Artist of the week: Anthonie Tonnon
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.
Anthonie Tonnon was nominated for an APRA Silver Scroll Award alongside Lorde.