Originally from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia, Tones and I (real name Toni Watson) took a trip to Byron Bay in New South Wales in early 2018 and took a chance at busking. She had a good response, so Watson quit her retail job to pursue a full-time music career.
During Watson's first night of busking, a guy walked past and gave her his card. That person, Jackson Walkden-Brown, became Tones and I's co-manager.
The Australian singer-songwriter wrote this song about her busking days. She came to the realization that things have changed and attention spans are shorter now that entertainment is always a button click away.
Dance for me, dance for me, dance for me oh oh oh
I've never seen anybody do the things you do before
They say move for me, move for me, move for me ay ay ay
Tones told Bridget Hustwaite on triple j Good Nights: "There was a lot of times when I was busking there were a lot of people in your face, like 'More, more! Go again, again, again!' The patience had diminished. The quick changeovers were what you need to do on the street now. You have to be quick... get on with the song."
The song reached #1 in Australia on the August 5, 2010 ARIA chart. Tones and I was the first female artist reach the summit in Australia since Delta Goodrem did so with "Wings" in 2015. She was also the first Australian artist to reach the peak position in 2019.
"Dance Monkey" topped the charts in several other countries, including Norway and Sweden.
"Dance Monkey" set a new mark when it entered its 16th week at #1 on Australia's ARIA Singles chart. It broke the record for the most weeks atop the survey, previously held by Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You
Tones and I didn't write "Dance Monkey" for radio. Instead, she penned the song for the people at the Byron Bay hostel where she was living so they could all dance to it.