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Dance Monkey by Tones and I: Lyrics and Meaning

Dance Monkey: The Song That Took Over the World

If you have listened to any radio station, playlist, or podcast in the past year, chances are you have heard a catchy tune with a plucky keyboard, a thumping bass line, and a distinctive voice singing about dancing like a monkey. That tune is "Dance Monkey", a song by Australian singer Tones and I that has become one of the most popular songs of all time.

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But how did this song come to be? What is the story behind its creation, its success, and its meaning? And how did it impact the music industry and culture? In this article, we will explore these questions and more, as we dive into the fascinating world of "Dance Monkey".

How Tones and I Wrote Dance Monkey

Tones and I is the stage name of Toni Watson, a 26-year-old singer-songwriter from Melbourne, Australia. She started her musical career as a busker, playing for tips on the streets of Byron Bay, a coastal town in New South Wales. She loved the freedom and joy of busking, but she also faced some challenges and frustrations from certain drunk or rude people who would ruin her performance or demand more from her.

She decided to channel these feelings into a song that would express her perspective as a street musician. She said in an interview with Billboard: "It's a song about a moment where I felt frustrated about how people had no patience anymore. [...] If you replace the word 'dance' with 'sing,' it's pretty self-explanatory. I've literally turned quotes that people say to me into lyrics they're all very real."

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She wrote the song in a dark closet in not much more than 30 minutes, using her laptop and a keyboard. She then sent it to Konstantin Kersting, a producer and mixer who had worked with her on her previous single "Johnny Run Away". Kersting added some drums, synths, and effects to enhance the song's energy and vibe. He also helped Tones and I with her vocals, which have a unique tone and range that can go from low to high in an instant.

How Dance Monkey Became a Global Hit

"Dance Monkey" was released on May 10, 2019, as the second single from Tones and I's debut EP "The Kids Are Coming". The song was initially a live sensation, attracting large crowds for Tones and I's free public shows. But soon, it started to catch on online, thanks to streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube.

The song quickly climbed up the charts in Australia, where it became the longest-running number one song of all time, spending 24 non-consecutive weeks at the top. It also broke records in other countries, such as Norway (where it spent 15 weeks at number one), France (where it spent 23 weeks at number one), Germany (where it spent 17 weeks at number one ), and the UK (where it spent 11 weeks at number one). It also reached number four on the US Billboard Hot 100, making Tones and I the first Australian female solo artist to enter the top five since Olivia Newton-John in 1981.

The song also became a streaming and Shazam sensation, reaching over 2 billion streams on Spotify and becoming the most Shazamed song of all time, with over 36.6 million Shazams as of June 2020. The song's official music video, which features Tones and I as an elderly man who dances with his friends at a golf course, has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube.

The song also received several awards and recognition from various organizations, such as the ARIA Music Awards (where it won four awards, including Song of the Year and Best Female Artist), the APRA Music Awards (where it won three awards, including Most Performed Australian Work of the Year and Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year), the MTV Europe Music Awards (where it won Best Australian Act and Best New Act), and the Guinness World Records (where it was certified as the most weeks at number one on the UK singles chart by a female artist).

How Dance Monkey Impacted the Music Industry and Culture

"Dance Monkey" is not just a catchy song, but also a cultural phenomenon that has influenced and inspired many people around the world. The song has been covered, remixed, parodied, and sampled by various artists and genres, such as metal, classical, rap, EDM, and more. The song has also been used in movies, TV shows, commercials, video games, and social media platforms, such as TikTok, where it has generated millions of videos and views.

The song has also challenged and changed some of the norms and expectations of the music industry and culture. The song has shown that a song can be successful without following the conventional formulas of pop music, such as having a chorus that repeats four times, or having a verse-chorus-bridge structure. The song has also shown that a singer can be successful without having a typical pop star image or style, such as being young, glamorous, or sexy. Tones and I has embraced her authenticity and uniqueness, and has encouraged others to do the same.

However, the song has also faced some challenges and controversies from some listeners and critics who have criticized it for being annoying, repetitive, or overplayed. Some have also criticized Tones and I's voice for being too high-pitched or nasal. Tones and I has admitted that she has struggled with some of the negative comments and feedback, especially online. She has said in an interview with NME: "I don't think anyone's prepared for this kind of hate online. [...] It does get to me sometimes because I'm human."

Despite these difficulties, Tones and I has remained positive and grateful for her success and fans. She has also used her platform to support various causes and charities, such as mental health awareness, environmental protection, animal welfare, and indigenous rights. She has also expressed her desire to continue making music that reflects her personality and experiences. She said in an interview with Rolling Stone: "I just want to make music that makes people happy or makes people feel something."


"Dance Monkey" is a song that has captivated millions of people around the world with its catchy melody, quirky lyrics, and unique vocals. It is a song that was born out of Tones and I's passion for busking and music, and that reflects her perspective as a street musician who just wants to make people dance. It is a song that has broken records and barriers in the music industry and culture, and that has influenced and inspired many other artists and genres. It is a song that has faced some challenges and controversies along the way, but that has also overcome them with positivity and gratitude.

"Dance Monkey" is more than just a song. It is a phenomenon that shows how music can transcend boundaries and connect people across time and space. It is a phenomenon that shows how one person's voice can make a difference in the world. It is a phenomenon that shows how a simple idea can become a global sensation.


  • What is "Dance Monkey" about?

  • "Dance Monkey" is about Tones and I's experiences as a busker who felt frustrated by some people who had no patience or respect for her performance.

  • Who wrote "Dance Monkey"?

  • Tones and I wrote "Dance Monkey" by herself in a dark closet in 30 minutes.

  • Who produced "Dance Monkey"?

  • Kon stantin Kersting produced "Dance Monkey" by adding some drums, synths, and effects to the song.

  • How successful is "Dance Monkey"?

  • "Dance Monkey" is one of the most successful songs of all time, topping the charts in over 30 countries, breaking several records, reaching over 2 billion streams on Spotify, becoming the most Shazamed song of all time, and winning several awards and recognition.

  • How did "Dance Monkey" impact the music industry and culture?

  • "Dance Monkey" impacted the music industry and culture by challenging and changing some of the norms and expectations of pop music, influencing and inspiring other artists and genres, and becoming a cultural phenomenon that transcended boundaries and connected people.


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