by Rosie Spearing

Alba Rose ‘s Mixtape

by Rosie Spearing

Alba Rose ‘s Mixtape

Celebrating Te Whanganui-a-Tara songwriter Alba Rose ‘s fresh mid-November release, ‘Silhouette’, a classy and smart EP for fans of jazz-influenced, stylishly sleek tunes, we asked the artist to create a mixtape of music that has influenced her, and blends readily with her own mellow grooves. What she delivered is an eclectic, laid-back selection of classics and newcomers worth checking out, with the background to some of her thoughtful choices explained below. 

Marlon Williams & Aldous Harding: Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore

There are so many reasons I love this song. I just think the whole composition is a masterpiece. The lyrics to the progression of the track, to the combination of musicians, and the tenderness you can hear in both voices. At 1.20 when the first drop comes in I always just melt with open arms and feel inclined to slowly spin and look at the sky. It just has that effect that makes you surrender to the earth and accept wherever you are.

Then as it builds all the way into 2.10, with the timpani sounding bass drum building the tensions of reality, you can’t help but escape into a moment of sweet sadness and absence, yet it’s all felt with love and contentment, and I just don’t understand how the juxtaposition works so well. It then ends on such a beautiful peacefulness with the strings intertwining through the vocals. A real journey in 4.59 seconds, that always speaks straight to my heart. Thank you Aldous and Marlon. 

Shapeshifter: One

This could possibly be one of my all-time favourite songs. I could walk down the aisle to this, or have this queued at my funeral haha! I grew up listening to a lot of Shapeshifter’s music, with P Digsss (the lead singer) being based in the same hometown as me.

The first time I met him was at the top of the Cardrona ski field, where I was singing the national anthem at the Winter Games. P Digsss was DJing before the ceremony and I remember him playing an epic tune, so I just wandered over to ask about the track and have a yarn. It was only after that my dad told me who I was talking to, which of course then made me super nervous to perform hahaha. But he is the most lovely, easygoing and supportive dude. He’s been quite an inspiration to my music and the liquid DnB work I’ve done in the past.

This song is also one of my dad’s all-time favourite songs, so together we’ve been cranking it for years and it always makes me think of us dancing at home or singing on a road trip. I think that’s why the song makes me feel so at home. I love the lyrics and the energising, uplifting production surrounding them. I feel it’s a song for all and every mood; sad, active, in love… It’s another reminder that life is as hard as you make it and that we’re all human, we’re all one, and we need to remember to look out for and support each other.

Arjuna Oakes, Serebii & Mo EtcHolding Ceiling

These two gentlemen have just collaborated to create the most delicious EP called ‘First Nights’, which has recently been released. I met these boys years ago when they were both in The Shamblés. Arj and Ceejay quickly became good friends of mine, and they were some of the first people to crack me out of my shell and get me jamming.

Arj and I flatted together when we were in uni, and that year I felt like he hugely influenced my musical journey. I think these two are some of the most talented upcoming underground artists in NZ at the moment, and it’s so exciting to watch them grow in so many ways. They deserve to be heard. They are really like brothers, and they work so well together. Arj is a phenomenal songwriter and composer, and Ceejay is an amazing producer and mixer. Together they are a tight team alright. I also got Ceejay to mix the final track of my EP, Serendipity. I really loved the ambient, neo-soul twist he brought to the EP, and this track has turned out to probably be my fav of the album. 

Sault: Free

I found this duo only earlier this year when Rafe Swan the drummer in my band showed me the Sault album ‘5’ and I instantly fell in love with all of their music. I’m a huge fan of Cleo Sol’s songwriting and melody composition, so it was such a treat to find four more whole albums of her work! This song in particular stands out to me though. I have the line ‘what will be will be’ constantly playing in my head, which really gets me through. I play this song loud and often and it just makes everything feel manageable and easy haha! It’s a style of music I can’t wait to soon create more of.  

LearningToDrive: You Said It Best

This track is by a great friend of mine, Anthony Limbrick, who produced and performs under the name Bravo Bonez and LearningToDive. Anthony is such a talented musician and producer. He gives so much back to the NZ music scene too. He’s been involved behind the scenes of the industry for a long time through multiple projects, running and writing for music blogs as well as supporting artists in funding opportunities. Over the course of about 18 months, he released two albums and an EP, so he also makes a heck of a lot of high-quality music. I just think the time he has for his music and supporting other musicians is truly amazing.

He’s now opened up a small music studio in Wellington called PureSound to help developing artists record and produce their work at an affordable price, which is where I tracked and mastered all my work, and he let me produce it there too. He’s been hugely involved with my EP and has really helped back me through the highs and lows of this process. This song of his in particular I love. It has a really lovely swing to it, with a really grounding message of love, life and family. It’s soft, gentle but melancholic and sweet, acknowledging hope & faith in life and love. It’s just really nice.

Covid allowing, Alba Rose will celebrate the release of her EP at Meow on November 25. Tickets are available here.