America’s Got Talent semi finalist Paul Ieti had a lot to share while back in Samoa and visiting his father’s family in Sapini, Faga, Savai'i.
Mr. Ieti said the last time he was here was in 1998 when he was justfive years old
Now at the age of 22 he came back because he said he has forgotten what Samoa looks like.
“So far it’s been great and I don’t want to leave. When we left Savaii I was really sad and I still want to go back there,” he said.
He also spoke about his journey in the America’s Got Talent show, the support he has received from other Samoan’s and the money-driven life in the United States of America.
“As far as America’s Got Talent goes there has been a lot of support for me in Samoa too, so it’s always great to see that and it was the same thing back in American Samoa.
“I’m always thankful to those people who supported me while I was on the show.
“America’s Got Talent was something different in my life, just out of nowhere I was on TV.”
Mr. Ieti said that the two most important things in his life while on the show were his people and his family.
“That made me really happy was that I got to represent our people and how talented we are and also my family,” he said.
“Many of the people who were on the show would ask me where Samoa was on the map and what a Samoan person looks like.
“[And] so being on the show I was able to answer the people’s questions.”
He made it to the semi finals and his journey ended there but as a singer, Mr. Ieti has continued with what he loves the most.
“That's where it stopped for me but through the whole experience, who would have ever thought that would happen to me?
”It’s always a blessing to thank God for and ever since then my life has changed,” he said.
“I went from just singing in my shower to singing for the world.
“It’s always good to see my family and I am happy to be here with them and it’s also a proud feeling to see that my family is rooting for me or when we go out to places they are proud to call me their cousin.
“Samoa is such a beautiful place and there is no place like home and I’m definitely going to come back real soon.”
Mr. Ieti said he can remember little from his visit 17 years ago; however he can remember his favourite food.
“I honestly cannot remember what it looked like back in the days because I was just five then but the only thing that I can remember is my favourite food which is supo esi,” he said.
“So every time I come back to American Samoa I would always go to the market to look for supo esi.
“Right now I didn’t expect Upolu to be this nice.
American Samoa does not have traffic lights and then coming to Upolu there are traffic lights everywhere and then we went to Savaii there’s one lot there too.
Mr. Ieti also spoke about the difference between life in American and in Samoa.
“Life in Samoa is completely different but I’m used to it now. It’s similar to the life that I had in American Samoa, because while I was raised in Alaska most of my life I came back to American Samoa and went to school there.
“The difference between the life in the United States, American Samoa and here is that when you live in America there’s endless amount of opportunities you have there as far as technology, jobs the latest trends of things.
“But you have to work for every single thing that you have, you have to pay for the water you drink, the gas that you use for cooking, for the house that you live in and the food.
“But in Samoa I think the only thing that you have to worry about is the Cash Power and the water but with food it’s all around us and then everything is free, the resources are endless.
“If Samoan people think they are poor, okay they can say that they are not wealthy in material things but when you think about it, we are the most blessed people to have all these resources around.
“There’s never nothing to feed your family with, you have the plantations and everything. I’m comfortable now where I live in America and to just use the things around but if it were up to me I would rather have all of this.
“I would rather have Samoa. In America we don’t get this everyday like during the evening time, there’s volleyball here, rugby there and always staying active.
“I have been to a lot of places especially after the show and I still haven’t found a place that I could say that reminds me of Samoa.
"Samoa is the place where we can actually say as Samoans that saying, “There is no place like home,” because there really is no place like Samoa.
"So those are the differences and everything in America, if you look at while watching TV and say you wish you were in America, I tell you it’s different. You make money but it always goes to something.
“Even the phones, Digicel here you can put 3 tala or 5 tala credit but in America you have a hundred dollar phone bill in a month. It’s just everything is money and if you don’t have a job then you will have to live on the street with nothing.
“But that doesn’t mean that will stop you from striving to look for a good future.
“To all the young people of Samoa keep fighting for your future I’m not saying all of this to scare anybody, but as long as you have a good head on your shoulders and you know what you are doing and you are not giving in to the bad temptations of the world, then you will be fine.”
Mr. Ieti was born in American Samoa but raised in Alaska.