“I’m OK Just The Way I Am”: Tones And I Delivers Emotional Speech At The 2019 ARIAs
"No-one could have ever prepared me for the whole world judging me and comparing you to other artists. But what’s most important is that you have to be a good person and care about others and carry yourself well.
Tones And I is absolutely one-to-beat at the 2019 ARIAs: the Bryon Bay busker turned global-chart topper is nominated for eight awards, and, as of writing, has taken out three awards. As we’ve since learnt, she’s only written one speech for the night — but she made it count, with viewers praising her for a refreshingly honest and vulnerable moment.
Tones (aka Toni Watson) first took the mic to perform her smash hit ‘Dance Monkey’, before returning to the stage to accept her first award of the night: Best Female Artist. Evidently, it was meaningful to Watson, as her voice quivered as she read from a handwritten speech.
Tones and I is the real thing huh. Her acceptance speech was so genuine. #ARIAs
— Mary Kate (@_maryjordan) November 27, 2019
“Sometimes I don’t think that I’m the most relatable female artist,” she said. “I’m not into make-up or dresses or typically girly things. But to me, those things don’t really define what it is to be a female artist in this industry any more. It’s being brave and courageous and true to yourself.”
The audience’s deafening cheers were echoed online — she continued, indirectly addressing the criticism around her music and image.
— MiscreantMe (@MiscreantMe) November 27, 2019
“No-one could have ever prepared me for the whole world judging me and comparing you to other artists,” she said. “But what’s most important is that you have to be a good person and care about others and carry yourself well. Thank you for Australia letting me know that I’m OK just the way I am.”
Short and sweet, the speech was celebrated on social media, with many applauding how down-to-earth and sincerely thankful Watson appeared.
What an absolutely ripping acceptance speech from @tonesandimusic
It’s fantastic seeing someone so humble achieving so much success#ARIAs
— Simon Anderson (@simonjourno) November 27, 2019
As of writing, Watson has won two more ARIAs: Best Independent Release and Best Pop Release. She could yet still win Breakthrough Artist, which, just between you me, has to be a sure thing, right?
In other ARIAs news, Hilltop Hoods’ acceptance speech for Best Live Act for somewhat less emotional: the trio took the moment to say that Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.
Feature image by Jordan Kirk for ARIA Awards.