Music in New Zealand last year was dominated by the emergence of 17 year-old Lorde, who crashed on to the scene with her EP The Love Club in November 2012, followed by her album Pure Heroine in September 2013. Her debut single ‘Royals’ was a smash-hit across the globe, and she has since been nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. She has recently met David Bowie, who allegedly believes her music to be like ‘listening to tomorrow.’
Opera from Samoa
It was a surprise therefore when at the end of the year Pure Heroine was pushed into second place by the debut album of Samoan trio Sol3 Mio. The self-titled album rushed to become the highest selling album of the year in the country, despite only being released in autumn. The threesome has proved remarkably popular with their collection of original songs, classic opera, and pop covers, describing themselves as ‘classical singers bridging the gap with contemporary.’
Sol3 Mio is made up of the tenor brothers from Mangere, Pene and Amitai Pati, and their baritone cousin Moses Mackay, from the North Shore. The name ‘Sol3 Mio’ is inspired by both the famous Neapolitan song ‘O Sole Mio’, and the word ‘sol’ in Samona, which means ‘brother.’ Though having grown up in New Zealand, the three are intensely proud of their Samoan roots, and admit that each cannot sing their patriotic song ‘We are Samoa’ without tears filling their eyes.
Call me ‘Queen Bee’
While their brotherly banter and broad smiles have warmed hearts, Lorde’s sharp tongue is attracting interest beyond her voice. Her single ‘Royals’, sprinkled with palaces and ball gowns, challenges the decadence and materialism found in the world of pop, and the singer has frequently been accused of attacking the industry she has entered into.
Warning the media not to label her as just another ‘teen hottie’, Lorde is struggling against the mould that fits fellow stars such as Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and the One Direction boys. These young celebrities are wildly popular, as much a franchise as entertainers, their merchandise lining the rooms of teenagers across the globe: Posters that can be found on websites such as posterlounge.co.uk, DVDs, mugs, bed-linen and other things – the list of merchandise is endless. Lorde has been accused of insulting many of these, such as twerking-princess Cyrus, who she rubs shoulders with on this year’s Forbes’ ’30 under 30′ list of musicians changing the world.
Changing the world or not, with her and the equally unorthodox Sol3 Mio leading the pack, Kiwi music is sure to continue making a stir in 2014.