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Theia Returns to Stylish Alt-Pop on New Single, ‘Crucified By U’

It’s the singer-songwriter’s second single of the year, following the much more gentle ‘Pray 4 Me’


Nas Nixx

After a temporary retreat into wonderful introspection last year to celebrate her Māori heritage, Em-Haley Walker is firmly back in stylish alt-pop territory as Theia in 2023.

Her second single of the year, “Crucified By U”, released today, comes just a few days after Theia joined the one and only Peaches at Auckland’s Powerstation; listening to the song, it sounds like the type of brashly unapologetic pop that the Canadian icon wouldn’t mind being in her own repertoire.

“Crucified By U” also arrives at the ideal time, with Theia set to perform at Big Gay Out 2023 next month, and expect her addictive new single to be happily received by the festival crowd.

It’s not been all dizzying energy in the first months of the year from the singer-songwriter, though, with her previous single, “Pray 4 Me”, setting up a lovely dichotomy: where “Crucified By U” goes hard, “Pray 4 Me” pares proceedings back, allowing a twinkling piano to gently lead the song.

“Pray 4 Me” skews much closer to Walker’s work last year as TE KAAHU, which saw release one of the most beautiful debut albums in recent memory with Te Kaahu O Rangi.

“Drawing from a deep well of personal meaning, the singer-songwriter’s beautiful te reo Māori compositions is the work of an artist creating with pure purpose,” Rolling Stone AU/NZ wrote in its countdown of The Best New Zealand Albums of 2022.

“The collection of powerful waiata are vulnerable, open-hearted and tender, and seeing TE KAAHU perform them inside Auckland’s Pitt Street Church at The Others Way was a cathartic experience.”

As TE KAAHU, Walker performed three of her powerful waiata – “E Taku Huia Kaimanawa”, “Rangirara” and “Taupiri” – Rolling Stone AU/NZ’s ‘In My Room’ series last year. Such was the power of her performance, the ‘In My Room’ performance was subsequently made available on streaming platforms.

Theia’s “Crucified By U” is out now.