Hot on the heels of Me Too and Time's Up, soul singer Ladi6 has taken things a step further, telling New Zealand it's simply Outta Time.

The Kiwi music stalwart, whose real name is Karoline Tamati, is taking her Outta Time tour through the country's regions this month to deliver her music to fans in small towns.

But come July, an all-female, all-star line-up will join the tour as it ramps up to hit New Zealand's major cities, bringing in reggae/roots artist Silva MC, soul/R&B artist Bailey Wiley and hip-hop star JessB.

Not only are they all women, they're all artists who have operated in less mainstream genres, carved out impressive niches and set a path for others to follow.


When we meet, there's no way to describe this supergroup other than unapologetic.

They're entirely themselves; they speak frankly, they swear, they shower each other with compliments and they laugh the kinds of laughs that erupt all at once and fill the room.

Some have known each other for years, others only recently met, but music brought them together to discover they had "something special" when they played Ladi6's Alpha Sessions in 2017.

After having vocal surgery twice in the three months prior, Ladi "needed the support" to return to the stage, "just to feel like some weight was off me".

These women provided that support and they vibed so well, Ladi then did "everything in my power" to get them on tour with her.

"There was nowhere else you could really go to get that kind of vibe where it was just women - not only running the stage but...we could cater to everything in that one night: funk, hip-hop, soul. It didn't really matter what your take was, you could get it there and it worked, it was cohesive," says Tanya Dyer (Silva MC).

Ladi adds: "You never get that. Not only do you never get an all-female line-up, you never get an all-female, black-rooted line-up where everyone has taken their inspiration from black music. That just doesn't happen."

Until now. Ladi says the timing is perfect for a tour like this.


"I remember when I first started out back in '98, it was such a rare thing to have any all-female anything. I thought when I started [girl group] Sheelahroc that I would begin this - that this time was that time back in '98 - but the world wasn't ready," she says.

"Now it's just perfect timing - well, I hope it is anyway. All conversation has been around this for the last three to five years...everyone's just like, 'Yes, I want this right now'. I just feel lucky to still be relevant and still be in the game to be an instrumental part in bringing it together," she says.

But getting to this point hasn't been easy. The music industry has always been male-dominated and while Ladi has had bad experiences, she's heard many others' stories and says she and her tour mates are "privileged" in comparison.

"The feeling to me is: "If I wasn't the only woman in the room, this wouldn't be happening. If I was a boy, he wouldn't be grabbing my arm aggressively [with me thinking] 'why am I shitting my pants right now? I'm so scared'. That's happened before," she says.

"But I've talked to all these singer-songwriter girls, who've all said that they've had really crazy experiences...and often they are just a girl and a guitar and, I mean, we're sassy, who's gonna f**k with us? We're like, 'What? I'll smash you! I don't give a fu**'.

"We may not mean it but we've got the balls to say it because we write that kind of music, we've got that kind of attitude, but if your whole set is vulnerability and you only have this one other guy who's power tripping…"

She finishes her sentence by looking around the group knowingly. We all know how that story ends.

Luckily for these women, they have, for the most part, been supported by their male peers. Bailey Wiley says: "I get mean support from my bros that are in music, they do tautoko me hard."

The thing is, industry issues aren't always so overt. Rapper Jess Bourke says the big problem for many women is simply being seen.

"A tour like this has never happened before one's cared enough, there's been no radar out for it, no one being like, 'yeah, I wanna see four females do shows throughout New Zealand,'" she says.

"There are no dudes in power who actually care enough to go looking for the talent we have. We are all the firsts of our genre or we're unique in what we're doing so we stand out, but there are so many other girls, who are doing amazing things all around us, who don't get the same shine. It's like there's only room for one."

She's the first to admit that what set her apart was that she had a male co-sign in Kiwi producer P-Money.

While grateful, her hope - the hope they all share - is that they can create a future where women can co-sign each other, raise each other up on their own. As a result, the landscape becomes more diverse, the spaces safer and the opportunities less limited.

"It's about respecting your grind and the girls around you that do the same," says Wiley.

"When they go out and do something amazing, I'm like, 'Yo, kudos sister, I am feeling what you're doing'. It's about recognising and giving gratitude when people do go hard."

Oddly, when I mention the term "role model", the group's response is split; just as Dyer says, "I've never thought about that", Bourke says, "I think about that all the time".

The difference is in what they each take "role model" to mean.

"For me, it's more like, 'look there's a fucking mixed-race African girl who's on this cover or doing this festival, that's f**king cool. And because I never had that, I know what it's like and how that would have benefited me in my journey," says Bourke.

"You don't have to be, like, 'I'm such a good girl, girl guide, I'm a virgin and a vegan'. It's visibility, just being present on the scene," Ladi adds.

It's an impassioned conversation and at the end of it, Wiley looks around at her peers with a prideful grin.

"That's something cool about us girls is we have that in common, that's probably why we kick it so hard because we can relate to each other," she says.

"I think that's probably why our story's so special; we're on the same wave and we know what we want out of it - for you and for us."



Ladi6, JessB, Silva MC, Bailey Wiley


The Outta Time tour


July 11-21


Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington Auckland