Host Spotlight: Tonia

Host Spotlight: an opportunity to shine a light on our wonderful radio hosts and wider community, be it a new music release, a brand new music residency or simply to champion them as an individual. With a gorgeous Mornings With residency on MDR, we catch up with singer/songwriter, Tonia!

Tonia is slowly but surely making waves across the UK music scene, with jazz-influenced pop rooted in mellow soul. Her debut single ‘Flux’ has already had a spin on BBC Radio 1, which was followed by her debut London show at The Old Blue Last. We find out more about the rising star’s musical journey below…

Hi Tonia! We’re loving your Mornings With on MDR. How did you first get into music?

Hey! Thanks so much, I’m having the best time hosting the show. I’ve always loved listening to music and as a child I was singing all the time. I started playing the violin and viola at the age of 6 and then the piano a little after that, so I first started to write little songs on the piano. They weren’t very good, but I loved trying to be musically creative and like my favorite artists at the time – Lily Allen, Avril Lavigne and Katie Melua. I started to learn the guitar 16, which I feel enhanced my songwriting. When I get writer’s block, having more than one instrument to play can be really useful to work through the problem. I grew up having a few different outlets for music and it was the one thing that came naturally to me.

If you could describe your sound to us in three words, what would they be?

Soulful, Reflective, Honest. 

What’s been your favourite gig to play so far? Dream venue to perform in?

I loved playing my release party at The Kazimier Stockroom in Liverpool. Everyone that played was incredible and it was just good vibes all night. It felt like a nice way to celebrate the hard work that had gone into the release and was a really wholesome evening. The room was filled with such positivity and love, and really felt like everyone was there to be supportive and have a good time. A dream venue to perform at would be the Roundhouse in London. I saw FKJ play there and it was definitely one of my favorite gigs I’ve ever been to. 

If you could collaborate with any artist (alive or dead), who would it be?

Big question! I’d love to write with Daniel Caesar.  Every time I listen to his songs I’m always blown away by his lyricism and ability to make the deepest of topics so poetic and beautiful.

How do you find navigating the music industry as a woman? Where do you hope to see the industry in five years time?

I think being in the music industry overall is a tough business to be in, but I definitely think it’s easy to be overlooked as a woman. I think with the pressures of social media and online virality playing a major part in making or breaking an artist and determining if a song is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ these days, is starting to put a lot of pressure on artists. I really hope there will be less pressure on artists to be good at everything so that they can be more focussed on the music. 

What’s one thing that people may not know about you as a musician?

At school I was trained in classical singing and I also played viola in The Nottingham Youth Orchestra, playing alongside the cellist Sheku Kanneh Mason. 

What else do you have planned for 2022?

I’m super excited to be releasing my first EP this year! I also have some feature tracks coming out later this year which I’m really looking forward to. Collaboration is a huge part of my creative process so I can’t wait to be able to show that! 

Join Tonia on Melodic Distraction every other Tuesday for Mornings With. In the meantime, check out her debut single ‘Flux’ below!



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