Emily Muli: history, beliefs and heritage

Tongan R’n’B soul singer EMILY MULI and her debut track ‘Rhythm & Truth’ comes from a place of her experiences, history, beliefs and heritage. She tells LAUMATA LAUANO what she hopes people will take away from her debut track, which she performed a Live Session of on RNZ Music



The 23-year-old South Aucklander, whose dad hails from the village of Fua'amotu and mum from Kanokupolu in Tonga, wanted to produce a song that encapsulated her experiences, history, beliefs and heritage. Rhythm & Truth does just that.


“Rhythm & Truth ended up being a track that I feel authentically reflects who I am,” says the singer/songwriter/activist who completed a double degree in Commerce and Music in 2018.


Who that is, is a multifaceted artist who isn’t exactly new to the Aotearoa music scene. She featured on the Chillhop Summer Compilation with Stuck, a track produced by LA-based producer Eli Way. Emily toured New Zealand as the opening act for Aaradhna during her 2018 Winter's End Tour, opening for Aaradhna's Sydney show during her 2018 Australian Tour.


Fusing elements of neo-soul, RnB, jazz and her Pacific roots, Emily's eclectic sound has seen her amass almost 40,000 subscribers on YouTube, nearing 12,000 followers on FaceBook, over 7,000 followers on Instagram, and all of this without a debut single, EP or album … until now.


Recorded at Parachute Music Studios with Kiwi legend Nic Manders as the master of production, Rhythm & Truth is a refreshing and clever tune that is all parts lyrical genius with every twist and turn of the melody.


The track doesn’t just sound good, Emily hopes people take from it what it has allowed her to be in her craft.


“Be unashamedly yourself in everything you do,” she says, even if it means going out of your comfort zone.


“We live in a society that is heavily influenced by trends, media perceptions and automated algorithms based on superficial things, so to be authentic in who you are can sometimes feel uncomfortable because you're going against the grain in that context.


“But it's worth it, because what you end up giving the world is nothing but your truth, and no one can change that.”


When not making music, Emily is travelling the world as a young activist and humanitarian, speaking to young people up and down the country and serving her community through advocacy and creative arts.


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