Last year, Auckland alt-pop artist Jack Panther was named in Tone Deaf‘s Class of 2022, a celebration of artists from Australia and New Zealand that showed serious potential throughout the past 12 months.
Bubbly songs like “WEEKEND AT BERNIES” helped get him there, full of vim and vigour, playful songwriting being underlined by sharp production.
Forever an unapologetically queer pop artist, Panther’s new single, “THEO”, captures his commitment to this best: he’s never penned such a vulnerable song about romance like this before.
“I had never really written about falling in love until now,” Panther says. “I think it’s sweet but more importantly, to me, “THEO” is about a crush, infatuation and passion, and I think that’s what is the most delicate part about love.
But the question remains: who the hell is the titular Theo?! Panther isn’t telling. “I know a lot of people are going to ask, “Who is Theo?”, and to me… well. I like that it’s a secret,” he adds.
“THEO” came together by accident. “I was in Australia on a writing trip and on the first day I was feeling unwell and tested positive for COVID,” Panther explains. “Although I was gutted about having to cancel some of my writing sessions, by chance I was so lucky to have been self-isolating in a room with a piano (despite being old and out of tune).
“Tarn – the song’s producer – sent me a beat with funky guitars and (I) immediately fell in love with the groove and movement. I sat at the piano playing along to the beat and wrote the pre-chorus in just a few minutes.”
You can listen to the song below. A Connor Lambert-directed music video is also on the way soon.
Now settled in London, “THEO” signals the beginning of a new chapter in Panther’s life and career. He released an EP, why don’t you come over? (which featured previous Song You Need to Know entry “SKI LIFT 001”), last year, and if “WEEKEND AT BERNIES” and “THEO” are to feature on a debut full-length, that potential record is shaping up nicely.
Jack Panther’s “THEO” is out now.