Home Interviews Interview: TONI CHILDS

Interview: TONI CHILDS

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The distinctive resonance of Toni Childs’ voice is unmistakable and that unique vocal style combined with strong and emotive songs, brought her to the attention of music fans around the world twenty odd years ago. Today, her voice is sounding even better (if that’s possible) and her focus has shifted somewhat as she has grown both personally and musically.  

The American born singer/songwriter now calls Australia home and that’s lucky for us because we will get to hear her ‘beautiful noise’ more often and this coming Melbourne Cup Eve weekend, of course, it’s Victoria’s turn with a few intimate shows in the racing city. I spoke to Toni by phone in Bali as she was preparing to make her way back to her new home country ahead of those shows and she was very excited to be playing in Melbourne again.

“We have a new album and it’s really important to have it find its place and its feet,” she explains. “There’s a lot more to the production of this so we’re doing as much playing as we can.” Toni tells me proudly that her band members all hail from Australia. “They’re great and they played on some of the tracks that are actually on the record. It’s really nice to get to play with the people who actually recorded it.”

The album is finished and is set for release in January 2015. “There is a small component to completing it,” Toni tells me. “We’re doing an augmented reality app which will go with the album and the animations have to be done for it.” But other than that, she says, it is all finished, right down to the artwork and she will be performing songs from the upcoming album at her series of shows in Melbourne this weekend.”

Last time I spoke with Toni Childs, she was working on a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a project very dear to her heart: Citizens of the Planet. According to Toni, it went very well and the singer was able to raise the funds required for that part of the project. “We made it over the mark which was fantastic,” she says. “But Citizens of the Planet continues to grow. This is a very big production and there’s a lot of moving parts to it and that is just one piece of it so I’ll be doing another Kickstarter campaign for another part of the production.”

Toni will be making a short film before the end of the year, so people can understand what Citizens of the Planet really is. “I’m going to do it in modules or sections,” she explains. “Because there are a lot of parts to Citizens of the Planet and I don’t want to overwhelm people at the beginning. I think it’s just too much information because it’s a big project.”

Melbourne fans who are able to get along to one of Toni’s shows this weekend will have a small preview of what’s to come when the singer performs a couple of songs from Citizens of the Planet as part of her set. “It’s like I’ve really grown musically,” she reveals. “There’s been a kind of transition and what I’ve found is that I play some old stuff because people want to hear it but I really want to talk about how we grow as a person and as a being and how we all want to hold on to the past and look at it that way so this is really about connecting and I feel that, for me, my music is where I’m at now and my hope is that maybe it’s a reflection of where we are all at and what we’re going through at this age and stage of the game.”

Toni says that she no longer sees herself as ‘just a musician’. “I’m also an installation artist,” she says. “Right after these four shows, I go into a paper mill in Melbourne and I work for a month, putting together these life size animals and sets that are actually for the ‘It’s All a Beautiful Noise’ tour in February/March next year. I’m putting together animals like life size elephants and we’re projecting them on to this map that’s just a side installation that becomes part of the show. Everybody will be given a hat and the hats are being created here right now in Bali. I’m very excited about it because they’re looking very, very cool.”

The singer describes it as ‘immersive theatre’ and says that she is reallyliking the idea of using several mediums to tell a story. “And to kind of get you inside and get you participating as an audience member. You’re part of the performance in a sense. So it’s very different. It’s a very different thing for me and I’m really excited about it and excited about making it happen. The paper mill is giving me all the paper I want to use for free; they’ve created a space at the mill for me to put it all together and to lock everything up and so it’s a pretty exciting time to be expanding as an artist.”

“I think our dreams evolve us and suddenly magic doors open up when we go towards them,” she suggests. “We’re going to go to Nepal and take ‘It’s All a Beautiful Noise’ and trek it through the Himalayan villages and just play for people for free. Basically, I want to perform this album at this one place in the Himalayas where you can see the top of the other Himalayas at sunrise. It’s one of the most beautiful and spectacular experiences of my life and I want to play this album in that environment with my band. We’ve figured out a way to make it happen. It’s amazing. I’m so excited.”

Toni will kick off her run of Victorian dates with an intimate show at Bennetts Lane this Friday 31st October which just happens to be Halloween and the singer is encouraging her fans to get into the spirit of the night by dressing up as their favourite animal and, being an intimate venue with limited seating, she says “There will be an opportunity to share a lot more than we would normally do at the shows. I want to make it really special.”


by Sharyn  Hamey


Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2014. All rights reserved

Catch Toni live at the following Melbourne venues:

October 31st

Bennett’s Lane



November 1st

Substation Newport



November 2nd

Wellers of Kangaroo Ground



November 3rd

Caravan Music Club



For more information on Toni Childs


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