Interview: Pop artist Theia is on the precipice of huge success beyond her native New Zealand

On a sweaty final day of Music Matters Live in Singapore, I take refuge from the tropical heat at Apple Music hub, CHIJMES. Inside the El Mero Mero restaurant, breakthrough popstar Theia is finishing an interview. Her team sits with me until she is ready, eventually being brought through to our little corner of the venue.

For Theia, this is still relatively new territory. Her hit single “Roam” is just over a year old but in the months following its release, Theia has been propelled onto many a tastemaker’s radar, while she’s been continuing to refine her live performance as the gigs keep rolling in. Talking with the Christchurch native about her shows in Singapore – her first internationals – Theia remains so humble you could mistake it for shyness.

“It’s so clean and beautiful!” she says of the city. “There is lots of greenery, which I really love, and the architecture is really cool. I love how many different cultures are here; you could go past a church and then go past a Hindu temple, it’s really nice.”

“I don’t think I could have asked for much more to have happened.” she adds. “It’s been so cool and I’m so stoked to now be here in Singapore and performing. The reception that my music has garnered has been great.”

Having worked with noted producer Alex Hope (Troye Sivan, Broods) on her debut single “Silver Second”, Theia’s already dipped her feet into the world of big-chops pop music. The reaction to the song has been impressive for the up and comer as she flits between electro-pop and R&B with deft skill.

On her creative partnerships and collaborations she’s entered into recently, Theia comments on her journey so far.

“You meet people and connect over a common interest but you never know whether [the collaboration] is going to work or not.” she admits. “When it does, it’s really cool. For me, I’ve been really lucky; you learn things from each person you work with as well. Everyone has their strengths and so I suppose it’s always challenging, in that respect. You always want to make sure your work is genuine and that you’re always pushing yourself as far as you can. You always want to be getting the best out of the person you’re working with as well.”

“I never go into anything thinking, ‘I’m just going to half ass this,'” she admits. “I always try as hard as I can and it’s definitely been cool to have so many different experiences. Most times I know when the studio time is and has been blocked out, so I know I need to make the most of it when I know how long I have. I’ll either come with ideas or I’ll have written top lines and lyrics and melodies. I’ll go in and I’ll be like, ‘I want it to be like this‘. In some cases, like with “Roam”, I had no plans because I was so nervous and I felt like such a wreck. I went into the studio and was like, ‘I want something with this kind of mood,’ and we started writing.”

As we talk, Theia is very considered in her responses. Thoughtfully pausing as she voices her thoughts, it’s clear that this is an individual who is equal parts assertive and still finding herself as her profile continues to grow.

“It’s a trust exercise as well with yourself,” she says of the writing process. “That’s the most terrifying thing for me because I love to know what’s going to happen. It’s quite scary when you know you’ve got the studio time and you’re thinking, ‘I don’t want to fail!’ You have to trust that something is going to come out of it and something is going to be okay. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen with the new music; I have an idea but it’s all about putting it together and making something new.”

Follow Theia online here. Check out her Apple Music profile here.

Photo by Steve Dykes.

Revisit all the artists’ music on the Music Matters Live official playlists on www.applemusic.com/MusicMatters