The Fiji Times » The future of the Fiji music industry looks bright
He has played to packed houses and performed his music around the world during his more than four decades in the business.
But nothing could stop veteran songwriter and musician Seru Serevi from smiling as he heard the 10 finalists of the inaugural Domo Vou Talei Song Contest during a mentorship session at the Fiji Performing Rights Association headquarters last week. .
“I’m excited because the future looks very bright for the music industry in Fiji,” he said.
“Last Friday the contestants came up to hug me and said they couldn’t believe what their song sounded like after Phil Dakei produced it.
“I got very emotional because I know that feeling.
“When you look back over the years, and all the pushback, negative feedback and rejection that people like me, Saimone Vuatalevu and Laisa Vulakoro have endured trying to get our original music out there – it was worth it.
“Because forty years later, here we are, with this group of new and exciting artists bringing their songs, voices and messages to Fiji and the world.
“Five years from now, can you imagine the amount of talent that will come out of Fiji thanks to the Domo Vou Talei Song Contest.
“These artists would not have been discovered without this competition. “In our time – in the 70s, 80s and 90s – the scene was very different.
“There were competitions like the Battle of the Bands at the Suva Civic Center and Starquest at the Phoenix Theater on Rodwell Rd, but it was mostly about bands or artists performing their interpretations of covers or songs made famous by artists international.
“There were no original song competitions as such and it was really difficult for artists like me who were trying to make a difference by composing original music and trying to find a market for my music.
“And I think the same would apply to Saimone and Laisa – it was tough but we tried hard and managed to get our music out there, achieve some success and make a name for ourselves in the industry. “
Serevi, Vulakoro, Vuatalevu and other industry legends like Daniel Rae Costello have created a platform for original music in the country.
And then there were the likes of Anil Valera whose 1973 anti-nuclear anthem Destruction of Humanity caused a stir in the region and Fijian’s first pop star George Knight’s lost love story Time Will Heal The Pain which came out in 1976.
Serevi believes the original songs composed by more than 120 amateur artists who submitted entries to the Domo Vou Talei Song Contest were a sure sign that Fijian music was heading in the right direction.
The countdown has begun for the final judging and in nine days Fiji will know who will be the winner of the inaugural contest – a brainchild of the Australian High Commission.
And like all the other contests, there wouldn’t be any without the incredible support of the sponsors.
In this case, the fiji times sets up $5,000 winner’s prize, Westpac offers $3,000 to People’s Choice Award winner, Communications Fiji Ltd provided the song download platform through Fiji Village and technical support to reduce the more than 120 entries to 10 finals.
The Fiji Performing Rights Association gave us the venue to make the final selection of entries and also provided mentors and judges in Vude King and legendary composer and musician Seru Serevi, veteran and award-winning composer and musician Saimone Vuatalevu and Vude Queen Laisa Vulakoro.
And the crème de la crème – Knox Entertainment hosting the final judging night – the Woodstock Uprising Music Festival.