Theia to grace our stage

SINGING SENSATION: Theia is excited to be performing at the Seafood Festival next weekend.

Alt-pop sensation excited to be debuting new single at Seafood Festival

RISING singing sensation Theia is excited to be playing at the Whakatane Seafood Festival next Saturday.

Fans of the Auckland-based pop musician, whose real name is Em-Haley Walker, will also be thrilled that she is debuting her latest single, Not Your Princess, at the festival.

Theia said it was an immediate “yes” when asked by her manager, Paula Yeoman, who is from Whakatane, if she wanted to play the Seafood Festival.

“I love Whakatane. I have stayed there a couple of times in-between gigs and tours and it is just such a fun spot and I am excited to come back.”

The alt-pop singer-songwriter said she would be performing at about 6pm and was keen to see everyone at the festival.

Theia has released one EP and said she would be releasing her second album this year.

“I will be playing all of the songs that everyone knows, and I am looking forward to playing some unreleased songs.

“I will be playing my next single for everyone to hear. It is not out yet and is called Not Your Princess. I wrote it recently on a trip to Australia, in Sydney, with this amazing producer Quinn and I am very excited to play it.

“It is very sassy and kind of a power song for female-identifying folk and women, but I feel like anyone can relate to it.”

The new single follows the success of the three songs she released in 2018 for her upcoming EP – Bye Bye, Bad Idea, a personal song that broaches the issue of self-harm, and Candy, a blast of pop energy.

It has been a whirlwind two years for Theia, whose first song, Silver Second, gained the attention of music blogs. But it was her hit Roam that pushed her into the limelight in 2016.

Theia grew up in Christchurch, but it was after Roam, one of the biggest songs released by a Kiwi artist that year, that she moved to Auckland. The tune has been played almost 13 million times on Spotify plus was a chart-topper for seven weeks in 2016.

Since then she has been working with some top names in the music industry and performed in venues across the world.

“It has been amazing, for me as an artist there have been so many cool milestones and opportunities I really just didn’t think I would have. But it is only afterwards on reflection that you realise the gravitas of everything.

“I have been able to work with so many cool people, other artists and producers that I never thought I would be able to work with.”

Theia was a finalist at the 2017 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards – nominated for Single of The Year for Roam, Pop Artist of The Year and People’s Choice.

The singer was also nominated as Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2017 George FM Awards.

In 2017, she opened for Broods on their summer New Zealand tour, supported The Kite String Tangle on an Australian tour and played shows in the US and Asia.

In December of that year, she opened for Sia at Mt Smart Stadium alongside MO and Charli XCX. Over summer 2017/18 Theia performed at some of New Zealand’s biggest summer festivals, including R&V and Bay Dreams.

“Opening for Sia, alongside Charli and Mo was just so huge. I still think about it; it was such a cool opportunity.”

Her music has also opened the world to her.

“I kind of always wanted to go to LA since I was a child, but I ended up working and studying (she completed a degree in te reo Maori and Maori and indigenous studies) and working towards doing music full-time because I kind of had the idea if I worked really hard on that I would be able to travel through music. So, while all my other friends were OEing and whatnot, I was kind of working, and I feel that I have really gotten to do that [travel] now, which is so cool.”

Her success in Asia has taken her by surprise.

“I am quite surprised at the amazing fan base that has come from Malaysia. It has been fab. Even in Singapore. I got stopped for a photo in a mall. It is really special because I feel, as an artist and musician, I am definitely in my own bubble a lot and you can feel really isolated and it can be hard to actually know if you are connecting and then that kind of thing happens and you think ‘wow, this is so surreal’.”

Theia describes her move into music as a natural and organic progression from her interest in writing poems and ditties as a child.
Performing came much later.

“Aside from school productions and kapa haka and stuff I never performed until after Roam came out, so I felt like I really got dropped into the deep end.

“I was at rehearsals last night for the Seafood Festival and other festivals I am playing and I was just thinking how only two years ago I had just never really performed and I was so green, and kind of almost cringing, and also looking back on it quite fondly because I feel that is how far I have come.
No doubt 2019 will be another exciting year for the singer.

“I have Not Your Princess coming out in the next couple of months. I feel like it is a cool song to come into 2019 with, and then I have other tunes that I am just starting to wrap up that will also be on my EP and I have got more festivals.

“And in the next couple of months I will start writing my next songs that will be beyond my EP.

“So, I am always just working and excited to try out new things and grow my sound, and I am hoping I will be doing a lot more travelling.”


The Beacon is giving away two double-passes to the Seafood Festival on Saturday. Email with Seafood Festival in the subject line for a chance to win a double-pass entry to the festival. Winners will be contacted by email. Entries close at noon on Monday, January 14.