A NEW DAWN ON LADI6 HAS SHED LIGHT ON A NEW PATH, A SOLO QUEST TO BROADEN HER MUSIC HORIZONS FOR A FUTURE OUTLOOK A DECADE INTO HER CAREER.
LADI6 interviewed @ 13:00 AEST – Friday 19th February, 2009
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
With the heart and soul of Aotearoa, sublime songbird Karoline Tamati (aka Ladi6) cries out with more earth and tone in her voice than Mother Nature. Deeply rooted in a brotherhood of South Island sound, her new long-player shows potential growth outside the pot, be it drum’n’bass, hip hop, R&B or soul. Time Is Not Much finds it hard to plant her into a particular genre and sinks to an emotional depth that’s rarely come up for air across the Tasman. Her nurtured roots give her the strength to now flower and flourish on her own.
“Very daunting and scary,” Tamati admits of taking the solo route, having rolled deep in several of New Zealand’s leading musical posses in the past. “It’s nice to get heaps of acknowledgement and praise. To build a profile behind other people and travel on the road with the likes of Fat Freddy[‘s Drop] and Shapeshifter it feels like you’re pretty much surrounded by a family of brothers so you’re not ever really alone. “When you do go alone its actually really freaky, but at the same time definitely exciting. I guess it’s what it feels like when you’re jumping off the edge of a cliff – exciting and scary.”
Raised in Christchurch to a big family, her background soundtrack ranged from The Eagles to Motown to Public Enemy for influence. Tamati took the lead of her first female hip hop/soul group Sheelahroc and found her way through making music and getting paid.
“We used to do gigs for free drinks, free t-shirts. We just wanted to get up on stage. Our first paid gig we got $300 for a 20 minute set and that was a light-bulb moment. I was so over the moon, that was it for me – ‘I’m not working for McDonald’s anymore!’.”
Sheelahroc made waves with ‘If I Gave You The Mic’ (which had Tamati nominated for Best Vocalist/MC at the 2003 bNet music awards) and her two-part play in ‘Verse Two’ put her right back into contention a year later, allowing her plenty of open stage sunlight flexing a real live appeal. Over a ten-year stretch vocalising her soul, she is a seasoned pro who has found a virgin path to the romance of making music.
“The best thing about it is we’re wise in the game, but this is my first solo effort so I feel fresh at the same time,” Tamati muses. “A lot of people who don’t know of me, this is their first glimpse or listen to what I am about and what I do musically and that’s great because I am older and wiser and I’m not gonna make the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past. I feel very lucky and very fortunate.”
One of the best ways to remain fertile and relevant is to constantly evolve, be forever the student, take the art to new boundaries. Ladi6 became the lone crooner, learning new traits for the benefit of gaining experience from challenges brought upon herself.
“Officially making everything ourselves we learnt so much through that process,” Tamati says of the recording process. “Lemme put it in perspective for you – when I said ‘I wanna make an album!’ we didn’t know how to use an MPC, Pro-Tools, we were downloading through Fruity Loops samples…
“We just knew how to play instruments. So now we’re fully self-sufficient working at a home studio with all the gear. Had I not said I wanna make an album I would never have learnt those skills.”