Last updated
Birth nameAnthony Jeffrey
Born (1949-02-17) February 17, 1949 (age 72)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • visual artist
  • upholsterer
InstrumentsGuitar, bass, keyboards, vocals
Years active1983–present

Anthony Jeffrey (born February 17, 1949), also known as Tonetta, is a Canadian singer-songwriter and visual artist [3] who, in the early 1980s, began living as a recluse and recording original music on cassettes after separating from his wife. [4] In 2008, he started his first YouTube channel, which led to his record label debut. [4] His YouTube account, as well as many subsequent accounts established under other usernames, have been banned repeatedly for violating the site's content rules. [2]


Critics have variously described Tonetta as "the savior of lo-fi music", "a pure artist", and a combination of "repulsion and intrigue". [5] In the description of music writer Johnny Dee, "For every YouTube comment that finds Tonetta hilarious or repellent there are dozens from people who have discovered that, beyond the shock value, is a genuine outsider pop artist." [1] Tonetta is best known for his song "Pressure Zone". As of 2017, the music video was viewed over 2 million times on YouTube. [6]

According to Jeffrey, "Tonetta" refers more specifically to his female alter ego. [7] He said that many of his songs are inspired by real life people or incidents [4] and cited John Lennon as his primary influence. [8] Of his music tastes, he said: "I like the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson. I followed soul artists. ... After [Lennon] died, I didn't know who to follow anymore. It was around then I started writing anyway so it kinda worked out." [4]

Personal life

As of 2011, Jeffrey lived in Toronto, Ontario as a part-time upholsterer. He was previously married to a woman, until 1983, and has two sons. [4] He has not talked to his wife or seen his children since 1983, when his sons were eight and 10 years old respectively. One of his sons reconnected with him by email shortly after Jeffrey began posting music to YouTube in 2008, but stopped writing once Tonetta began "puttin’ on the dresses and stuff." [9]


South California rock band, The Growlers, has covered Jeffrey's song, "Drugs, Drugs, Drugs", during various live performances, notably their 2012 Coachella setlist. [10] Prior to reaching commercial success of their own, The Growlers had performed on stage with Jeffrey, on February 18, 2011, at the Show Cave in Los Angeles, California. [1] [11] In 2014, Jeffrey featured on Hot Oinks, an album by Sacramento experimental lo-fi hip hop group, Period Tears. [12] Jeffrey now frequently puts out singles on his Bandcamp account. [13]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Dee, Johnny (July 16, 2010). "Taking over YouTube: the irresistible rise of Tonetta". The Guardian .
  2. 1 2 3 Weiss, Jeff (February 17, 2011). "Upcoming: The Growlers interpret the bizarre songs of Tonetta". Los Angeles Times .
  3. Nickas, Bob (1 November 2010). "Tonetta".
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Traynor, Cian (December 6, 2011). "Hitler Would Have Loved You: Tonetta Interviewed". The Quietus .
  5. Martins, Chris (February 16, 2011). "NSFW YouTube Freak Phenom Tonetta Comes to L.A. ... Sorta". LA Weekly .
  6. "tonetta_pressure_zone - YouTube". 2017-07-11. Archived from the original on 2017-07-11. Retrieved 2017-07-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. Finn, Liam (March 9, 2014). "Tonetta". Magnet .
  8. Frith, Anthony (December 7, 2011). "TONETTA-THE YOUTUBE SENSATION YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF". Infectious.
  9. "The Quietus | Features | A Quietus Interview | Hitler Would Have Loved You: Tonetta Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 2019-12-22.
  10. "Coachella 2012 - The Growlers - Weekend 1 - Day 3 - Outdoor Theatre "Drugs, Drugs, Drugs"". Youtube.
  11. "The Growlers Archive". Tumblr. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  12. "A Girl Named Beatrice, Period Tears Featuring Tonetta". Genius. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  13. "TONETTA 777". TONETTA 777. Retrieved 2020-12-07.