BY HAZEL REID

Talented local creative Rei has had a busy past month with the release of his new record Enjoy The Ride pt. 1 and new single Chasing The Sun with Australian singer Isadora plus being announced as a finalist at the upcoming Aotearoa Music Awards. We caught up with Rei to chat about his new album, getting creative during lockdown and future plans.

Rei’s new single Chasing The Sun sounds like the perfect track to add to your summer playlists, which now may not be too surprising as Rei explained he wrote the tune after a Bay of Islands road trip. Rei shared, “It’s the perfect roadie tune – really good melodies, a bit of reggae and RnB vibes, good hook! I originally wrote the full song with just myself on the tune, but I thought it’d work great as a duet with a female. I hit up a few Kiwi singers to jump on it but they passed so I went across the ditch – Isadora is a very talented RnB singer from Sydney, the Australia Hip Hop/RnB scene is having a moment right now so it’s cool to link into that!”

Rei began writing the new record after his 2019 album release The Bridge. He shared, “I like being one of those artists that is constantly creating and releasing, for me writing is the funnest part of being a musician.” Enjoy The Ride is aptly titled as it’s about being present and enjoying the journey. Creating during a pandemic couldn’t have been easy but luckily in the most recent lockdown, Rei was able to be in a bubble with the studio in Titirangi which meant the ‘pump’ out of music could continue.

Despite 2021 being a pretty odd year, Rei managed to hustle hard and get out multiple new music releases including bi-lingual track Hoki Mai / Come Back. Speaking about having bi-lingual tunes, Rei shared “My whole thing is kia whakamāori ai te reo māori – normalising te reo. The way to do that is to integrate it into normal lives, into pop songs, throughout the year, whatever. Any te reo I use just feels normal and natural. A lot of artists are now dropping te reo versions of their song for Māori Language Week, which is awesome, but for me it’s a little tokenistic”. 

Before lockdown hit Rei was on tour across the country with Sweet Mix Kids. As live music plans its comeback, we chatted about performing and any stand out moments which I found out for Rei included interacting with the audience, getting their instant reaction and having them sing the lyrics back. “Especially since I spend a lot of time creating just by myself, getting out and socialising with people that enjoy my music is a real cool community builder for me, makes me feel part of something. Sweet Mix Kids tours are always fun too because I always end up doing some weird and wacky shows” with opening for Netsky this past March being a show highlight. 

After a busy year, Rei already has his sights set on a big 2022 with a bunch of summer festivals and musical plans for Enjoy The Ride pt 2 and a new te reo album plus a trip to America – perhaps where he may run into his dream creative collaborations Diplo and Skrillex. Speaking of collaborations, Rei also mentioned he’d love to do a tune with Stan Walker at some point, “16-year-old Rei would be stoked as”. 

You can catch Rei’s music live over the Summer season as the likes of festivals Splore, Sound Valley, Summer Frequencies and Rolling Meadow are already lined up plus look forward to future new releases in 2022, as he says “MAHI HARD”!

For now, you can stream Rei’s album Enjoy The Ride pt. 1
and new single Chasing The Sun (one to definitely add to your playlist!). 

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