Time Is Not Much from Ladi6Renowned for her energetic live performances, female vocalist and MC, Karoline Tamati (aka Ladi6), has taken New Zealand by storm with her sublime, soulful vocals and socially conscious lyrics. Debuting at number one and going Gold in NZ upon its release late last year, her debut album 'Time Is Not Much' was produced entirely by Mu from Fat Freddy's Drop, as well as upcoming beatsmith Parks. Performing in Australia throughout 2008 and 2009 at the St Kilda Festival, Days Like This! And SoCo Cargo Ladi6 also released her debut album in Australia.
Staring her music career as part of New Zealand's first all-girl hip-hop group Sheelahroc, Ladi6 first found fame with the group's smash "If I Gave You The Mic", leading to a nomination in the Best Vocalist/MC category at the 2003 bNet Music Awards (a prestigious NZ independent music awards ceremony, run by student radio stations).
With word of mouth still spreading following this first wave of success, the songstress soon found herself in the spotlight again- this time as part of live soul/hip-hop group, Verse Two. Playing to packed shows across New Zealand and scoring support slots for acts including The Roots, De La Soul and 50 Cent, the group was crowned 'Best New Act' at 2004's bNet Music Awards.
Gaining a significant following throughout her homeland based on her unforgettable performances, Ladi6 has played at all of the country's key festivals, including Big Day Out, Rhythm and Vines, Splore, Parihaka and more. In Australia Ladi6 has brought her dazzling live show to festivals including Days Like This!, St. Kilda Festival, and SoCo Cargo and supported international juddgernauts Talib Kweli, Fat Freddy's Drop, Shapeshifter, Scribe, Ohmega Watts, Resin Dogs and Freddie Cruger.
Ladi6 reveled in her experiences with such high-profile talent. "It was a great learning experience, just taking in all that they were doing at the time," she says. "It was inspiring, made me realise that I had the potential to do those very same tours".
Earning a reputation as one of New Zealand's premier talents, Ladi6 has made appearances on some of the top underground albums to come out of the country this decade. Her vocals feature on standout tracks by Fat Freddy's Drop was such a believer in Ladi6's talents, that he agreed to co-produce the album alongside her partner-in-crime, Parks.
"Mu's been a friend of (mine) since 1999. We met him through Parks and my original 5 piece band, Verse Two. He's engineered out first track, 'Gold'. We kept close since those days- the Freddies took me on tour to Europe to do Roady for 6 weeks, and we jammed and partied numerous time after that. We're just mates! We asked, he said yes and that was that."
It was during these numerous stints on the road with the likes of Parks and Mu that Ladi6 began to conceive the tracks that would eventually constitute her debut, 'Time is Not Much'.
"I demoed them up using Garageband on my Mac, while on the road- mostly just ideas of melodies," she explains. "Then we got our home studio together and I worked with Parks as he just started to flesh out the instrumentals. This was over a span of two years or so. When we felt we had song ready-ish we went to Wellington and started to record in Mu's studio. But after 4 months we realised that we weren't ready to finish the album, so we moved back to Auckland to carry on making the songs. We then moved back to Wellington for a year or so. It wasn't until August last year that we finished the album. So all up, the record took four years from conception of the idea to make one, to, the complete album, as it is."
Bursting with passion, grooves, and sizzling producer/artist chemistry, the tracks on 'Time Is Not Much' are a diverse blend of elegance with attitude. The album's firs single, Walk Right Up, masterfully struts the line between infectious reggae and smooth, socially-charged R&B. "It was my first song I wrote on the road," explain Ladi6. "As we toured around New Zealand the song went from freestyle lyrics to nailing actual lyrics and melody. The message I wanted to say to these festivals goers and people I met on tour was a message of hope for tomorrow and love for each other." Highlight tracks 'Give Me The Light' and 'Dark Brown' boast a similarly upbeat mood- buoyant, confident and sometimes sultry and suggestive.
Yet, the album also has its fair share of raw moments, with tracks like 'Jackknife' and 'Call You Out (feat. Scribe)', channeling the infamous New Zealand urban sound. "These are two of my 'hit em up' tracks," says Ladi6. "I like them because I get a lot of shit off my chest. A lot of people said I couldn't make the music I wanted, or rock my style and have a career in music. These songs are me giving them the finger." 'More Than Fake' projects similar grimy, hip-hop posturing: pitting Ladi6's scorching croon against Scribe's undeniable swagger.
Having made over twenty separate journey's to our shores in the last two-and-a-half years for various support slots, solo performances, and festival tours, Ladi6 has worked her way into the consciousness of Australian audiences, just have they have made a lasting impression on her. "I've been loving Australia, and all the places we've played so far!, she says. "The crowds are responsive and fun." Her standout performances have been many, but her show at Melbourne's SoCo Cargo in 2008, remains a particular favourite: "We were absolutely stunned at the rawkus encore we got. We were not expecting it and for that reason I wanted to cry! It was an amazing feeling."
With 'Time Is Not Much' soon to hit our shelves and more tours in the pipeline, Australia's love affair with Ladi6 looks only to thrive. Ladi6 looks forward to more time in the country: "We have met some awesome people and have been treated amazingly well everywhere we've roamed so far. But I still want to keep roaming, we have a lot of Australia to go!"
1.Give Me the Light
2.Call You Out
4.Walk Right Up
5.Down and Out
7.Time is not Much
11.More Than Fake
Title: 'Time Is Not Much'