Artist Interviews

Q&A: Ladi6

By | Published on Wednesday 3 August 2011


Starting out in the mid 90s as part of all-girl hip-hop group Sheelahroc, neo soul singer-songwriter Ladi6 made her solo debut in 2008 with acclaimed long player ‘Time Is Not Much’. She has since toured with Mos Def and the late, great Gil Scott-Heron, recording her latest album ‘The Liberation Of…’ in Berlin with her long-time producer Parks and German DJ Sepalot.

A mainstay of the New Zealand charts since its initial release in 2010, the LP scored Ladi a prestigious double win at this year’s Pacific Music Awards. In anticipation of ‘The Liberation Of…’ coming out here on 8 Aug via Question Music, Ladi is set to play a promotional show at the Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night. Her UK festival diary comprises appearances at The Big Chill on 5 Aug and at West London’s Homelanz bash on 13 Aug. While her Same Six Question answers are as follows…

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Accidentally, actually. My mum and dad took my younger sister and me to Africa for a year and a half as teenagers (completely against our will, of course!). There was no TV, just loads of books and a guitar, so I harassed my dad to teach me some chords. He taught me all sorts of songs, like ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles, and from there I started to put my sisters poems to some chords or some other bits of writing I’d done. Next thing you know I’m writing my own songs. At that stage mostly sad miserable songs full of teenage angst and about feeling homesick.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
The biggest inspiration was the 60 date tour we did around Europe, including France and the UK last year. It was the first of its kind for me and it was also the first time I’d moved alone away for so long from New Zealand.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
For me (I write all the lyrics and melodies) it’s a constant thing. I think a lot all the time, philosophising on life, and our motivations for the things we do. Once I have nailed an idea I can usually write three or four songs off of it.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Any artist that moves me emotionally will have a huge effect on me. It could be anyone in the top 40 to obscure artists I’ve only just heard of, like the Sacred Hearts Choir from Alabama.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Listen with an open heart.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
My ambitions for the future are always to continue making original music that progressively moves forward for me, I want to always make music I stand behind and am proud of. My ambition for this album was to get it out there and create opportunities for people to have access to it, and I feel like I have, in some territories, already accomplished that. So I am ready to make a new record.