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Anika Moa

When the now-classic New Zealand music chant 'South Auckland raise your hands' is heard, singer/songwriter Anika Moa is entitled to be one of the first with her hands in the air. Anika (Te Aupouri, Ngapuhi) was born in the South Auckland suburb of Papakura on May 21, 1980, but headed down county soon after. She was raised on the flatlands of Christchurch where her love of music bloomed as her teenage years kicked off.

At the age of 13 Anika began writing her own songs. She chose Music as a subject and performed in musicals and choirs right throughout secondary school in addition to trying out with several fledgling bands. In 1998, while still at high school in Christchurch, Anika entered the nationwide Smokefree Rockquest. One of only a handful of solo performers amongst hundreds of bands who entered the competition, Anika won the Most Promising Female Musician Award and her song 'Flowers For You' was selected for inclusion on a compilation album featuring Rockquest finalists. As is standard practice, a copy of the Rockquest disc was sent to the managing directors of the local branches of the international major record labels.

First off the mark was the boss of Warner Music NZ who, after hearing 'Flowers For You', arranged for Anika to record a demo tape at a Christchurch studio. Connections were utilised and Anika's demos were handed to the top dog at Atlantic Records, the Warners-affiliated, New York-based label that was once home to Aretha Franklin. Invited to the Big Apple to meet the boss, Anika performed a bunch of her songs barefoot in his plush office and landed herself a record contract. In April 2000, Anika returned to New York to record her debut album with producer Victor Van Vugt (PJ Harvey, Beth Orton, Nick Cave). Released in August of the following year, Thinking Room debuted at No.1 in the New Zealand Album Chart and went on to sell double-platinum. Anika�s relationship with Atlantic foundered when she let it be known that the superficial treadmill of the US music industry was not for her. Instead of spending two years making promotional visits to radio stations in the Midwest, Anika travelled at a leisurely pace around her own land, seeking creative inspiration in the people and the beauty of the countryside. These homegrown experiences spawned the songs that appeared on Anika's second album, Stolen Hill. Stolen Hill was recorded in a barn at Bethalls Beach, on the West coast of Auckland, with musician/producer Edmund Cake, formerly of Flying Nun band Bressa Creeting Cake. Released in August 2005, Anika considers Stolen Hill to be a more mature record, addressing political, cultural and personal issues in more depth than on Thinking Room. Her songs explore the notion of Aotearoa's nationhood and in particular the recurrent themes of her own Maori heritage; the legacy of culture, land and tangata whenua  where was Maoridom then, where is it now and where is it going?

Following the release of Stolen Hill, Anika embarked on a month-long tour of New Zealand with her newly formed Plastic Tiki Band, while more recently, she toured Australia and New Zealand as a backing singer in Bic Runga's band, alongside fellow Kiwi artists Neil Finn, Dimmer's Shayne Carter and Duchess singer Anna Coddington. At the end of April, Anika headed off to the United Kingdom for a two-month tour with Bic Runga. While overseas Anika will also perform her own headline shows and a handful of industry showcases. 'My goals for this year,' says Anika, are to travel as much as I can, do as many live shows as I can, write as much as I can and get interest from overseas so I can continue to travel, play and write.

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