The Road to SXSW: Thandi Phoenix

She’s one of Australian indie pop’s shining lights at the moment and with praise levelled her way by American counterparts in Tinashe and Jhene Aiko (for example), there’s no surprise that Thandi Phoenix would be answering the international call sooner rather than later. The Sydney songwriter and performer is bound for Austin, Texas this month, landing a lucrative spot on this year’s SXSW Music Festival line up.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be connecting with the Australian contingent heading over – some are playing SXSW for the first time, others are returning to a familiar stomping ground. For Thandi, traversing this unique and oft-chaotic terrain is going to be a first…

“It’s my first time to SXSW and the first time playing with my band overseas, I’m very excited!”

What are some expectations you have of the event/Austin in general?

  1. I imagine it’s going to be a mental experience, fast paced and action packed.
  2. Great on my lips, terrible on my hips – bring on the BBQs!!!
  3. Spoilt for choice. So much to see and so many exciting new artists to discover.

How crucial do you think the opportunity to perform at and attend an event like this is for an Australian artist?

To have a platform like this that enables me to be able to connect with people in the music industry, from all around the world in just one place, is incredibly exciting and an opportunity I’m very grateful to have. Sometimes the rest of the world seems so far from Australia and to be able to share my music first hand with people and show what we’re doing on this side of the globe makes me really happy and proud to be chosen.

What are you hoping to get out of the experience this year?

Ya knoowww, network network, mingle mingle, world domination all that jazz. I’m hoping to just smash the shows, leaving with confidence and a fire to do more overseas. I’m hoping to find an international booking agent, meet some great people, make new friends that I can work with in the future and get more people on Team Thandi and excited for what’s to come.

What’s the most important element of SXSW for you/your band to experience or learn from?

I mean, it’s going to be hectic, so I think the biggest thing to learn and experience is the art of keeping cool amongst the chaos and handling the logistics of such a rapid schedule. From the travel to, the short change over times, the amount of shows, the lack of sleep, press, meeting etc. There’s a whole lot that goes into it before you’ve even stepped on stage and you can’t let that stuff eat into your performance or your energy because that’s your chance to shine.

Are you performing elsewhere around the US?

Only performing at SXSW. New single “My Way” is out March 23rd and has been produced by UK icons Rudimental.

What kind of show could you guarantee an American crowd coming to your set for the first time?

I’ll be bringing a very dynamic, energetic and fun show to SXSW. I love connecting with an audience through my music and I love to see people having a good time. So they’ll walk away with a lot more insight into me, hopefully with a smile on their face and some sweat on their skin.

SXSW runs from March 9th – 18th this year. Find out more about Thandi’s official showcase, here.

Photo: Jordan Munns.