All about her roots

Al­bum tells life story

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By TALIA CARLISLE

In­ter­na­tional mu­si­cian Lole Usoali’i-Hickey still calls Porirua home, de­spite run­ning a suc­cess­ful record la­bel in Samoa.

The Porirua- raised artist is record­ing her third bilin­gual al­bum in Wellington. It is ex­pected to be re­leased next year.

She said the al­bum, The Story Teller, was a cul­mi­na­tion of 15 years’ work and told the jour­ney of her life.

‘‘I grew up singing and play­ing Samoan mu­sic, so for me that was kind of like a nat­u­ral love.

‘‘It wasn’t main­stream that kind of mu­sic. You could only hear that stuff on the com­mu­nity ra­dios.’’

Usoali’i-Hickey was one of the first Pa­cific artists to find suc­cess in New Zealand’s mu­sic in­dus­try in the 1990s.

In 1995, she re­leased five sin­gles with Papa Pa­cific/Warner Mu­sic.

She won the Tui Mu­sic Award for most promis­ing fe­male vo­cal­ist two years later.

But the R& B- style mu­sic en­cour­aged by the la­bel was not her pas­sion.

In 2004, she moved to Samoa and set up her own record la­bel, Roots Down, fo­cus­ing on tra­di­tional Samoan mu­sic.

Her suc­cesses have con­tin­ued to grow. She won best fe­male artist at the Pa­cific Is­land Mu­sic Awards in 2008 and best Poly­ne­sian fe­male artist world­wide at the first Poly­ne­sian Mu­sic Awards, in Los An­ge­les in 2012.

Usoali’i-Hickey is ea­ger to sup­port ris­ing Samoan artists in New Zealand and Samoa, feel­ing it helps to keep the cul­ture alive.

‘‘A lot of Samoans now, the new gen­er­a­tion, some of them can’t even speak Samoan,’’ she said.

‘‘So it’s re­ally im­por­tant for me that our lan­guage and our cul­ture is ev­i­dent in how we pass it on to our kids.’’

In 2004, she was a found­ing mem­ber of the Pa­cific Is­land Mu­sic Awards in New Zealand. She also founded the Samoan Mu­sic Awards in 2010.

Photo: TALIA CARLISLE

At home: Samoan singer Lole Usoali’i-Hickey out­side her fam­ily home in Porirua.

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