Raised in Avondale, Auckland, MELODOWNZ credits his unique sound to influences from hip-hop and reggae to G-funk and soul all accompanied by punchy lyrics. Catch MELODOWNZ  on his New Zealand tour this summer. We caught up with the rapper ahead of the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

When it comes to New Zealand artists we often see the music videos, live performances and red carpet outfits, but only rarely get a glimpse behind the scenes. What does a typical day in the life of MELODOWNZ look like?

As a full-time artist and musician, every day is different for me. A typical day can either be full on with admin, emails etc setting things up for a release or up and coming shows or more or less staying home and creating music.

On a mellow day, I’ll get up, have a bite to eat, get a coffee and then go through my emails. A lot of what I do is based on emails and invoices so I try and get as much of that stuff out the way. I have a new record coming out in two weeks so my days have been filled with preparation for that like, going to the studio getting my record mixed and mastered, radio station interviews, meetings with people and making sure everything is in place for the release on the 23rd of November.

We’ve recently been getting into your debut album High Beams and especially love “Major”, it’s a tune for NZ summer for sure. Are you planning on touring this summer? Where can we catch you? 

Haha nice, yes, I have a few shows coming up and also my double EP release tour starts in January which I’m excited to take on the road.

If you could perform for anyone, who would it be?

My family and friends at a dope ass intimate house party setting.

When we look at you, we instantly recognize your laid-back kiwi style. We know your upbringing in West Auckland has been reflected in your music and shaped you as an artist. How have your surroundings inspired the way you dress?

It has inspired my style a lot just with the whole unapologetic casualness, socks and slides,  pro club t-shirts etc, Being Polynesian I was inspired a lot by my culture and surroundings. Growing up in Avondale, I’ve always mixed my urban roots with my Polynesian style and music I grew up on. That has always been the foundation of how my style is today.

How do you choose what to wear on stage? Any favorite designers worth a mention?

These days I go for what’s more comfortable on stage than what looks good. An hour live set on stage is pretty much like a high intensity work out so you wanna be comfortable while sweating your ass off haha! But in saying that I’ve been wearing this dope oriental Golden silk two-piece outfit from this local Chinese herbal medicine shop, I try and keep it unique when I do put in the effort to wear something special.

I’m also a big fan of Evisu jeans so Hidehiko Yamane is one of my favourite designers along with Yohji Yamamoto who is the founder of Y3, those are my favourite sandals,  I wear these dope Teva patterned sandals and socks which were influenced by the Y3 sandal look.

Who do you look to for style inspiration?

I’m still heavily inspired by the ’90s hip-hop look, Bone thugs n harmony inspired me to braid my hair.  I also look to Japanese fashion, they are always like 10 steps ahead of what every else is wearing.

I also used to work at an elderly rest home, and I’m not gonna lie, a lot of the old people have more swag then these young cats for real. Like this old man was wearing this Ralph Lauren polo shirt, with these dope forest green corduroy pants, with a Kangol cheese cutter, Rolex watch and Clarks Wallabees on his feet, so yeah, I guess I’m inspired by that old man swag as well.

Do you have any advice for others who are wanting to follow their dreams but aren’t quite sure how?

Just do you, work hard, focus, stay grounded, keep unique and don’t change for anyone else. Have compassion with the energy you give off and spread love where you can. ~Liiightside

MELODOWNZ’ latest project is dropping on the 23rd of November titled MELO&BLUES. Watch the first single “Peace $igns, Gang $igns” here

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