Thank Phoenix

by the partae

What is your name? 

Thandi Phoenix

How did you start? 

I got a guitar when I was 13/14 and it started from there. Tucked away in my room spilling out my teenage feels on my bed with a pad and pen lol

The only thing that has really changed is the tools/ technology I use and the experience from which I now write.

Where are you currently based? 

Sydney, Strayaaaa.

You’ve recently released you new single Standing Too Close and it’s topped the Spotify Viral chart!!  The track features hints of UK garage and South African house, an amazing achievement.  What do you attribute this singles success to? Did you have any expectations upon the release of the track?

You know I honestly had no clue how it would be received, I really hoped people would like it as much as I did because I put a lot into it but you can never be too sure! I think everyone can relate to the sentiment of the story and on the music side the way it mixes familiar elements of electronic and pop juxtaposed with percussive influences from garage to SA house it creates intrigue to the ear as its something different, a fresh combination of sounds.

Please describe your songwriting process:

There is so set guideline I go by when comes to my creative process. Sometimes I’ll begin writing a song with a desired soundscape in mind and create a bed then Ill work in the melody and lyrics on top. Others it could be a different approach, written very simple and stripped back on one instrument and vocals and then you’ll build the track around the vocals. I think it’s important for both production and vocals to compliment each other and the story and not have one over power the other.

What are you working on right now? 

I actually just came back from a session with the wonderful force that is Thief. “Standing Too Close” was born out of a session with UK producer Paul Rogers and Thief. It was the first time we had met or worked together and pretty soon into I knew it wouldn’t be the last 🙂 I’m working on a bunch of new material ATM, alone and with other writer/producers. Creativity is something that can strike down like lightning but also something you need to learn to work on even when you’re feeling uninspired. I try to make time to write whenever I can. Also being on the road inspires me because I love to perform live so it makes me think of what new ideas would work well on the live front.

What is your equipment setup? 

At home my set up is pretty simple. I’ve got a few guitars and a keyboard. I use Logic to get my ideas down and can’t forget the every handy voice memos for those on the go ideas! When it comes to the live front the boys and I have gear for daaaays… I’d say the lug + set up/ pack down equals a good workout hahaha. My set up on stage is a microphone and SPD Drum Pad to trigger vocals and drums and a JDXI for synth lines.

Your currently on tour with Vera Blue, how is this tour shaping up? What have been the highs and lows? 

It’s been like a shinning disco ball so far. Almost all the shows have been sold out which is amazing! The crowds have been wicked and Celia (Vera Blue) + her crew are a great bunch to tour with. Plus its the first time I’ve done a tour that doesn’t just got to the major cities so I’m getting to play for brand new audiences in regional areas. The only low I could think of would be when my stocking got caught on my jacket zip before sound check…. but that’s got nothing to do with the show hahah its all been good fun.

You have performed as a special guest for Jhene Aiko, Tinashe, Rudimental and Tinie Tempah, how is supporting such acts? How do these supports usually come about? 

They have all been super cool opportunities for me to perform in front of audiences on a much larger scale. My booking agent Niche look after me and put me forward for such tours.

You’ve taken the stage at Splendour in the Grass, Soulfest, Bluesfest and Curve Ball, performed at the Opera House together with Ta-ku and Wafia, as well as an appearance on Just A Gent’s triple j Like A Version of Kid Cudi’s Day N Nite.  How do you prepare for such large audiences? Does the crowd energy and feedback differ much from show to show? Any highlights?

It hasn’t always been this way but I’m at a point where I LOVE to perform. It’s that interaction and electricity between the audience and myself that makes me excited. No matter how big or small the crowd is I always hope to feel that engagement and that excitement and I hope to give the audience the same in return. Each of these performances were magical for me for different reasons. The type of festivals, line-ups, venues, crowds that I had previously dreamed of playing 🙂

What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?

I like the simple things in life. Like spending time with my loved ones laughing until my stomach hurts, being in nature and in the sun, going for a walk or the gym, getting stuck into a series, eating copious amounts of delicious food, going out dancing with friends. If I think about it, everything I’ve done and do in life inadvertently affects my music. What I hear, what I experience and learn, how I feel will change has shaped the music music I make.

How would you describe your music genre? 

It’s a big hot pot of flavours that I’ve been simmering for a while now to suite my taste. I infuse elements of electronic music with pop, and season with a hint of Drum and Bass and South African House.

Your 2016 single Tell Me Where All The Lovers Have Gone topped the Australian Spotify Viral Chart, amazing! What was it about this track that you think so many people could relate to?

This song is quite conversational and truthful. I’m addressing someone who was playing games and the more I live the more I learn how many people do just that! I’m only one person but I’m sure almost everyone who has dated or put themselves out there has come across a similar situation and can relate.

Please tell about your 2015 debut, Come Around which helped laid the groundwork for you being named as FBI’s Independent Artist of the Week?

“Come Around” was my first official release and was a collaboration between producer Ross James and my drummer Yanya Boston. It was a turning point in the evolution my sound as I moved into a more electronic sphere than I’d previously been used to. It helped kick-started my career in many ways.

What are your plans for the future? 

In the near future, I have some exciting shows coming up and will be releasing more new music, which I’m VERY excited about. As far as next year is concerned I would love to be selling out my own headline shows, do some travelling, get more music out, be on festival circuits here and abroad, finish and release a full body of work, and be living my life like it’s golden.

How did you get into music?

Id always be dancing and singing round the place and although I was a year ahead at school I took more interest in the arts than academics. I’m very fortunate my mum has always super supportive, an avid music fan herself and has encouraged me to chase my dreams whatever they be. After I left high school I did a bit of modelling then quickly realised it wasn’t the industry for me so I started to take the idea of being a muso more seriously. I started sneaking into venues and jams as I was only 17 and I’d learn by earning by watching other musicians and eventual I started getting up to sing. I then started booking gigs, first solo my guitar and me and then with a band. I was fortunate to meet people that I did during this period, which include both my bands members who are now my dear friends.

What are you listening to at the moment?

My library is a mix bag of goodies so it depends on my mood what I’ll be listening to. The Last 3 tracks I listened to are:

“Love Come Down” – Evelyn Champagne King

“Fake Magic” – Peking Duck + Aluna George (Gigamesh Remix)

“Seein You” Eli Escobar

I was clearly in a grooving mood hahah

Who are your top 3 influences and icons?

Amy Winehouse

Billie Holiday

Spice Girls

When are you playing next?

I head back on the road in just over a weeks time with Vera Blue. First stop Brisbane




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