German native Tony y Not is a rising talent that has been making waves on both sides of the Atlantic since her emergence a couple of years ago. Her dynamic, synth-laden sound is an enticing blend that fuses her European roots with years living in Brooklyn.
With releases and remixes on the likes of Trampoliner, LAGASTA, NEIN, and Critical Monday, as well as performances at revered venues like Watergate and events like Cityfox, her trajectory is undeniable. Despite the severe challenges of the global pandemic and a battle with chronic Long Covid, she has striven to find light, resilience and meaning in the darkness on her way to a fulfilling artistic journey. We had the pleasure of speaking with her this week. It’s all below!
WWD: Thanks for joining us Mimi! Where in the world are you right now and what has been on your schedule this week?
Thanks for having me! I am currently in Germany as I am going to spend time with family for Christmas. This week I am working on the finishing touches of a very special remix. As you heard, the COVID situation has been getting really bad here in Europe again, so diving deeper into music production is ideal right now.
WWD:What inspired your return to Brooklyn?
In the pandemic I realised how important New York still was for me when I left it 2018. I think the pandemic shifted everyone priorities and love, friendship, family became so much more important. Most of my best friends and my partner live in New York, so I also just wanted to get back because of that. It is really hard to break up with a city like New York and as I am German and have family in Germany it is always easy for me to jump back and forth between Europe and the USA.
WWD: You’ve been busy in the studio of late. What projects have you got in the pipeline?
So many different things. I picked up again on my synth-pop album that I have been working on. I was thinking of creating an alter ego for that, as it is quite different than the music I am playing out. I came to the conclusion that I will just release everything as Tony y Not because it is all me and I find it exciting when the same artist dives into different stories and sub-genres. Since the pandemic, I have been generally more inspired by music that is not for the club. I am also working a lot more with my singing voice. Such a wonderful tool to express through art and send messages. In German art means Kunst and that comes from the word künden which basically means to send a message – very philosophical, I know.
Other than that I am working on music that I would also play out. I am trying to not think of any labels while I am producing because I just want to create. I found some amazing labels as homes for some tracks. Releases have been pushed back so much in the pandemic but they will come out in 2022. Also, I got some new gear just in time for Christmas that I am really excited to use once I am back from Europe.
WWD: Your first gig back after 20 months of pandemic was a big one at the The Brooklyn Mirage for The Cityfox Experience. Can you share how that felt?
It was very special. As an artist during the pandemic you wonder if people just forget about you and how it will be when shows come back. I also have been dealing with chronic Long Covid, which sets me back even a bit more as I am struggling with energy levels. All my doubt immediately went away once I was playing. So many friends were there and performing on the main stage at Brooklyn Mirage felt so massive. It sounds cheesy but in that moment I just remembered why I do what I do. It just clicked like I never left.
WWD: Did the pandemic experience change your approach to life or your art in any way?
Absolutely and I would be surprised if someone didn’t change at all during this time. As I said, my priorities are so different now. Health, love, friends, family. All these things are so important. Cherish every moment. Be authentic. Music was my guide when I dealt with darkness. I and many others went through several dark nights of the soul, which then again inspires creation. So much amazing work that has been released lately and I can tell how these artists have been influenced by their pandemic experience. So I guess the same goes for what I create.
WWD: You’re back in Zurich for NYE and then BPM in Costa Rica in January. What are you most looking forward to over the coming months?
I am looking forward to playing out more and travel, as long as the pandemic allows it. I am very excited for all the opportunities professionally but also personally, getting really healthy mentally and physically and the warm weather in Costa Rica of course.
WWD: Are there any dream destinations or venues still on your hit-list to experience as a performer?
Of course! Big on my list is South Korea and Japan. I really love learning more about the electronic music scenes in other cultures than the Western world. When I did a tour in South East Asia in 2019 it was so amazing and inspiring. I have so many big dreams and plans for myself and never want to stop believing that I will achieve it.
WWD: 2021 is fast coming to a close, some quick-fire questions for you…
Can you share one new thing you’ve learned this year?
It’s hard picking just one. Maybe the most important lesson is that you do all what you do for yourself and no one else. Taking control over your own life and direction is a big part of growing up. Other people’s opinion on how your life should be just doesn’t matter.
WWD: 2021 Track of the year?
Blue Hawaii – I Felt Love (was released last year but was my track of 2021!)
WWD: Your standout moment of 2021?
The moment I was back in New York after not being able to go for 20 months because of the travel ban. Finally being home. I dreamed of that moment for so many months, so much trying to get there and so many roadblocks. And when it finally happened it was quite emotional.
WWD: One artist you’ll be watching in 2022?
Coloray – he is a big personal inspiration and I feel like there are more big things to come!
WWD: To make it in music in 2022, you must… …
Find your authentic self.
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