Dunedin musician finding success with gospel song

If you heard an unexplained bang recently, Lani Alo says not to panic — it was probably just his mind being blown.

The 27-year-old Dunedin singer-songwriter collaborated with Vainalepa Agaseata Livingstone Efu to create Tua I Manu — a gospel song which recently peaked at No6 in the New Zealand Singles Charts.

To get a song in the top 10 New Zealand singles charts was one thing, but to be able to get a song sung in Samoan to  No6 in the New Zealand singles charts was very rare, he said.

‘‘I’m really stoked because it’s not your normal mainstream song.

‘‘Only a few have been able to successfully make it to the top of the charts with a non- English song.

‘‘And for it to be there up alongside bands like Six60 and a lot of these other local and international artists ...’’

The song was about faith and how important it was to support each other during difficult times, he said.

‘‘In our lives, it is inevitable that we will go through tough times, and so we wrote the song in the hope it would be a source of healing and encouragement for anyone who listens to it — especially in the climate that we’re in with Covid and dealing with the lockdowns and everything that’s going on around the world in politics.’’

The song has proven very popular with overseas listeners as well.

‘‘The response has been amazing, not only locally, but right across the Pacific and unexpected parts of the world like Europe and the Middle East.

‘‘It’s a real testament to the power of music, regardless of what language or cultures are involved.’’

He said the music video helped with its popularity because the ‘‘messaging and visuals’’ were very clear in delivering the song’s message.

The video, shot in Dunedin, featured many of its landmarks and local people from the city’s Pasifika community.

Mr Alo said he had been living in Dunedin since 2012.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music in 2015 and went on to complete a postgraduate diploma in music performance with distinction in 2017.

‘‘I love Dunedin. Those who are close to me know how much this city means to me. I couldn’t imagine the video being done anywhere else.

‘The city has given me so much.’’

He said the video was an opportunity to give back to the city, by giving it ‘‘a good five minutes of fame’’.




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