Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of your first album, Drive. I attended your concert at the Civic last night and my breath was truly taken away by the experience. There was something so beguiling about hearing songs so familiar, yet so new when played live again.
“Rain fall from concrete colored skies, no boy don’t speak now, you just drive.”
Drive came out in 1997 and I was 16 at the time. I was an awkward teenager but instantly found solace in your music. I remember buying the EP and album on CD and playing the songs over and over again. A 16 year old boy doesn’t readily announce their feelings, so I guess your music translated some of the emotions I was experiencing. I also recall the calm, gentle tone of your voice.
My older sisters also fell in love with your music and we all would play ‘Sway’ on repeat… “don’t stray, don’t ever go away.. I should be much to smart for this, I know it gets the better of me sometimes…” My sisters were at the age where they were dating, so no doubt the lyrics resonated with them!
When I look back now, I believe you represented someone we could relate to. There were few local Kiwi artists of mixed ethnicity at that time, so as Kiwis of Samoan-Chinese descent, you looked like similar to us and this made us appreciate you even more (gotta love the camaraderie between South Pacific cultures!).
Your lyrics were honest and provided great role-modelling for me, especially as I grew up in a culture where we were didn’t openly express how we felt.
“Warm me today, warm me today, filter in my lonely room, warm me today, warm me today, look outside the sun it’s bursting through, bursting through..”
Over the years I’ve attended many of your concerts. I fondly remember your gig at the Civic where you played alongside the legendary Dave Dobbyn and Tim Finn. Even though you seemed so shy on stage (except for when you were singing) you commanded so much respect from them and it was inevitable that you would continue to create great music.
I admire the fact that you are utterly yourself on stage. Your slight awkwardness, wit and self-consciousness shows your humility. Your appreciation and support of other musicians artists (OMG, having Aaradhna perform last night was gold!) shows your generosity.
“Love me, if you really do, if it’s written in the stars, why does it have to be so hard… Oh, oh, oh, oh.”
I have grown up with your album Drive and play it regularly to this day. I guess it still speaks to my collective experiences of life, love, loss, joy and everything in between. Your later albums also have journeyed with me. “Birds” came out at a time when I was was going through a significant time of self-doubt and loss of confidence. I am aware that album also represented the loss of your father. “Belle” was fused with new energy and greater sense of confidence. This came out when I was strengthening my relationship and gaining traction in my career.
Bic. Thank you for providing joy through your music. The fact your voice sounded better than ever last night shows you are doing it for the right reasons and more.
Here’s to you and your family’s future success and may you continue to create amazing music x