She’s been de­scribed as the kuia of hip-hop in Aotearoa and 2018 has been an epic year for the artist, dom­i­nat­ing the Pa­cific Mu­sic Awards and em­bark­ing on a na­tional tour. Ladi6 talks can­didly with Sarah Daniell, about life, fam­ily and her hopes for 2019

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Ladi6 talks can­didly with Sarah Daniell about life, fam­ily and her hopes for 2019

You have been given the con­tract to pro­vide the Christ­mas playlist at all shop­ping malls. Thank you for sav­ing us. What tracks would you choose — mu­sic to go Christ­mas shop­ping to? Mariah Carey — All I Want for Christ­mas.

Then I’d play Lau­ryn Hill’s Mise­d­u­ca­tion of

Lau­ryn Hill — first five songs of the al­bum singing, danc­ing and rap­ping round the mall. Lost Ones, Ex-Fac­tor, To Zion, Doo Wop (that thing) and Su­per­star.

The rev­o­lu­tion will prob­a­bly not start in a shop­ping mall, but what does rev­o­lu­tion mean to you in 2018 — a quiet, per­sonal turn­ing-pointrev­o­lu­tion; a shift in an is­sue for the pub­lic good?

I think I’m in the phase of my life — I’m

38 — when you start to re­ally not give a shit about all the funny lit­tle things that you cared about be­fore. Every year around this time I’d go on this re­ally tragic diet, be­cause sum­mer shows were com­ing and I’d be overly con­cerned about pho­tos and how I was go­ing to be per­ceived by the pub­lic. Now I just don’t give a shit. And I think this year has be­come clear to me it’s about my con­fi­dence. I’m not striv­ing for it or read­ing about it. In my 20s I was try­ing to find it and now I just have it. Who cares? Re­ally, who cares? What does it re­ally f***in’ mat­ter when you get that true feel­ing in­side, it just ex­udes and peo­ple go, “I dunno what it is about her. She’s been around for­ever, but now ... all of a sud­den I re­ally dig her.” It’s ac­tu­ally like us in our photo shoot — I used to be so con­cerned. Is my dress right? Is my hair right? Now I’m just slot­ting you in be­tween a sound check, and let’s do it! It feels like a rev­o­lu­tion for me. For women it feels like a re­bel­lious act to not give a shit any­more.

Isn’t that weird. In this world of so­cial me­dia — that it’s a re­bel­lious act to say “I don’t f***in’ care what I look like. This is who I am.” And ac­tu­ally every other woman will know this.

Do you have a happy re­la­tion­ship with so­cial me­dia?

I have a happy one now but I had a hard one for a long time — I was self-con­scious. But other women need to see other women not car­ing so much. Other women need to see all dif­fer­ent body types. Say­ing, hey check this out, I’m a bit chunky but it’s all f***in’ good. I’m not scared of the cam­era. I’m not scared to say my opin­ion. I think it’s vi­tal — more to­day than ever be­fore.

Hold Tight ... what will you hold tight to this year and what will you let go of in 2019?

I’m go­ing to hold tight to my pur­pose — I have re­ally found that. This is not a mis­take. I’ve al­ways had that fraud thing, im­poster syn­drome, be­cause I’m not Aaradhna and I can’t sing like that ... I can’t sing like Mariah or Whit­ney so how have I even man­aged to get here? Now I re­ally know there is a cer­tain thing about me ... that isn’t straight Ari­ana Grande ... it doesn’t mat­ter. I know what I am. Every­one needs that. It’s my life pur­pose to strike a lit­tle idea of that in every­one I meet. Bai­ley Wi­ley said, “Girl, I hope one day I can write love songs like you. All your songs are love songs, eh?” I was like, “No. What are you talkin’ about — they’re po­lit­i­cal, ha ha!” But ac­tu­ally they are all songs about love and hope — all the mes­sages I must’ve wanted to hear, and if I need to hear it, some­one else prob­a­bly needs to hear it too. I feel like it’s al­ways been there and I’ve fi­nally ac­knowl­edged that is my life’s pur­pose — I’ll take that with me into 2019 and into for­ever and that will be my an­chor.

And things I’m go­ing to let go of ... just old silly young ideas of who I thought I needed to be and — whoosh — let that go — it’s so sim­ple. Isn’t that funny?

The Lib­er­a­tion Of ... what per­son, idea or peo­ple or thing do you want to see lib­er­ated from its shack­les next year?

Oh my God, my mum. I wish I could lib­er­ate my mum so bad. She and my dad di­vorced years ago. But ... she feels this guilt about us, her kids. She hasn’t let go of this. She di­vorced my dad so long ago and can’t divorce him in her heart. As a child you wish ... as a go get­ter and am­bi­tious per­son, I’m like, “Come on Mum, f*** him, who cares?” I love my dad. I don’t want to talk shit about him. He’s the great­est. But I’m just like, “Come on, move on.” She’s like, “You are the child — don’t tell me. I know you’re Miss Ladi6 and you do your songs of love and hope, but I was mar­ried for 35 years and you don’t just break up and for­get about that.” She’s ac­tu­ally bril­liant. She taught me ev­ery­thing I know about busi­ness, am­bi­tion, a hard work ethic. I just wish she had bet­ter luck in love and just that she was lib­er­ated from her old-school think­ing about mar­riage. It hasn’t served her.

Do you feel a height­ened sense of fa­mil­ial re­spon­si­bil­ity — at this time of year it’s mag­ni­fied — but do you al­ways?

Al­ways. I’m Samoan too so it’s part of the cul­ture. But also I come from a full-on back­ground of al­co­hol and drugs; an abu­sive long line of ex­tended whanau. So if you are out there be­ing suc­cess­ful you have to help your fam­ily.

