The song everybody is listening to

2020-01-27 15:24
This is the song most South Africans know.

You’re bound to recognise it: the song that’s playing almost every time you switch the radio on; the catchy tune you find yourself mindlessly whistling; the hit that’s on repeat on your playlist. What’s the story behind the song that was almost never recorded, and the young 19-year-old busker who wrote it?

She started out singing on the streets in Byron Bay, Australia. When people stopped to listen, they didn’t leave in a hurry and she was soon drawing the crowds.

Toni Watson’s lucky break came when she was spotted by Jackson Walkden-Brown, a music lawyer, who was blown away by her talent. It wasn’t long before she linked up with Lemon Tree Music and released Johnny Run Away. 18 months later, her recording career took off.

Despite one of her managers warning Toni, known professionally as Tones and I, that Dance Monkey may not be a big track like her debut single Johnny Run Away, she proved him wrong.

Toni told Billboard during an interview, “[He] said, ‘Oh, Tones – what happened with Johnny was a freak thing. Don’t expect it [to happen again].’ He even said, ‘I think Dance Monkey is a really good song live, but I don’t think it’s going to be a radio song.’"

In an official statement to Apple Music for the single, she says, “I wrote this song for the people… so we could all dance to it. Dance Monkey showed me that I’m good enough. I have confidence in the songs I’ve written and I’m not going to change anything.”

Today, Dance Monkey is a global top 10 hit.

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