In a new series, Canvas asks what is the soundtrack to your life? First up: fashion designer Kiri Nathan.
I think I first heard it at my third form or fourth form social. You might remember everyone used to stand in line, so whoever you were dancing with, you'd be in one line and they'd be in the other line and that's how it was. It was so funny, because everyone used to do this head bop to the left and head bop to the right, depending on what the beat was. Of course Lady Soul comes on and it's the slowest beat in the universe. I remember it being hilarious but I just loved it.
I just thought she was an absolute badass. When I look back at the videos now, she was actually quite candy but at the time I thought she was just a little bit staunch. We Belong had an awesome melody and rhythm but the words within that song also meant something, 'cause when you're a teenager and you're young, you know everything, but the whole world's against you. And also, given that we were from a predominantly Māori and Pasifika school and all of the challenges of a decile 1 place, that really felt like it resonated. I wouldn't have felt like I understood that at the time, but I do now.
It reminds me of my grandma. I don't actually have a specific song but he was her great love within music. She's the only person that I really feel that I just absolutely adored and loved and have lost physically and that music, that particular artist, just always brings her straight back.
I went to live with Grandma as well, so she was like, Grandma but also in that parenting role and she was also the woman who, along with Mum, was how I ended up sewing and getting into fashion and having this huge love of Ginger Rogers and the dresses and the fashion of that era. So she was actually a huge part of that early development.
It just feels like it's associated with an unconditional love. I associate it with, in Grandma's eyes, I can do no wrong.
Let it burn
I don't think that I ever really really had a broken heart until my husband and I met and then we separated. So generous of me, I sent him that single and he was like: "Thank you so much, this helps so much" and then of course we ended up back together and married and had 12,000 children.
We have a great marriage and we have a great whānau unit and it doesn't bring back any of those heartbreaking feelings. Music brings me joy, like absolute joy, or memories of youth or relaxation or "I wanna party". It doesn't ever bring me heartache.
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I loved it from the moment I heard it. I pretty much love all of her songs. I just love her voice, her composition, I love the fact that she could play instruments, that she was a well-rounded musician. I loved her story, everything but that song in particular. The lyrics and the melody totally spoke to me and Jason loved that song too. We got married at Karekare Falls. Our friend Natasha Guttenbeil sang that song while I walked down the dirt track.
As told to Greg Bruce
Kiri Nathan is a guest speaker at Semi Permanent Aotearoa 2020, Thursday, November 12,
Aotea Centre, Auckland
For more information, visit www.semipermanent.com