Mystery over Dance Monkey star’s real age
Having topped the charts at home and in the UK, Aussie singer/songwriter Tones and I is on track to do it all again in the US.
Not bad for a 19-year-old … right?
As her star has rapidly risen this year, there's been some confusion online about the Dance Monkey singer's real age.
The biggest song in the world right now is by a 19-year-old busker called Tones & I who until recently was living in a Byron Bay hostel. I met her in Rotterdam and tried to make sense of it all.https://t.co/P22KkDVW24— Will Hodgkinson (@Willjhodgkinson) November 13, 2019
Bloggers have praised her for "maturity well beyond her 19 years." Fans have marvelled at her young age:
If you don't know the song "dance monkey by tones and I" you are missing out.— RacquetMouth (@RacquetMouth) September 27, 2019
19 yo aussie repping!!
LOVE LOVE LOVE pic.twitter.com/EFTgQ5OU1X
And Google will tell you that Tones and I, real name Toni Watson, was born on August 15, 2000:
But a glance at Tones and I's own online history shows this surely can't be the case.
Tones herself doesn't appear to be hiding her real age - quite the opposite. Scroll back far enough on the the official Tones and I Instagram account (which has 227k followers and counting) and you'll find posts like the one below, from February 15, 2013 - when, based on that online birthdate, Tones (at left) would've been 12 years old:
Or this post from later in 2013 - Tone and I at the Stereosonic dance music festival, aged … 13?
To be clear: These photos are still up on Tones and I's own very popular Instagram account. There is clearly no grand cover-up on her part to conceal her age.
Then there's the YouTube channel she set up as Toni Watson in 2009, where she posted a handful of videos showcasing her raw talent in a cappella covers. Here's one posted on April 14, 2009, when she was … 8 years old?
Elsewhere, a public post to Tones And I's Facebook account on May 13, 2015, saw her celebrating "THE BIG 22", with friends wishing her a happy birthday.
That different birth date is listed in some of her other online bios, along with the birth year 1993, which would make her 26 this year. Her own Wikipedia page was very recently updated to list this earlier birthdate, too.
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So where did the age confusion start? It's hard to say - it seems it's only in recent months that articles and interviews have listed Tones' age as 19, while press from earlier in the year omitted her age altogether.
Back when her Wikipedia page said she was 19, it listed her AllMusic bio page as the source of her birthdate. That site still lists her birthdate as August 15, 2000. Could that be the source of all the confusion?
Tones and I's own official website makes no mention of her age - but speaks of a colourful backstory (quitting her retail job to live out of her van for a year) that would suggest an artist a few years older than 19.
We've contacted Tones and I's management company for clarification on this whole age issue, but really: 19, 26, fifty-bloody-seven for all we care - as the breakout music star of 2019, she's sure to have a long career ahead.