Tonya Ballman





What is music to you? What does it give you?

Music is the love of my life, my livelihood, and the thing that makes everything else worth it. It's everything to me.

What is your music dream?

I want to perform nightly for engaged audiences, fostering human connection through the production, performance, and celebration of original music.

If you could change the world - what would you start with?

Building schools to educate and empower women everywhere.

Which is the most memorable song from your childhood?

"Will It Go Round In Circles" - Billy Preston. My dad used to walk around singing it.

Who are your favorite musical artists or bands?

Lady Gaga, Sara Bareilles, Freddie Mercury, Aretha Franklin, Oscar Peterson, James Taylor, Carole King, Jim Croce

What inspires you to make music?

People feel lonely and disconnected, but we all speak the language of music and it never fails to connect us. I write songs about the human experience to help people understand that we are not alone in our struggles and triumphs. My partner is a huge inspiration for me (who doesn't love a good love song?) My baby niece gives me hope for the future. The small, everyday acts of kindness I witness remind me that the world is mostly good, even when we don't notice it. Music is what I use to remind myself that life is magical and worth living.

What is the message you want to send with your music?

We are all connected by our shared human experience. We're all imperfect and sometimes make huge mistakes, but with compassion for ourselves and others, we can still live beautiful lives. We all need each other and nobody should be alone in their struggle. We can connect by sharing our vulnerability.

How do you feel when you perform in front of an audience?

Like I'm exactly where I was always meant to be and nothing could bring me down. I'm a born performer.

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

There is more potential than ever before for independent artists to make a comfortable living doing what they love. We need to support each other more to raise the value of our line of work. It can be more difficult to stand out, but the internet and availability of audio equipment has given all of us an incredible opportunity to be heard. I think we should put more of a focus on independent artists.

What do you think of Drooble?

So far, I'm really enjoying it! It seems like a great place to get feedback and inspiration from like-minded musicians.

What frustrates you most as a musician?

The financial instability of freelancing can be pretty scary. Even so, I'd rather struggle as a musician than work in a soul-sucking day job. It's hard when I play a show and the audience talks over my music, but I know it'll be worth the struggle when I finally have a supportive fanbase to connect with.

Do you support your local scene as a fan? How?

I do my best to make it out to as many of my friends' shows as possible. I'm from a medium-large city with a rapidly growing music community. I'd like to see better representation of women in our scene, so I try to go to as many female-led shows as possible.

What qualities should a musician nowadays have in order to get their music heard by a larger audience?

Tenacity and the ability to come back time and time again despite seemingly endless rejection. Good communication and leadership skills. Versatility in composition, production, and performance. The ability to think outside the box. Sobriety is a huge plus.