How does it feel for music to be part of your culture and upbringing? For Collarts Music Performance student Silao Stanzlauz-Atoa, music had always been a huge part of his life in New Zealand and Australia. Performing for Cultural Diversity Week, Silao shared his love for R&B, Soul and his faith by performing a gospel song and track he grew up with at home. Chatting with Silao about his love for music, we asked him about his experience at Collarts so far and why genre is so important for his love of music.
Hey Silao, thanks for chatting with me today! Tell me first, what’s your background?
I am Samoan-Newayan. I’m originally from New Zealand, born and raised. I moved here in 2010 with my family, where we live in the South East around the Cranbourne, Dandenong and Narre Warren area.
Yes, South East represent! How are you liking Collarts so far?
The first two days were really new and I was nervous but it was fun. I got to meet a lot of people. Collarts was my first preference after high school, when I first came to Australia Collarts was the first music university I had heard of.
“That’s what I love about Collarts because I’m learning everything; I’m still developing myself and I have so many opportunities to focus on that.”
What song did you perform?
I performed a song that I basically grew up with. I always used to sing it in New Zealand and even now, here in Australia. My cultural background is really religious and we’re Christian/Catholic, so I’m singing a gospel song. The song is called ‘He Wants It All” by Forever Jones.
That’s amazing. How would you normally describe your tastes?
I play a lot of piano but I mostly sing. My genre isn’t usually gospel songs, it’s actually R&B and Soul. I love Hip-Hop too. I’m starting to develop my own music and I want to eventually get to the point I’m sharing my work—but right now, what’s the rush? That’s what I love about Collarts because I’m learning everything; I’m still developing myself and I have so many opportunities to focus on that.
I was curious to know, what artists inspire you?
Oh, definitely Jessie J, Tori Kelly, Bruno Mars and John Legend. I also love Kehlani, Lauren Hill and Bob Marley. I listen to a lot of pop, which surprises people. People are often like, “you’re so R&B” and they assume I don’t like someone like Julia Michaels. I love Julia Michaels. I love a variety of different genres and I have a lot of people I aspire to be. I’d definitely fangirl over Tori Kelly or Jessie J—they both have unique voices. I also love old school R&B, like Aaliyah and Mario.
Being in Trimester One, do you have any highlights of your time at Collarts so far?
The highlight would easily be making friends with everyone. Getting to know everyone, getting to know my ensemble; practicing my ensemble songs with everyone. I love mixing with other genres—and everyone has their own genres and we just come together, and combine it all up. I love socialising with people and we all have the same passion of music so I just love others interests and to see what they’re into. It’s been so eye-opening.