Introducing Interview: Tina Boonstra

Having previously charmed our ears with her heartwarming 2020 EP, City Of Doubt, and received acclaim from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson and BBC Introducing, alt-pop artist Tina Boonstra has now returned with a beautiful new single. A stirring reflection on female friendships and how life rarely meets your expectations, ‘Martha’ flows with lilting melodies and a shimmering, heartfelt lyricism, showcasing the raw, immersive emotion of Boonstra’s vocals.

We caught up with Tina Boonstra to find out more about what inspires her and her experience of the industry… Have a read, and listen to ‘Martha‘ now!

Hi Tina, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m an artist based just outside of London. I’m really interested in songs that tell stories, and I’ve been trying to write them since I was a kid.

How did you initially start creating music?
I think I was eleven or twelve when I wrote my first song. My sister played guitar at the time so I tried to get her to work out the chords to play along, but she couldn’t figure them out. That’s when I started playing guitar. After that I just kept on writing new songs, and that fuelled me to practice playing. I was never really very interested in playing covers – it was the writing that really excited me and still does now

Your new single ‘Martha’ is out now – can you tell us what it’s all about?
It’s a story about getting to know someone. And how first impressions aren’t always that accurate., When you meet someone for the first time, you almost never start at the beginning. You start somewhere in the middle and travel simultaneously forwards and backwards together as you begin to build a picture of who they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going. The way this song developed, it took me by surprise; it takes a pretty dark turn when Martha starts telling her story. But I suppose that’s true for a lot of us – there’s the self we show when we meet someone, but then over time we share more of the things that have shaped us, the good stuff and the hard stuff. 

You’ve been compared to the likes of Regina Spektor and Sam Fender, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
I love songs that tell a story. So artists like Sheryl Crow and Fleetwood Mac have really had a big influence on me over the past few years. 

How is your local music scene? Do you go to see lots of live music?
It’s been difficult over the past few years, but it’s exciting to see things start to happen again. There’s this incredible record store not far from where I live called LP Cafe. It’s a tiny place, but they host some great events, they do a lot to support the local scene and they make a mean flat white too.

And what can fans expect from your live shows?
I love playing these songs live – there’s nothing like the energy of a room full of people singing songs you wrote in your bedroom. Expect all the emotion, joy, pain, heartache that you hear on the record times a hundred. Expect to dance, sing, cry and maybe even make some new friends. 

As we’re a new music focused site, are there any new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
I’m really looking forward to hearing Nadine Yomi‘s new EP – she’s just released a new single, ‘Bloom’. I love her songwriting and her voice. Definitely go and check her out.

And how do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
The times when I’ve focused on making music instead of ‘making it’ in music have always been a lot more fun for me. As an artist I have an amazing opportunity to introduce fans of my music to other great artists. I love curating nights, sharing great music with people I love and giving other artists the opportunity to share their story. I think if we could do more of that as artists, the better the world would be. 

Finally, what does the rest of 2022 have in store for Tina Boonstra?
I’m working on an album at the moment. It’s my first one, and I’m very excited about it. There are a lot of stories to tell. Mostly stories of older women, which kind of surprised me in the writing process, but I hope it will connect people. Also, me and my band are playing at Between the Trees Festival later this month!

Massive thanks to Tina for answering our questions!

EP: Tina Boonstra – ‘City Of Doubt’

London-based singer-songwriter Tina Boonstra has just released her latest EP City of Doubt, featuring six powerful alt-pop songs. As a songwriter from a missionary family, Tina has honed her craft, bringing her songs to a wider audience, offering depth and emotional intensity; all of which can be heard in this new EP.

EP opener ‘Out of My Depth’ is a rage against the universe, with a stop-start rhythm, and a contrasting chorus. Similarly, title track ‘City of Doubt’ expresses the alienation of the daily grind using an industrial synth sound, but this time there is light and a feeling of rising above (“we’ll make it through’’).

The slower songs on the EP provide a balance, offering the listener a chance to reflect. ‘What is the Rush?’ reassures us that “this life is not a straight line… Beauty you’ll find as you go.” The lyrically beautiful ‘I Love you like Sunshine in Bangor’ has a dreamlike, cinematic quality, offering a “love that is honest in every way” as the sound of the organ drifts into the distance. ‘More Than Your Head’ and ‘Talk it Over’ are infectious, upbeat sing-alongs, which explore the power of community and authentic friendship. 

Overall, the themes of the EP come full-circle, from starting alone and in doubt, and finishing with being a part of a supportive community. It has a positive message, and we all need that, now more than ever. A collection of songs that will leave you seeking out more.

City Of Doubt is out now.

Fi Ni Aicead

LISTEN: Tina Boonstra – ‘Out Of My Depth’

Tina Boonstra is the pop-rock star we’ve been needing since the end of the noughties. Her new track, ’Out Of My Depth’, is one to keep you on your toes, as she reflects on trying to keep it together.

Punchy bass and percussion set the scene, keeping it simple and sweet, yet with an added grit. The first chorus is artistically contrasting as the instruments continue to support Boonstra minimally, whilst she sings “I’m out of my depth…”

As the song progresses, you gradually go deeper and deeper into Boonstra’s emotions, as the instrumentals backing her up become more and more complex. Soft harmonies tie you in, and bold guitar chords take you under. And, just when you think she’s coming up for air, another wave hits you with the final chorus.

Needless to say, if I ever need to let off some steam, Tina Boonstra is the girl I’m turning to… And with her next show coming up in April, you will most likely see me there.


‘Out Of My Depth’ is out now. Catch Tina Boonstra live on the following dates:

20th March – Green Note, London (supporting Alessi’s Ark)
29th April – The Shacklewell Arms, London (supporting Annabel Allum)

Robyn Emerson

WATCH: Tina Boonstra – ‘I Think I See You Now’

Monochrome visuals and meaningful lyrics unite on Tina Boonstra‘s new video for her single ‘I Think I See You Now’. Directed and shot by David Pardoe, the track is taken from her debut EP My Concrete Heart (Will Beat Again), which was released earlier this year via 7Core Music.

Introspective, understated and honest; Tina’s vocal delivery compliments the delicately shot footage that accompanies the song. Inspired by the likes of Wolf Alice and Arcade Fire, the London-based artist writes in a vulnerable, yet determined vein. Tina’s musical style may have been intended for the halls of churches (she was raised in a Christian missionary family), but it’s clear her sound was meant to echo further.

She’ll be playing a headline gig at The Hope and Anchor on October 25th with a full band, so head down to the show to experience her sound in its full glory. Watch the video for ‘I Think I See You Now’ below, and follow Tina Boonstra on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington