“One of our best friends passed away this year,” she recounts. “And I was trying to finish the album, but then I couldn't finish it at all. I couldn't write music. And on the way to the studio, I was just like crying.”
A beam of inspiration came from Sony Music Australia chairman and CEO Denis Handlin and the memory of his late mom, who “used to say on a cloudy day, look up and try and find the sun.”
The lyrics poured out in the studio. Despite its origins, it’s “not a sad song at all,” she explains. As the song climaxes, it’s “like finding your feet and almost honoring him”.
The one-time busker smashed records around the world with her 2019 hit “Dance Monkey.”
Along the way, “Dance Monkey” logged a record 24 weeks atop the singles chart in Tones’ homeland, and 11 weeks at No. 1 in the U.K., a record for a female solo artist. It’s the third-most-streamed song on Spotify. The tune appeared on the 2019 EP The Kids Are Coming, which peaked at No. 3 on the ARIA Albums Chart. Her followup "Never Seen the Rain" and Madhouse track "Fly Away" also went Top 10 in Australia.
A slew of awards have come her way, including several ARIA and APRA trophies.
Welcome to the Madhouse is due out July 16, and contains songs written prior to “Dance Monkey,” and more recent works. Madhouse “isn't one mood,” but a “welcome to the last years of my life,” she tells Lowe. Those years have, of course, included the world-altering health crisis. Thanks to the lockdown, she continues, “there's no stable mood. So here's just an anxiety album from happy, sad, lonely, terrified, unsure, you know? So that's what it is.”
Stream "Cloudy Day" below.
Welcome To The Madhouse tracklist:
1. Welcome To The Madhouse
3. Won't Sleep
4. Westside Lobby
5. Fly Away
6. Sad Songs
7. Just A Mess
8. Child's Play
9. Not Going Home
10. Dark Waters
11. Cloudy Day
12. You Don't Know My Name
13. Fall Apart
14. Bars (RIP T)