Theia returns after 2 year hiatus with angelic new single 'Pray For Me'
Friday 27 January 2023
Theia’s new single ‘Pray 4 Me’ is a heart-breaking song that heralds the dawning of a new era for the alt-pop artist from Aotearoa. This is Theia like you’ve never heard before!
‘Pray 4 Me’ follows a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, in which Theia launched her critically acclaimed reo Māori project, TE KAAHU. The project’s debut album TE KAAHU O RANGI highlighted Theia’s remarkable talents as a songwriter and her unmistakable vocals. It is these qualities that also shine through in ‘Pray 4 Me’ - the first single Theia has chosen to reveal from her upcoming body of work.
The raw emotion and fragility in Theia’s vocal delivery on ‘Pray 4 Me’ is matched with a sweet and vulnerable music box-esque piano, which evokes a sense of childhood innocence, all the while the choir-like harmonies serve to accentuate the song’s religious connotations.
It speaks to Theia’s reputation as a respected songwriter and singer and her unwavering commitment to making music that challenges and confronts, irrespective of genre. The song comes with an exquisitely shot visualiser made by long-time creative collaborator Frances Carter. Shot in stark black and white, it captures the weight of the song’s meaning.
“This is the first time I’ve ever released a ballad as Theia and I’m acutely aware that it’s probably not what people will expect from me after my last release [2020’s 99% ANGEL MIXTAPE], which was in-your-face high energy alt-pop. But this is no less me. It’s just another side to what I feel I have to offer as a songwriter and a singer,” says Theia.
Co-produced by Theia and the award-winning Jol Mulholland, ‘Pray 4 Me’ is the first in a string of singles that’ll roll out in the coming months. Although plans are still under tight wraps, fans can expect the unexpected from Theia in 2023. But there is one thing they can be certain of – she remains one of New Zealand’s most idiosyncratic pop acts. And this will be on full display when she reveals a new-look live set at this year’s Big Gay Out in Auckland on Sunday, February 12. She’ll also perform in the coveted Saturday night slot on the main stage at Splore on February 25, before making her Cuba Dupa debut in Wellington on Saturday, March 25.
Christchurch-born Theia has been making waves since she first emerged in 2016 with her break-out hit ‘Roam’. ‘Roam’ earned Theia a loyal fanbase across the globe and paved the way for her self-titled debut EP (2018) and the NOT YOUR PRINCESS EP (2019). In early 2020, Theia upped the ante with the release of her high-energy mixtape 99% ANGEL, which drew critical praise from the likes of Billboard Magazine. She revealed the mixtape with a headlining slot at Sydney Mardi Gras’ Heaps Gay party just weeks before the COVID pandemic was declared, sending her back to New Zealand for lockdown.
With international travel plans thwarted, Theia focused on composing songs in te reo Māori, which led to the launch of TE KAAHU and the 2022 debut album TE KAAHU O RANGI, which received a multitude of nominations for the Rolling Stone Awards, the NZ Music Awards (AMAs), the Silver Scrolls, the Waiata Māori Music Awards and the Student Radio Network Awards.
Theia’s ability to seamlessly move between her two projects, whilst continuing to reach audiences in both and deliver powerful music with depth is testament to her formidable talents. She is a true force and one of New Zealand’s most compelling acts.