Why Australia's Hottest Act Left Melbourne To Pursue Busking: 'It Was Really Difficult'

7 August 2019 | 2:03 pm | Neil Griffiths

"They need to come up with a better way for artists to get their stuff on the street... "

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Fresh off scoring a #1 single last weekend, it's fair to say Tones & I is the hottest act in Australia right now but it wasn't long ago that the burgeoning artist was honing her craft busking.

Appearing on The Green Room with Neil Griffiths podcast last month, the songwriter revealed that she made the surprising move from her home in Melbourne to Byron Bay to start busking, despite her belief that Melbourne is "the most organised busking community I've ever seen".

"I tried to busk on Bourke Street for ages but I always needed two people," Tones & I told Neil Griffiths.

"I bought the biggest trolley at Bunnings and it still wasn't enough to get all my stuff from the carpark, which is away for the buskers, to the actual strip mall.

"Every single time I tried [walking] over the tram tracks, things fell off my trolley. Sometimes I asked random pedestrians to mind my stuff while I ran back to my car and it was really difficult."

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Tones & I was eventually encouraged to pursue busking in Byron Bay by a friend ("'You can just pull up and start busking wherever you want'"), which, as seen in the film clip for her track Johhny Run Away, attracted huge crowds.

Tones & I suggested the way in which Melbourne busking operates should be addressed.

"You have to come to a weekly meeting and get certain time slots. There's a roster," she said.

"They need to come up with a better way for artists to get their stuff onto the street because parking for the buskers is like a kilometre away in the middle of the city."

Tones & I is on track to remain at #1 on the ARIA Singles chart this week with Dance Monkey.

Listen to the full episode with Tones & I, recorded backstage at Splendour 2019, on Spotify or Apple Podcasts below.