February/March 2015

by Hannah Brewer

Fresh Talent: Moana Ete

by Hannah Brewer

Fresh Talent: Moana Ete

A graduate of the prestigious Toi Whakaari Drama School, Moana Ete has extensive acting experience and is currently directing a Fringe Festival show. However Ete finds acting and performing her own music very different, and says that singing is, to her, a lot more challenging.  

“Acting you can always hide behind a character, whereas singing is standing up and saying; ‘This is everything about me, this is who I am.’ It’’s very personal,”” she says. “I only really get nervous if I’m going on stage to sing… it’’s a lot more vulnerable.””

The epitome of a down-to-earth creative, Moana Ete’’s own identity is central to her songwriting.

“I want to be true to myself, and to be able to make that attractive. I’’m really big on femininity and talking about what it is to be a woman, to be a real, strong woman who pays her bills… I like to experiment with how that can be glamorous.””

Growing up in church was significant in developing her voice, the choir upbringing teaching her how to hold a harmony and the rich vocals and harmonies layered throughout her songs are testament to that. A multi-instrumentalist from a young age, music is in her blood.

“I wasn’’t a good student but I loved to make music. I would do my piano practice but just not to the lesson plan,”” she laughs. “In that sense I wasn’’t very disciplined – I guess it was a sign that I was more of an artist, that I loved to create.””

Ete took the Best Female Vocalist prize at the 2006 Smokefreerockquest. Influenced by the likes of Boyz II Men, Mary J Blige, TLC and Missy Elliot, she describes her music as indie RnB. Combining elements of ’’90s hip hop and electronica with powerful, soulful vocals, her songs are in a style that’’s completely her own.

“It’’s taking those influences, mixing them and making them current,” she says.

She spends hours creating beats, recording instruments, layering vocals and creating music exactly the way she wants it to sound. Definitive on her sound, the dynamic artist is still working on her live set and hopes to be playing more gigs around Wellington and wider soon.

Moana Ete is unlike any musician I’’ve ever encountered. She is confident, yet modest and entirely sure of herself – which is refreshing and something that is apparent in her songwriting. A true artist, Moana wants her music to speak for itself, however she may finally create a Facebook page or some sort of online presence with the release of her new EP, which we can expect at the end of April/May. Until then her gems can be found on SoundCloud.