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NewTracks New Artist: Lou’ana

NewTracks New Artist: Lou’ana

Here’s another great song we discovered on NZ On Air Music‘s NewTracks compilation this April: Trained jazz singer Lou’ana Whitney Pereira usually performs under her first name only, short and sweet. Her entrancing debut single, Eye To Eye, alongside a music video that sees the singer and two dancers pull some spellbinding moves, gives a soulful nod to the likes of Amy Winehouse.

What instruments do you play, if any?

My voice is my main instrument, I play the guitar and tinkle a bit on keys if I’m feeling inspired.

What high school or other music training was important to you?

I was always signing myself up to school performances, choirs, shows and musicals during my schooling years – that in itself was training, all opportunities for gaining more experience with music & performing (and it was fun of course)! I also took music every year at high school as a subject! 
I studied Jazz Music at NZSM after high school which was very important to me and my musical knowledge! I learnt jazz theory, improvisation, jazz history and vocals! I finished the degree leaving me with a Bachelor in Jazz Performance! 

What other projects might we know you from?

Hipstamatics – an 8 piece soul-funk band that has been on the scene for many years now! I have been singing with them for the past 3 years playing all around the country. The Andrew Faleatua Band that headlined Samoana Jazz Festival – Fresh TV shot a music video for the song ‘Samoa Forever’. Quite a memorable video with a bunch of shirtless island boys haha and also the song has been played on some of our Pacific radios! 

What’s the background story of why you’re creating music as soloist now?

An originals project has always been the dream – but what really kicked it into gear was receiving funding from NZOA last Feb! My producer encouraged me to submit my single Eye to Eye and I genuinely didn’t think it would get chosen but it did! I felt like someone out there really believed in what I was creating so since then I have been working hard to take this project to the next level! I then received funding for the second time in August last year – again, solidified that feeling that I was on the right the path. I decided to not release anything until I had a good backlog of work to make a game plan with – I found a publicist and we put together a release plan which started with Eye to Eye single in March! My partner helped plan a tour for me which helped dictate the release plan too, so everything pointed to this year being the year! 

How did your music evolve from your beginnings in songwriting to what it is right now?

Songwriting has always been apart of life – my mum and uncle are songwriters, my aunty is a poet and I am a daydreamer – writing songs and just putting pen to paper has always been a tool for me to express myself. I never really took it all too seriously, maybe because I didn’t think I was very good at it! It wasn’t until I was in my final year of Jazz School I did a paper on The Beatles! That’s where I really learn’t about the art of songwriting! That is where my songwriting really started to develop, they gave me a writing template that really resonated with me! That was four years ago – since then I use those tools and have developed a few of my own. I like to write majority if not the whole song (lyrics, melody and chords) before I take it to my producer – from there we get creative with instrumentation and form! 

How did you come up with the name for the new project?

I didn’t look very far – my name is Lou’ana! My grandmother named me, Lou’ana is a combination of my mum (Lou) and her own name ‘Ana’. They are both very strong woman! They don’t know this, but the meaning of my name is ‘Woman Warrior’. So with all this beautiful natural intention I felt it was right to front my project with my name. 

(I’m all about woman power, hence Eye to Eye’s strong feminine energy!)

What makes Eye To Eye stand out for you as a single?

I think it’s a pretty catchy tune! Also, Eye to Eye has it’s own story so I wanted to give it the space and platform to tell it! 

What is the story behind Eye To Eye?

I have watched so many relationships between lovers, friends, with one’s own self, go through this motion of not seeing Eye to Eye and yearning for a time that was harmonious. I have felt this in my own life and it’s an intense internal battle! So this song helped me to gain perspective on these feelings and to remind me that everything is a phase, and to just ebb and flow with the cycles and tune in to my intuition! 

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

Probably the Farfisa on the last chorus or the strings in the intro! Both add such magical elements! The Farfisa on the track gives me the creepy circus vibes haha love! 

Who did you write/record/produce the single with and where? Got a fun story about the making-of?

Wrote most the song at home and in my car haha (seem to do a lot of writing while driving) took it to my friend Jason Herbert who helped with chords and then took the song to another friend Nathan Judd who produced it and played most instruments on it too! 

Describe in one sentence what you want listeners to take away from this song.

Listen and hear the layers of the lyrics and the instrumentation – I hope it moves something in your soul and dances with your imagination.

In general, how do you work out what song would make a good single?

This is my first time releasing music so I haven’t had to choose – Eye to Eye was the first single I’d recorded and made a video for so it naturally became the first single to release. Generally, I go by feeling when making decisions though! 

Are there any other musical endeavours you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for, with this band or others?

Oh yes, always have something in the woodwork! A new single comes out very soon! and next month too! I love a little mystery so you’ll have to follow me on social media to see what’s coming out next! There is a secret project I will be featuring on too, so you’ll have to wait and see about that later on this year!

Can you please tell us three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside your song.

Sure! I love blues, country and anything mystical and witchy! 

KikoPatupiarehe  //  Marlon WilliamsParty Boy // Mini SimmonsWitching Hour

How many of your previous applications didn’t get funding or didn’t get included on NewTracks? Got any advice for people out there? 

I only applied once before I got funding and since then i have submitted another 5 singles, only 1 other received funding. None have made it on New Tracks yet – but I have only released one single so far so haven’t had the chance to get on there! 

Advice; Don’t give up, feels a little disheartening when you don’t get chosen but keep applying and create music that you love so no matter the outcome you’ll be proud of your art! 

Was there an NZOA criterion you struggled with in the application? Which one was it and how did you work it out in the end?

When I found out about the funding and decided to apply – I thankfully could make the minimum 10 ticks. I struggled with not having enough content that was under my name – I could have made some of the other criteria points if it considered some other projects I have been a part of.

Are there any musical blogs, Youtube channels or podcasts you’re super into?

Hmm, when I visit any music stores I always grab the NZ Musician mag! But other than that, just what pasts through my FB feed! Love me some podcasts – unrelated to music but Witch Wave Podcast & Joe Rogan are my faves! Youtube channels, I have subscribed to so many amazing artists, but I do love checking out what’s new on Tiny Desk Concerts.

Who did you make the video with?

I dreamed up the concept and Annie Duckworth refined it to what it is now! We had a great team to make it all happen. Shot by incredible cinematographer Nina Wells.

Any last words?

Thank you so much for making the effort to read all this! Thank you to my friends and family for being so supportive! Thanks to NZOA for the funding of 2 of my singles when I hadn’t released anything yet – that faith is making my dreams happen! Follow me, come to a gig and say hey! I’d love to meet you all and thank you for the support. x