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From van to mansion: ‘Dance Monkey’ singer splashes $5.1m on new home

Tones and I just bought a $5.1 million house. Source: Getty

Australian award-winning artist, Toni Watson, known by her stage name Tones and I, has reportedly just splashed $5.1 million on a property in Mt Eliza -– a far cry from her hostel days. 

The sprawling five-bedroom home is situated on more than 2,500-square metres of land, and includes its own wellness centre, a climate-controlled wine centre and a heated lap pool. 

It’s not Watson’s only foray into the property market either, with the singer purchasing a $800,000 home in Frankston in an off-market sale last year, according to Domain.

Tones and I has bought a home in Mount Eliza. Photo: Harcourts Central Frankston
Tones and I has bought a home in Mount Eliza. Photo: Harcourts Central Frankston

The property purchases are close to Watson’s stomping ground, Mt Martha, where she would sing in local pubs and bars.

Busking in Byron – and living in a van

While Watson broke records with her number one hit ‘Dance Monkey’, which claimed nine straight weeks at the top of the ARIA Singles Chart and peaked at number one on the Billboard 100 on 3 March last year, just one year ago she was living out of her van.

“I pretty much bought a van and took two weeks annual leave [from her retail job] because I wasn’t 100 per cent sure that anything would work,” Watson told Triple J

“I came up to Byron and on the first night of busking a guy walked past and he was like, 'Here’s my card.' A month later, I was like ‘what have I got to lose’.”

After van life, Watson moved into a hostel where she lived rent-free for almost a year in return for putting on live performances.

In fact, her hit single was about busking, and intended to shine a light on the negatives of the practice.

“I was getting a little bit bullied by guys who thought I was taking their customers, and it got to the point where I was anxious every time I set up my keyboard,” the star told The Times.

“Drunk people came past and yelled profanities at me. The negative was outweighing the positive, but I didn’t want to stop just because people were being horrible.”

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