Toby Graham: "Boroky"


Toby grew up in Canberra, becoming interested in music from the tender age of six when his mother encouraged him to take part in a musical theatre production of "Peter Pan". 

At 13, Toby along with friends started a band called "Dramatic Effect" and they started performing. He realised early on that being part of this group meant that he could create music-- like his favourite musicians that he spent so much of his time listening to.  

All of their peers thought they were very cool and that was also the age Toby bought his first CD, which was Miles Davis’ "Sketches of Spain". It "blew [my] mind," he says.  

When Toby was older, he moved to Melbourne for university. He later went to Sydney where he met his girlfriend at a choir camp there, both being musicians. He stayed in Sydney for two years.

Toby is truly multi-talented: a singer, and player of the piano, guitar and drums. 
He states that his style is a mix between alternative pop and alternative rock, with the additional influence of jazz. Further inspirations come from James Blake, Radiohead, and Thundercat.

So why France?

Toby moved to France for love. Because... i
sn't that the best reason to move to Paris?

Photo Credit: Instagram

Well actually, there had been a slight conundrum... because his girlfriend, a composer and artist, was going to Paris to study a master's degree- whether he was coming or not. 

Toby decided to follow her to Paris. This was in September, 2021.

They were then married in July last year in Sydney before returning to France

Photo Credit: Provided by Toby Graham
A stunning photo of the happy couple

How is living in "The City of Lights"?

As a musician, Toby is thrilled that he made the decision to come to Paris. The music scene is incredible, especially when it comes to jazz. He believes that the standard of music-making is more appreciated and sophisticated than back home. 

The people of Paris seem to have a different interpretation of art. Toby is what you could say is an eccentric artist (personally, I love eccentricity), so he says that being in Paris makes him feel more easily understood and "... less like an alien" than back in Australia due to this.

In order to subsidise his music and gigs, Toby provides private lessons in singing, piano and guitar. The rest of the time he spends in his apartment with his time dedicated to writing, recording and producing music of "... the wildest, deepest, and most beautiful music [I] can manage". Toby also creates videos and podcasts, which he shares on social media. 

Photo Credit: Instagram

What are Toby's future plans for music?

In Paris, Toby is doing well for himself. He is known also as Boroky. Toby is performing at shows and has participating in tours. 

He recently released an EP called DNA Kisses. He performs as "Boroky" in a trio with Denis Pitalua and Fabien Blondet, who are two impressive French musicians.

He also has a show coming up with Belgian band, Louis Louis on the 1st March, 2023 at "Les Disquaires": 6 Rue des Taillandiers, 75011.

The thing that Toby dislikes the most about France is pretty typical for expats... the dreaded French bureaucracy. He also adds, "the way the sun sometimes disappears for long stretches". 

Could it be possible? Could Paris really be the "Melbourne of France"?

On the other side, Toby admires French culture, finding people more artistically expressive and direct. He feels they also tend to be generous and warm towards him. Especially fellow creatives and artistic-minded individuals.  

Video credit: YouTube

Life can be more difficult here in France than in Australia because of the unmistakeable barriers of being in a foreign country and learning a foreign language, visa requirements, and the long and sometimes non-sensical processes ("haven't I heard this before?"). Despite this, Toby and his wife feel they have now worked out most of the kinks so they are contented with this French life. 

However, the typical "gig banter" as Toby calls it is more difficult to grapple with in French!

Toby finds the market for musicians infinitely richer in France. He suggests that this could be due to the overall density and population but also the proximity to other European countries.

There is a strong concentration on creativity, artistry and night life in Paris. 

For example, Toby's last show attracted 150 people, which was just about triple the number of attendees of his most successful shows in Australia. 

"This is amazing for me career wise" 

He admits that his lyrics tend to be quite strange and exploratory... sometimes biblical. One song depicts Mother Mary as an alcoholic trying to feed Christ liquor all the while he is wrapped in elephant skin... Just the usual, you know.

Toby describes his music as a form of poetry and is in fact also the author of two short poetry books, which he sells at his performances:

"Boroky: Poems I" and "Boroky Poems: II", both of which are also available online. He describes his poetic themes to be " the same vein" as his lyrics. 

Toby sees a bright future ahead of him in France and he is improving his French one step at a time, so he can return to his 'ol bantering with fellow musicians and fans.

Video credit: YouTube

Find Toby aka Boroky Music here: