Theia – MUST CREDIT Jo Rusling
Picture: Jo Rusling

Theia on confidence, etherealism and her motivation to create and share

After a whirlwind 2016 that saw her leap from the relative unknown to occupying a lofty position on Spotify’s Global Top 30,  Christchurch songbird Theia is wasting no time in taking her music across the water and around the world.

Delivering a blend of dulcet melodies, driven beats and deeply personal lyrics, Theia’s sound has been warmly welcomed by Australian audiences during her first run of shows in the country, supporting The Kite String Tangle in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“The engagement is blowing my mind,” she tells Music Insight.

“Everyone’s been so kind and supportive, like people come up and say sweet things after I perform. I’m loving it. I want to move here.”

That fans are enraptured with Theia comes as no surprise; there is intent and energy embedded in her entire approach to making music, to how it is performed and to every element of the experience that she offers. The name Theia is, in itself, a symbolic choice, shared with an ancient mythical deity who personified illumination.

“I wanted [a name] that would embody everything I’m about; my vibe, sonically and aesthetically. Theia really fits because it means Goddess in Greek and she’s the goddess of light, so I guess my music has a sense of etherealism, being edgy and feminine, and quirky. It’s the same with my visual style.”

From a young age Theia “felt different” from the other kids; an ordeal that she sees as “both a struggle and a blessing”. Nurtured through these feelings by her ever-supportive mum, young Em-Haley Walker grew into a deep appreciation for artists like Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga; women who were unashamedly themselves and passionately projected their unique nature out into the world.

“I’ve always really found a beauty and strength in following my heart, and whatever I think is good, just owning that,” Theia says.

“So my music is an extension of that. It wasn’t until I started analysing why I adored those artists and looked up to them that I had kind of a confirmation that it’s something that I wanted to do as well.”

Now blossomed into an artist in her own right, Theia has come full circle to find connection with others through the expression of self.

“I think that’s what I find so special and unique about music; that things that can be really difficult, or put you in a vulnerable position, but when you turn it into a song it’s something that is cathartic and can help other people. Feelings are universal. So my wound can be someone else’s medicine through music.”

The debut EP, set to be released in the near future, will pull no punches and covers more complex themes than you might expect from a young pop artist.

Champagne Supernova is about facing your inner demons. Roam is about overcoming anxiety and feeling unsettled, feeling at peace within yourself. It’s a mix. The EP is like a diary I would say, of my experiences, of life and growth. There’s a healthy mix of uplifting and darker tracks.”

Among the tours and publicity, Theia is staying focused on her first major release and what she hopes it to accomplish; sharing stories and delivering an experience to her fans.

“I hope that, like the rest of my music, people will be able to relate,” she says.

“I hope that the songs will help them or be like a ‘Yes!’ moment. There’s so many different themes, but all of them are set to music that you can dance to. So either way, I think they’ll be moving.”

As for finding new audiences outside of her native NZ, crossing the Tasman was just a warm-up.  Theia will ride the wave of hype all the way to Los Angeles later in the year.

“I’m so excited. LA has been a dream of mine since I was really little so this will be a total fulfilment of that. I’m playing at an industry showcase over there so it will be equal parts exciting and nerve-racking, being in a room with such influential and amazing people. I will just give it my all and be myself.”

If you were lucky enough to score tickets, you can catch Theia alongside the Kite String Tangle at the Foundry in Brisbane tonight.

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