have a sta­ble life and you can work things around it,’’ Ton­non said. Some of the con­cep­tions about mu­si­cians us­ing drugs, be­ing dirt poor and hav­ing no sta­bil­ity needed to change, he said. ‘‘I’m just a guy whose job is to write in­ter­est­ing mu­sic and then find a way to put that out into the world while giv­ing me em­ploy­ment. Apart from the fact that I need to travel a lot, it should be a nor­mal life.’’ Ton­non is now work­ing on his third full length al­bum.

SUP­PLIED

An­thonie Ton­non was nom­i­nated for an APRA Sil­ver Scroll Award along­side Lorde.

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