In this weekly TimeOut series, we invite music lovers to share the songs that have soundtracked their lives. This week, we speak to Sol3 Mio singer Pene Pati.
Sailing - Rod Stewart (1975)
This is the song my father used to sing to us every night, to the guitar. It was the first song he taught us to play and sing. I was about 7. We were living in Mangere. All four of us, me and my siblings, were sharing the same room. He'd come in, sing to us, and make us say a prayer, then we'd go to sleep. It was always Sailing. We never got sick of it. For him, it was his homage to being home. He always wanted to go back to Samoa. Singing it for him was like, "I miss my family." I just thought he loved the tune, but after listening to the words, I was like, "Holy Mack, he really does miss home." It became special. Every time he's at our concert, we'll bring him up to sing this song.
Blue Bayou - Linda Ronstadt (1977)
This is a gem. As we were growing up, we sang at a rest home my dad managed. Every Friday night. Can you imagine it? From 9 years old to 25, every Friday, singing at this rest home, with my siblings. Dad loved this song. He used to sing it on his karaoke machine all the time. It has an island feel to it. It's very bossa nova, jazzy, and it always takes me back to the rest home. I say that I hated it, but at the time we were kids, and all these other kids were having fun on Friday night, and we were singing from 5-8pm. It wasn't until I left the place that I really missed singing to those residents. I realised why they were so keen to hear us. It was the highlight of their week.
Diamonds From Sierra Leone - Kanye West (2005)
Every time I listen to this song, I can hear every little aspect of what Kanye's put in there. It's amazing. He cut up so many things, sampled so many beats. He has so many different elements in this song, if you sit and listen to it, it's like an opera. It just keeps changing. I don't think the average person listens to it going, "Oh, I didn't hear that chime before." I'm listening to it going, "Man, that's crazy."
Redemption Song - Bob Marley (1980)
We always sing it on the road. It's one of those feel-good warm-up songs. We got to a point in our first and second tours where we felt we were getting lost in commercialism. We felt we lost our own creative process. These is one of the songs that we'd sing on the road that would ground us.
The Prayer - Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli (1998)
This is a beautiful song. It's a song my sister and I used to sing at any event, at the rest home, at church, and it's our most requested song for weddings. There's nothing really too operatic about it, but because it's Bocelli, and he sings high notes, everyone's like, "That's all we need". They're impressed by the high notes.
All Night Long - Lionel Richie (1983)
This is my jam. If anyone says, "You can take one song to an island and you're stuck there", it's this one. I just love the production on it. It's so well put together and it's such a feelgood song. Anywhere there's a party, I'm like, "do you have All Night Long?" If Sol3 Mio could figure out their own version of this song, I would lose my shit. As soon as I hear it on the radio, I'm like, "Okay guys, we've gotta pause for three minutes." I'm singing, dancing along, mimicking all the instrument parts. Every time I'm buying headphones, it's the song I use to make sure everything's levelled.
Someone Like You - Adele
I love Adele's writing style, the ballads she makes. This is a really challenging song. I sang Someone Like You when Sol3 Mio first started, and I came out dressed as Adele. It was a joke: we'd say, "We've got an incredible guest artist", and I'd walk out in costume. If anyone asks me, "Who do you want to sing with?" it's Adele. I'm ready to go. When she said she was stopping touring, I cried. I was so gutted. I want to email her, and say, "Come on, let's do one song. Just one song. Come on."
• Sol3 Mio perform at the Auckland Town Hall as part of their Back to Basics tour on March 17. Check sol3mio.com/touring/ for the rest of their tour.
- As told to Chris Schulz