Lani Alo's debut single a remedy for homesickness
New Zealand-born Samoan artist, Metitilani 'Lani' Alo's debut single "Alo i ou faiva" only dropped last week but the track has already taken over social media.
The new single caps a a stellar year for the young singer.
He was the E.F.K.S. Te Atatu Junior Youth Choir Director and won the Auckland Council's Best Pacific Gospel Artist at the 2018 Pacific Music Awards, after being a finalist for the Best Worship Artist at the 2018 Vodafone NZ Music Awards.
Now the 25-year-old is taking a break from his choir work.
The new single features Livingstone Efu, a newcomer to the Pacific Aotearoa music scene.
Lani Alo said the song began with his habit of "just jamming in the kitchen" that stretches as far back as 2014, and which has since progressed into the emotional song it is today.
"The song came during a time of reflection because I’m from Auckland but I’m currently in school in Dunedin," the 25-year-old told the Samoa Observer.
"I was missing home and it was a cold winter evening in 2014, and I was just thinking about my parents and jamming."
The song began with just a chorus; it was then left to sit until last year, 2018.
"When I had an opportunity to open for a Tevaka concert that was held here in Dunedin, but because of some admin issues we didn’t go ahead with the gig, but we had already prepped a verse of the song," said Lani Alo.
"The song developed overtime and then we used it for our university get-together last year and from there the song progressed. We finished the song, we added a verse, myself and my uso Livingstone, we added the rap.
"Earlier this year in February we were really fortunate to receive some funding from New Zealand on Air Music to fund the music video of the song."
Efu and Alo who have been friends since 2015, and have had previous projects before "Alo i ou faiva".
"And the past couple of years we started writing songs, he was a big part of writing the album for E.F.K.S. Te Atatu [Junior Youth], he’s the person that writes the raps and other parts of the album and everything has been in good progression you know, in being involved with Livi and to where we are right now."
Alo said they "hit it off" from the first time they met as they shared the same passion for music, faith and Samoan culture.
"We’re kind of like a package, he handles the lyric writing, Samoan writing and then I come in with the music," he said.
"With the [E.F.K.S. Te Atatu Junior Youth] album [came] out [in 2018], it’s all been good timing, gods timing and progression. Right after the album and that that was also a springboard for where we are right now and just so grateful for that and that experience."
The son of Lea'ana Taeao and Avei Alo from Sa'anapu, Malie, Maagiagi and Lalomalava is the youngest of three children.
Born and bred in Auckland New Zealand, the music major is currently studying indigenous music and preparing for his Master's Degree in Otago University, Dunedin.
He made the song to reach every Samoan across the globe that is going through what he went through and wants to "fofo" (heal).
"I’ve seen it on social media; it’s been quite a healing process [for those] going through so much, so our prayer is that it continues on. Because we’ve got Samoans right across and all over the world," he said.
"And the purpose of it is to really reach out to all the corners of wherever the song reaches and just pray that it’s a source of healing and encouragement, and to praise God.
"We really would not be in this space if it wasn’t for his plans and his timing. So really grateful."
Although Alo says there is definitely more to come, they will let the debut single speak for itself for now.
"I guess what’s next is to really, you know because it’s a single project, we are really hoping to follow it up with another song but for now, we’re just going to let this song really take its time and where it needs to go," he said.
"And from there hopefully take stock and hopefully look into some more recording and just seeing where we can go.
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‘Alo i ou faiva’ was recorded and produced by award winning music producer Emmanuel Ensink of Oracle Records, and features support from local musicians Mona Fua and the Auckland Gospel Choir under the direction of Seumanu Simon Matafai.
The music video was directed and produced by award winning Sound, Music and Video Producer Anonymouz aka Faiumu Matthew Salapu under his company 37 Hz (Hertz), in collaboration with Alo’s Dunedin based arts collective, Brown Bruce Creative.
Based on a traditional Sāmoan proverb, the meaning of “Alo i ou faiva” is a pronounced blessing given by family and friends to strengthen and bear up those embarking on a journey that maps out our destiny for success in our aspirations in life.