Dark Electro Artist I Ya Toyah Shows Softer Side On Haunting New Acoustic EP ‘Ghosts’

Electro-pop singer, composer, and performer I Ya Toyah has been called a lot of things – a “one woman army,” “fierce advocate,” and even “flaming red haired supreme chanteuse,” to name a few. And after listening to her powerful music, it all seems to ring true.

Born in Poland as Ania Tarnowska, the Chicago-based artist has been shaking up the music scene with her bold presence and prideful independence. Often referred to as “a movement,” Tarnowska is truly a one-woman show who holds her own.

She herself guides every aspect of her own career as a musician, singer, composer, producer, remix artist, and performer. Her work typically combines elements of industrial pop, electro, and alternative rock with her own emotional and personal lyrics to create unconventional work that expresses an explosion of badass personality.

I Ya Toyah released her first single in 2018, and has since then continued to pump out her unique music, the latest being her three-song EP – Ghosts – which released exclusively on Bandcamp October 28th. 

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Ghosts is a stylistic departure from her previous work, as this is stripped down and acoustic. This EP replaces her customary use of harsh electronic noise with a single piano and the haunting sound of her beautiful voice, combined to create this acoustic and deeply intimate re-imagining of previous songs of hers. 

“Countless music industry professionals have tried to put boundaries on me and the music THEY think I should be making,” Tarnowska explains. “Many have even advised against releasing something as musically different as Ghosts. But I have more than one color, and more than one dimension. And for me, being able to express the entire array of human emotions is one of the most satisfying parts of making music.”

The first song on the EP, “Time Machine”, kicks off the album with I Ya Toyah’s deeply expressive vocals. Her expansive vocal range is front and center, and no doubt leaves the listener entranced and enthralled. The lyrics describe the anxiety and desperation of running out of time, as she sings, “We need a time machine,”- a possible allusion to climate change, as she often advocates for social and environmental justice in her work.

The second song on the EP, “Pray,” is the more audibly mellow of the three tracks, yet still showcases her impressive range. The lyrics of this piece express a situation of an individual in a dark and hopeless place, as the melancholy lyrics reflect, “All I’ve ever known / Is dying within / All that I’ve wanted / I watch disappear.”

The third and final song of the EP, “Code Blue”, is the most intense of the tracks. This song has a similar message to “Pray”, as it describes the raw human experience of an individual suffering in a desperate place, with I Ya Toyah singing, “Code blue / Don’t save me / Code blue / Let me go.” 

“This EP is a celebration of the independent spirit, and the freedom to create that has been the backbone of I Ya Toyah from the very beginning,” Tarnowska says. 15% of all physical album sales go to aid Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Cause, promoting the 988 Crisis Line.

With the release of this vocally expansive and deeply emotional EP, I Ya Toyah expresses a new side to her work and further displays her versatility. There is little doubt that this one-woman army will only continue to break down barriers in the music industry and carve her own unique path. 

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