The Stylistics: The Best Of album
My earliest musical influence was my Aunty Marcia. She loves music and would have parties on the back deck. I would help mix cocktails. I was very young and she would play this Motown-era music and still to this day I know all the lyrics to all the Stylistics' songs. She and my aunties would rock perms and shoulder pads. I thought they were so cool. I'd go to school and knew songs that nobody else knew.
4 Non Blondes: What's Up
My family bought me a guitar and I learned many songs but my go-to jam was What's Up. Everyone who ever knew me growing up would be like, "Sing 4 Non Blondes!" I sang it with all the attitude and intonations of the original, belting out the lyrics, "I scream to the top of my lungs/ what's going on/ and I say/ hey-ye-ye-ye." I loved the joy it brought to my family when I sang it.
TLC: FanMail album
My best mate Melissa, with whom I am still best friends, and I loved TLC and we would watch Coca-Cola Video Hits to learn the latest dance moves. She was way better at dancing than me. FanMail, No Scrub and Unpretty came out and these songs defined the period of our teenage lives, "A scrub is a guy that can't get no love from me." FanMail had some powerful female lyrics that put women in charge. There were provocative lyrics too, that empowered you and your sexuality. Melissa and I went to a TLC gig a few years ago and could still sing every single song.
The Hi-Marks: Till
This one is my wedding song and it's a really old one from the 60s. Willie and I married eight years, to the day, from when we first met. I really wanted my grandfather to walk me down the aisle (well, bush, as we were outside) but he died beforehand. The lyrics were not only for our marriage but to remind me of him. "Till the tropic sun grows cold/ till this young world grows old/ my darling I'll adore you.'. My whānau is about forever love, this waiata represents that. I travel quite a bit and if I miss my whānau, I play it and It always brings the feels.
Maisey Rika: EP
This album represents a time in my life when I got very involved in the art and music scene going to gigs, interviewing musicians like Katchafire, Tiki [Taane] and Anika Moa through my job as a journalist. I interviewed Maisey at the early stages of her career with this EP and it was the first time I had really jammed to bilingual popular music by a wahine Māori - actually that's not true, I jammed to Moana Maniapoto - but somebody who was my age. Maisey was breaking into the industry with great Māori music and today, I am still a fan.
Atareta & Te Haakura on Te Nūtube: Pakipaki Mai & Peke
These two songs are an absolute reflection of where my life is right now as a mother of an almost 3-year-old Māori/Tongan kōtiro. I have the responsibility and privilege of immersing her in her Indigenous culture through music and am so proud that she has amazing young role models who are making music completely in te reo Māori. It's cool that pop culture is proudly indigenous. While I blame my daughter for wanting to listen to them, I often put them on, alone, and listen to them too! Nuku is an unapologetically indigenous movement for these young women, and my daughter.
As told to Ange Barnett
Nuku is running a boosted campaign to create the next 50 profiles and reach the goal of 100 kickass Indigenous wāhine: boosted.org.nz/projects/nuku100