If there’s a name that you are bound to hear on the radio any time soon, that name is ROONIE – or more specifically, Michaela Pointon.

The 19-year-old has recently re-established herself on the NZ music scene as pop artist ROONIE – complete with her debut release My Heart, a vibrant track that matches her bright personality to a tee. I sat down with ROONIE to chat music, inspiration and her goals for the future.

The past year has been one of significant change and growth — in particular, the shift from releasing music as ‘Michaela Pointon’ to ‘ROONIE’.

“The change to ROONIE was really because I wanted to create a brand and image around my music – in a way that I could become separate from my music”, she explained to me. “Having an artist name allows me to have broader creativity”.

It appears that the name change truly marks a shift in Michaela’s life – not only as an artist, but an individual; “I realised music under my name, Michaela Pointon, in my last year of high school, that wasn’t quite the sound that I want to be anymore”, Michaela explains.

“I liked that idea that I’d never met a human called ROONIE – it’s not super feminine but it’s also not super masculine and I really liked that. It feels really right. I’m totally cool with people calling me ROONIE, which was a big part of the decision”.

It’s clear that the shift to ROONIE marks a milestone in Michaela’s young career – and this can very clearly be seen in the release of her debut single My Heart; a reflective and explosive synth-pop track that tells the story of a girl in the big city.

Click to listen

“I wrote My Heart in Taupo [my hometown] – the song is very much about self-discovery in a new city. When I moved to Auckland, I felt quite alone because it was so big. [My Heart is] about the heartbreaks of moving away from people, my home and learning to stand on my own feet again”.

While My Heart’s heavy pop sound has a distinct ROONIE sound, Michaela credits much of her inspiration for the track to her musical influences: “I am so inspired by other people’s music. Whatever music I am listening to at that time inspires me to write in that way. My jam at the moment is Maggie Rodgers – her album is insane! My Heart was particularly inspired by her song Light On”.

Evidently, My Heart’s distinct sound was curated by Michaela with the help of a talented team. 

“I wrote the song, and then my producer Dan Sharp and I reconstructed the track. We then took it to Geoff One were we got some more production done. Thomas Oliver mixed it, and we got Chris Chetland to master it!”

“We spent a couple of days in the studio with lots of emails back and forth and lots of dropbox files. It was so fun!”.

Following My Heart’s release, Michaela also dropped a music video for the track; a colourful and emotive piece directed by videographer Christian Tjandrawinata.

[Tjandrawinata] is incredibly talented!” Michaela explains; “He came up with the idea for the video – every shot, every frame we needed – and we collaborated”.

“The colours of the video are very much colours of ROONIE. We were up until 2am filming it – we even set the fire alarm off in the building because of the haze machine!”, she laughs.

And as for the future?

“My plan is to have about 3 more singles come out, then an EP, and then a New Zealand tour, but because of COVID-19, everything got pushed back. We just want to create as much traction and build ROONIE as an artist!’

If anything, ROONIE’s unapologetic authenticity truly sets her apart as an artist. Her passion for her music is undeniable. Michaela’s clearly got drive, and I’ve definitely got a feeling that her passion will push her into major musical success.

“It always comes back to the music for me. I just love performing, and I love songwriting. I feel very determined”.

Feisty, always up for a debate and smashing down the patriarchy, ZOE MILLS is a politics nerd with a huge passion for social justice. Keep up with her antics on Instagram: @zoeemills_