Tina Boonstra grew up as a songwriter in a missionary family. She expected her songs to find their home in the church halls she was so familiar with, but it wasn’t until she began performing on the London open mic circuit that she cut her teeth as a performer and honed her craft into a treasure trove of songs with a depth and emotional intensity reminiscent of Damien Rice, PJ Harvey and John Mark McMillan.
‘When I started songwriting I wrote about a lot of different things, but in the back of my mind I always thought that I’d end up writing for churches. Then when I got older I started showing this music to people but no one seemed very interested in what I was writing and so I was left with a notebook full of songs that weren’t being sung by anyone. Eventually I decided that if no one was going to sing my songs in church I’d go and find somewhere else to play them. So I started playing open mic and acoustic nights in and around London. I started off playing the few pop songs I’d written but I slowly realised that I wanted to sing about more than that. I wanted to sing about what it was like to live in a city that is constantly asking for more and more of you and at the same time telling you, you’re not enough. I wanted to sing about faith and doubt, and the very real struggle to feel anything apart from completely numb.’
My Concrete Heart (Will Beat Again) EP
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From the haunting tones of “Prodigal,” to the evermore intimate and stripped back second single “I Think I See You Now,” My Concrete Heart (Will Beat Again) takes a journey into vulnerability that is as unique as it is moving. Increasing in intensity, “Only a Human” briefly moves away from the introspective theme to tell the story of a suicide bomber but comes to a sudden end as the vocals whisper into thin air, ‘I’m only a human, only a human’. The title track, Concrete Heart draws inspiration from the likes of Wolf Alice and Arcade Fire. It’s a driving anthem with a pounding beat and a melody that will stick with you for days.
There is a physicality in the music. Skin, bones and cement blocks ground this work, in an urban landscape, yet these songs, though tethered to the physical world, rise like prayers whispered in lonely rooms. My Concrete Heart (Will Beat Again) is an intricate six track EP, and surely only a taste of what’s to come from this exciting and unique artist.