You don’t drink any­more?

I don’t any­more, nah. That’s how I got my ca­reer, be­ing that drunk girl. Woo hoo — bring out the mi­cro­phone I’m in the build­ing! It re­ally kick-started my ca­reer — by be­ing that girl. And then it went over the level when I moved to Welling­ton and it was like “Oh God, I saw you last week and you were like ... ooh.”

What’s it like get­ting on stage, not hav­ing that?

It took me a good cou­ple of years. I had some re­ally good help through it. Kody and Ruban [Niel­son] — their dad Chris is a re­cov­er­ing

al­co­holic who was re­ally good at giv­ing me tips be­cause you know what, I ac­tu­ally can’t do this with­out some help and ad­vice. If your job is to party, how do you end the party with­out af­fect­ing every­one — and the creative process — it feels like that’s all part of it. And if you take that away, aren’t you just a square that doesn’t know shit? You know what I mean?

It’s a big part of our cul­ture — we are awash in it — par­tic­u­larly right now

Yeah, but I’ve re­alised that I am a party girl — I can party with­out it. At Fat Freddy’s, I dance the whole time on stage any­way.

Has it changed the way you see your per­for­mances? Your­self as a per­former?

I can re­mem­ber gigs. Ha! That helps.

Time Is Not Much — but what would you pay to have more of it?

I’m happy with my time. I wouldn’t buy more time. I’m look­ing for­ward to think­ing about re­tir­ing. I’m done. I like how much time I’ve had so far and I’m look­ing for­ward to my old age — and not do­ing this any­more and do­ing other things.

Di­a­monds — or pearls?

My favourite song. Di­a­monds, of course. Al­ways Di­a­monds.

Like Wa­ter ... what is your favourite el­e­ment ?

Wa­ter. I’m a Pa­cific Is­land girl. I’m al­ways drawn to be­ing in the wa­ter, by the wa­ter. Wa­ter is a calm­ing thing for me. I don’t live far from Pt Chev so it’s just a walk to the wa­ter.

Mu­sic has the power to do what for you?

Sus­tain my fam­ily, tell the truth, spread im­por­tant mes­sages to help heal, to serve as an es­cape and add pure, unadul­ter­ated joy into our lives.

If you were a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment what would you be? Who would play you?

I have never thought about. I think I’d be a rock gui­tar, and Jimi Hen­drix. I love that sound. Even though weirdly we never have gui­tar. For I dunno how long. But I love that sound.

Do you have a venue that you feel like you’ve come home to ?

It’s not the venue — it’s the kind of gig when you don’t have a pre-set show. It’s all just “make it up in your mind and let it out”. I have an affin­ity with that — I want to do that all the time. When the songs are re­ally ar­ranged or struc­tured and it be­comes more per­for­mance — it’s not nat­u­ral, it can feel like, “What is the next thing I have to say? No no, f*** that’s right.” And it starts to get con­fus­ing. But that’s when I’m freestyling and feel­ing the vibe — that is when I feel like I’m at home, that is the sweet spot. Every mu­si­cian is try­ing to chase their teenage love of how they came into mu­sic and that was mine: just freestyling, ad-lib­bing. It was gor­geous. I was a fiend for get­ting up there on a whim and en­ter­tain­ing who­ever was there. That’s my home.

You have said that you and Parks, your part­ner, are op­po­sites. For most peo­ple that would cre­ate the point of con­flict but you’ve been to­gether about 17 years — so it works?

Oh, we ar­gue like cats and dogs about every thing. We have been to­gether since I was 21 — con­stantly ar­gu­ing over ev­ery­thing — the way we raise our son, the way we speak at home, and we haven’t learnt. It’s a lie, haha! Every­one says that — “Oh youse guys are soooo beau­ti­ful the way you are just meant for each other” — [David] Dal­las even said it when we were on tour. Even me say­ing that, Parks would hate that — he would say, “We love each other and will be to­gether for­ever, what are you talk­ing about” — that is what he would like me to say but I’m like, “Dude, we ar­gue about ev­ery­thing.” But the things we do agree on, the core value stuff, around our cre­ativ­ity — keeps us to­gether. We have such a strong, strong, strong idea about where our cre­ativ­ity comes from. It’s the fore­front of our re­la­tion­ship, about be­ing pro­gres­sive and it’s al­ways about that. It’s never about stay­ing in the one spot and get­ting the pay cheque.

When I Re­turn ... in 2019 —what would you like to achieve for you and your fam­ily?

I’d like to achieve a sense of em­pow­er­ment in my teenage son, up-skill him with real life skills like how to deal with his emo­tions and com­mu­ni­cate his thoughts and feel­ings clearly to oth­ers, while be­ing ca­pa­ble of cook­ing and clean­ing in his home.

Good­day — starts how and ends how...?

Starts with a full night’s rest and ends with a cud­dle.

Outta Time ... but what’s Christ­mas look­ing like for you and your fam­ily?

This year I have it all or­gan­ised. I have sched­uled up a whole lot of stuff for us to do. We are go­ing all the way up to the north, then Ro­torua and Taupo, then I’m back for Won­der­gar­den. Then it’s all go-go-go to April. WON­DER­GAR­DEN, NEW YEAR’S EVE, SILO PARK, AUCK­LAND. WON­DER­GAR­DEN.CO.NZ PRINTED AND DIS­TRIB­UTED BY PRESS­READER Press­ +1 604 278 4604 . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY ORIG­I­NAL COPY COPY­RIGHT AND PRO­TECTED BY AP­PLI­CA­BLE LAW

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