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Justin Wellington excited to perform for Samoa

From his home in Papua New Guinea to the stages of Australia, New Zealand, North America and the Pacific, Justin Wellington, considers himself lucky to perform full time.

Mr. Wellington, the man behind Island Girl and a new cover of Iko Iko is making his Samoan debut during the annual Teuila Festival next week with back to back concerts from the 4th to the 7th of September.

He makes his living performing four nights a week and over the weekend in Cairns, Australia and has toured just about every other Pacific Island.

“It’s a good opportunity to come and perform and connect with fans that I have there, make some new fans and see a bit of Samoa,” the reggae artist said.

Mr. Wellington’s career began nearly 20 years ago, and released his first album Much Love in 2005. Since then, his career has been growing, with strong fan-bases in his home of Papua New Guinea, and across the Pacific. 

And while he is based in Cairns, he travels back to tour the Pacific a lot.

“We’re not talking huge numbers in the Pacific, but it’s a nice place to live and travel.”

He said he loves reggae and Island music and wants to keep making music Pacific people can love, even if he can’t afford a full-time career based in the region.

Like many artists in the Pacific, Mr. Wellington couldn’t stay in Lae, the second largest city in P.N.G where he grew up if he wanted to make a living as a performer.

“If I ever had the opportunity to do what I am doing, performing and making a living out of it in P.N.G or somewhere like one of the other island nations in the Pacific, I would,” he said.

“I have travelled to most of the Pacific Islands and I always feel very comfortable in those places.

“So if I could, if the opportunity were there… but that’s not the reality.”

Mr. Wellington grew up the only child of his single mother, who studied in the United States and so the two of them travelled often. He lived in the U.S, Canada and New Zealand as a child, setting the stage for an adulthood spent travelling too.

And when he is not performing, he plays volleyball, or works on his music, which is a long process, he admitted.

“You hear about artists that will write 100 songs in a year, and I have never been that kind of mass producing artist,” Mr. Wellington said.

“I write very slowly and I make sure I am happy with it, I don’t churn them out like a production line.”

From start to finish, his songs can take a year or more to finish. But it means he doesn’t end up with songs he isn’t happy with.

After Much Love, Mr. Wellington released his first self-titled album JW in 2008, and his most recent album Reign of Morobe¸ Morobe being his home province in P.N.G., came out in 2010.

He will perform at Te Namo in Mulivai on Wednesday 4th and at Tanoa Tusitala on Thursday 5th September.

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