Uncertainty within the background of a pandemic was the influence for Tree’s latest single No Fear, taken off her December 2020-released album that plays on her adopted artist name, ‘Mrs Tree’. South Aucklander Katerina Manu began writing the song after Aotearoa went into the socially-isolating Covid lockdown at the beginning of last year. Made with the support of NZ On Air.
“There was a lot of uncertainty, fear, questions, and worry about how I was going to sustain what I was doing at the time. I was just about to go on tour, and had just started things for my career and then everything happened really fast. I literally thought that was the end for me.”
Raised performing and singing within the Assembly of God church, Manu turned to her Christian faith for guidance, and it was this faith that directly provided the basis of No Fear.
“I had been praying, and I heard a voice in my head which felt like it was God telling me not to have fear and to carry on…
“So me and Junior Soqeta were just sitting at home, and I was like, ‘Hey I have this melody, and it was just this one line, ‘…have no fear’. He was trying to follow me with the guitar while I was singing this one line, and then the verse came about and we actually realised that we both had feelings that we wanted to express, but there were some parts of us that we hadn’t been able to let out. So this song became our outlet!”
Soqeta features on the song and Manu recalls encouraging him to get things off his chest during the verses.
“I said to him, ‘Whatever your heart is telling you this is your space to speak freely, do whatever your heart is saying.’ In the verses, it was more of an outlet for us and a letter to God, and then in the chorus, it was God’s message back to us, it was like his answer to our questions.”
The chorus is extra special to Manu because of its religious messaging and that the words come straight from the Bible.
“For me, it just means the absolute world that somebody literally cares about me that much. Like before time began and when this word was written he [God] had already made this promise, before I was even thought of, and the fact that today this promise still stands for me and or anyone else, I guess makes it that much special.”
The accompanying self-directed music video intentionally furthers the significance of the song’s messaging.
“When it comes to my music and putting visuals to it, I like to always do something that will compliment the music a little bit more, or give everyone a visual interpretation of what they are hearing in the audio. So I really wanted it to look like we were in heaven in the video.
“I think music videos add value to the music and really stresses the things that are really important to us as the artist and what we want to share – whether it be a smile from one of the children in the video or just one of the vocalists in the background singing very passionately. All of that plays a part in really pushing the music and the message behind it.”
Manu says she’s been blown away by the response to No Fear since its release.
“It has been awesome the reception it has received and how it has become a message for all people and not just for me.”