NewTracks New Artist: Tommie

NewTracks New Artist: Tommie

Bianca Tomena Erceg aka Tommie grew up in Whangarei but calls Auckland her home these days. After starting out on the guitar at age 8, she soon went on to dabble in other instruments like bass, piano, and a little bit of drums. “Also, I sing if that counts,” she laughs. Studying at MAINZ led her to recording a few demos, back then under the name Roe. Moving on from the project’s dark pop vibe, the new, self-assured pop sound of Tommie’s debut single Better was featured on NZ On Air Music‘s NewTracks compilation last December. 

What’s the background story of how Tommie (as your current project) came to be?

Well, I finally got the courage to bleach my hair blonde and basically felt like a new person! I started to feel more confident in myself and began to be more comfortable expressing my feelings and thoughts through my music. I adopted a sort of ‘I don’t care’ attitude, which is what Tommie is all about!

How did your music evolve from your beginnings in songwriting to what it is right now?

It’s evolved so much, thank God! I used to be in a lot of bands in high school so I wrote and listened to a lot of pop-punk music. I found that after leaving high school and being in the real world I started to meet people from different backgrounds that listened to a variety of different music. I began finding styles and genres that I related and was drawn to, so started adopting different aspects from each for my own music. One of my favourite writing and music styles at the moment is old school R&B and hip hop like Aaliyah and The Fugees.

How did you come up with the name for the new project?

I wanted a distinct but fun name to represent myself and my new musical direction. I decided on Tommie, which comes from my middle name Tomena. My great great grandfather came up with that name after he realised he couldn’t call his daughter Thomas.

What makes Better stand out for you as a single?

For me, what stands out about Better is its catchiness and simplicity. I literally wrote it in two 30 minute sessions. I heard Chelsea Jade once say that you shouldn’t hear the labour in a song. Better was one of the first songs in a while, that had come so easily to me while I was writing it, so I knew it was the one. It seems to get stuck in people’s heads so that’s worked well when performing it live, it’s literally a karaoke sing-off with the audience!

What is the story behind Better?

Basically, liking someone who doesn’t like you back – anyone relate? I hate the feeling of rejection so I wanted to write a ‘stuff you’ kind of song. Better is about having the confidence to say “sorry, your loss”. It’s about realising you’re way better than anyone that person could be with, even if that’s not always the case, you can just tell yourself that haha.

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

I’m pretty proud of the bass line in the chorus that I wrote haha. We had a few versions of the song but it wasn’t really clicking yet. I went home and sat in my room and came up with that bass line, which totally lifted the energy of the song.

Who did you write/record/produce the single with and where? Got a fun story about the making-of?

I actually wrote the song on my own and produced a track for it, and then left it on my laptop for a few months. Around this time I started working with my co-producer Noema [Te Hau]. I showed him this track and he was keen to work on it. It was so much fun! We worked on it for a few days at his flat. We were literally pausing it every time something we’d done sounded cool and we’d turn and high five each other haha!

Describe in one sentence what you want listeners to take away from this song.

I want everyone who listens to this to feel a huge boost of confidence! I think it’s easy to forget our worth and that we don’t need someone else to determine it for us. Also let loose once in a while and get down!

In general, how do you work out what song would make a good single?

For me, I just get a feeling and that’s kind of how I judge it. I try to listen to it as someone hearing it for the first time and think would I skip this on Spotify or be drawn in at any point of the song.

Are there any other musical endeavours (collabs, bands, etc) you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for, with this band or others?

I am planning on releasing my second single as Tommie in February, woop woop! As well as my debut EP, which will probably be released later in 2019!

Can you please tell us three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside your song.

So Far by Paige

Old Love by Balu Brigada

Soaked by Bene

How many of your previous applications didn’t get funding or didn’t get included on NewTracks? Got any advice for people out there?

This is the first time I’ve applied to NZ On Air, so I’m super grateful to be included! I think my advice would be to build your audience as much as you can first and to release music first so that they can get a grasp of who you are as an artist and in the market when you go to apply.

Was there an NZOA criterion you struggled with in the application? Which one was it and how did you work it out in the end?

So far I’ve made it onto the New Tracks compilation and am yet to apply for funding. I think for me I need to continue working on building my audience and recognition in the local scene.

How can we find you on social media?

I am @tommietacos on Instagram and Twitter! I’m also on Facebook and of course stream my music on Spotify, (just search Tommie)!

Any last words?

Stay school, cool drools!