by Nur Lajunen-Tal

Swiss: Feel The Melody

by Nur Lajunen-Tal

Swiss: Feel The Melody

Eleven years and four albums into his career, NZ-Tongan singer-songwriter/producer Swiss (real name Sioeli Manu) continues to reach for new sounds. October 2023 saw the release of Last Song, a lushly produced RnB groove with lyrics that will speak to the romantic in everyone. Nur Lajunen-Tal catches up with him. Made with support from NZ On Air Music.

Fans of Swiss will notice that Last Song is different from his usual fare. As Sioeli Manu confesses, this is actually his first time releasing an RnB track.

“People know me to be a reggae artist, but like many other artists I get my influences from all different sorts of genres. RnB is a genre that I grew up on heavily. It was cool to be able to do something that didn’t have a reggae skank. You could emotionally feel it, more than it just being a happy reggae song which has meaningful lyrics.

“As an artist, we sort of do wanna explore all the time, but once you’re boxed into a certain genre, it’s hard for your fan base to accept anything new. But I think this song meant more to me than anything else, which is why I still released it, even though it wasn’t the normal sound that everyone’s used to.”

The song is taken from his latest EP released in September 2023, tenderly titled ‘Rosera.’

“I actually named the whole project after my wife [award-winning singer-songwriter Tree],” Manu explains. “Her middle name is Rosera. All the songs on the EP are based on my relationship. Last Song was something that I sort of put together, that if that was to be last song I ever sang or ever wrote, I would dedicate it to her. Over the years, she’s always been really supportive of everything I’ve done, and sacrificed a lot in order for me to be able to chase my dream as a musician. If I was to ever hang up the mic, I’d dedicate my last song to her, and that’s what Last Song is about. It was pretty easy to write it, especially since it’s based off my actual reality, so it flowed off the tongue pretty easily!”

Manu cites Ty Dolla $ign and Dvsn’s Wedding Cake as a major inspiration for the track.

“I liked it, so I thought I’d chop up the music and write something to it. When I was initially composing the song, I sampled that thing, but obviously, when it came to actually releasing the song, I had to get it reproduced, just to save me having to clear any samples or anything like that. That’s always a little bit of a headache when you’re trying to do that sort of stuff. Especially with the Americans!” he laughs.

Manu hopes his listeners connect with the lyrics of Last Song.

“I hope that everyone is able to feel every word that I’ve put into it. These days a lot of people listen to the music more for the beats and the vibes, and lyrics aren’t really a big thing anymore. I think we live in a day and age where it’s all about how catchy a song is, but I hope with this song that everyone feels every word and every melody that I’ve put into it.”

support nzm