Kia ora Koutou katoa!
Of course you know who Anika Moa is.
Yass Queen, same-sex symbol, Māori princess (literally), mum-of-three with one in the oven, humble and reluctant TV STAR, children’s entertainer, and a wondrous bloody New Zealander.
But let’s not forget that before all the above, Anika Moa was a musician, and a singer. And a beautiful, heartfelt songwriter.
One who we have all been waiting on, for an excruciatingly long time, to release another album of music (for adults).
And it’s about to happen. Anika Moa, her sixth studio album sets flight for the world on October 5th, through Universal music.
After a long hiatus, and then a sub sequential – and especially fruitful – period of songwriting, Anika Moa was pulled back to the world of recording artist. Like the millennium falcon, dragged towards the death star (to be searched for members of the rebel alliance).
‘Find somewhere and someone great to record the album, Rodney. Or you’re fired!!!’ she yelled to her manager, while sipping champagne on the set of Seven Sharp, ‘I’m a TV celeb now, and I’ll only settle for the best. Find me somewhere exotic, find a great producer who has worked with other divas before!’
‘What about New Orleans? What about Brady Blade who has worked with Brooke Fraser, Jewel, Dave Matthe- ‘
‘Yes, yes. Have it arranged!’
The journey was planned, and in May 2018 Anika travelled to New Orleans to create her long-awaited sixth studio album. The destination was Esplanade Studios, a former Presbyterian church, decommissioned after the Katrina catastrophe, but then reimagined as a recording space.
Brady Blade enlisted a super-band, with himself as drummer, Doug Pettibone (John Mayer, Lucinda Williams, Marianne Faithfull, Tracy Chapman) to play guitars and pedal steel, and Tony Hall (The Neville Brothers, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Dave Mathews) on bass. Other locals popped into guest; US/Swedish artist Anders Osborne on guitar, Joe Ashlar (Dr. John) on keys, Mike Dillon, a punk percussionist. And Texas-based, Chris Bell (Destiny’s Child, The Eagles, Erykah Badu, Don Henley) completed the team as engineer.
The result, is a 10-track collection of some of Anika’s clearest and most captivating music of her career. Her familiar melodic blueprint journeys through folk, pop and Americana. Led by acoustic guitar, peppered with lazy pedal steel and resonant piano and finessed with slick production, the record yields a sound akin to an Easy Tiger-era Ryan Adams record.
But it is an album that is always so obviously Anika Moa, with her emotive and intelligent lyricism, her storytelling careening between love, pain, sadness, joy, and adoration.
In a career spanning 20 years – ‘that doesn’t mean I’m old FYI, make sure you clarify that. I started early. Tell them I started when I was 12 and then it sounds like I’m only about 30’ – she has released five (now six) studio albums, two wildly successful Songs For Bubbas albums (inspired by the arrival of her twin sons) and toured her music and stories to every corner of the country.
And some corners of the world too.
With a constant drive to push out her own boundaries, Anika
accidentally transitioned from musician to one of Aotearoa’s best-loved television personalities (she won an award for it, ya know?). Starting with ‘Face to Face’ in 2015 – a frank and funny online interview segment – she was then slung her own live studio show, ‘All Talk With Anika Moa’, which hit screens on Maori TV in 2017 with a magnificent roar (to all of 12 people who watched it). Momentum gathered quickly and in 2018 she was snaffled by TVNZ and given ‘Anika Moa Unleashed’. A show that let her loose on high profile New Zealanders, visiting them in their own environments with a viewing of half a million people!
But, now the time has again come to release one of her musical creations to the adoring populous. The self-titled album will be released through Universal Music on the 5th October and the limousine is being custom fit, the champagne chilled for a run of album release shows with her band.