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Hailing from the beautiful east coast shores of Queensland, Australia, Paua is an independent band who entered the diverse realm of reggae in 2009. As a dynamic 7 piece collective, their goals have been fierce yet humble; to create and release original reggae music that they love and that has made a difference to the masses who LOVE that bona fide divergent sound of Paua Reggae Music.
Paua’s music is a distinct blend of all the sweet elements of reggae, soul, and funk; producing an earthy original sound unique to them. Feel good, powerful live performances are captivating, high energy with a vibrant blend of creativity, pure musicianship, and originality.
There is a mighty blend of musical influences within the band and the cultural diversity adds to this. From New Zealand Maori, Australian/Indigenous, Filipino and Mauritian, they are truly an eclectic melting pot. Creative sessions evolve with each member’s flavor resulting in some amazing compositions. Songs often go in interesting directions which adds to the unique musical magic they create.
Founder and Frontman Jay Thomas brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the band with his exceptional songwriting abilities and impeccable vocal style. “Although most songs are inspired by life and its experiences, some are a spontaneous and natural expression” Their big hit Coming Home is a testament to this.
Now with two album releases, an EP and multiple single releases topping iTunes reggae charts in Australia and New Zealand, Paua is ready to take on the world. They have been blessed to share the stage at major festivals with reggae giants such as UB40, Steel Pulse, Julian Marley, Ky-Mani Marley, Black Slate, Raging Fyah, Tarrus Riley, Third World, and Katchafire to name just a few. Having already played at some of the biggest roots/reggae festivals in the Southern Hemisphere including multiple sold out One Love Festivals (NZ), Paua is an unstoppable force bringing all the key signature elements to reggae internationally.
Having paid years of homage to their homelands of New Zealand and Australia, with sell-out shows nationally in both countries, Paua is spreading its wings with much anticipation as they globalize their musical journey to accomplish their vision; which is to share the unique sound of Paua.
For the People
Release Date: September 27, 2018
Label: Paua Music
Copyright: Paua Music
Total Length: 25:12
Total Tracks: 5
IRIE. Take us back to the beginning of PAUA. You guys formed your band in 2009 in Australia. How did you all meet and what led you to form the reggae band PAUA?
PAUA. The band was formed in 2009, by myself and two other musicians. We all had a common love and desire to create original reggae music. Two of us grew up in New Zealand in the ’80s and we were surrounded by reggae most of our lives, so it was a natural vibe. We would get together weekly in our garages or rehearsal space, with the sole purpose of working on and developing our songs. We did this for about a year, adding some like-minded members along the way before we played our first show. During that period there were little expectations because the fire was fresh and all we knew, was that we wanted to create music we loved….organic and natural. There’s not a huge reggae scene in Australia, so forming Paua was a gratifying platform to be able to express our music.
IRIE.We are so blessed to be able to premiere your latest music video Promises & Lies. Can you share with us how you came up with the idea and direction of the video?
PAUA. We came up with the concept of a video, together with the Director, simply by allowing the lyrics to guide us. Promises and Lies is such a thought-provoking song, so we aspired to convey a storyline that would encapsulate its message; that no matter what you take from these people, you can’t take their roots. Indigenous oppression is global. We didn’t want to target a specific indigenous culture with neither the song or the video, so we kept the storyline simple and powerful. It begins with a young boy from the country who then makes his way through life in the ‘city’. He becomes a man, moving through life in the workplace, yet visually, we see him as a boy. Throughout his time in the city, he encounters members of Paua which then nostalgically takes him back to his homeland and childhood. We felt this would tie the two contrasting worlds together visually. It’s not until the end when we see the adult version of himself back on the farm amongst his creature comforts, we realize, that the whole time he’s been in the city, he was always pining for his roots, his homeland. Although many indigenous peoples have been forced out of their lands to move onto the next chapters of their lives, the heritage and culture is so deep, it simply can’t be taken away, no matter what.
IRIE. Can you share with us the inspiration behind your name?
PAUA. Being based in Australia, we really wanted a name that had a link to our homeland, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and our Maori culture. So when one of the guys suggested the name Paua, it stuck. Paua is the Maori name for Abalone known worldwide for their beautifully colored shells. It’s such an iconic household name and has always held ties to our home. The Maori name for treasure is Taonga, and in NZ, Paua is considered just that, not only as a valued delicacy but used a lot for creative art pieces as well. The name really feels like home for us.
IRIE. What has been the biggest song for PAUA and why?
PAUA. There are definitely a few to choose from, but Coming Home would have to be our most popular song thus far. It was a spiritual experience for me as a songwriter and I feel the lyrics wrote themselves. There’s a soul to the song that is hard to explain and I never imagined the impact it would have on people in the years to come. Over time, this song has become an anthem for our followers. It’s always so beautiful to know that our music has touched people from all over the world. Hearing crowds sing this song word for word at our shows is, and will always be a very humbling experience.
IRIE. When you are creating new music, is it true that you draw from each member of the band in the creative process? Can you share the importance of this contribution process within the band?
PAUA. Yes, it’s true, having everyone contribute is important. What really gives Paua it’s unique flavor, is the fact that we are a melting pot of musicians. Each person comes from their own musical paths both past and present and we all have a wide range of musical influences.
When we come together to create, fusion and natural injection of influence will always be there, but keeping reggae music as the heartbeat of every song, is the pinnacle.
When we are able to breathe life into it with thoughtful lyrics and great musicianship, then magic is made. Often a song will end up sounding completely different from the initial jam because we are always open to experimenting with new ideas.
IRIE. Where do you get your inspiration for your songs?
PAUA. Inspiration can come at any time from anywhere. It could be a little melody floating around in my head and building on it, or maybe a jam session that starts from nothing but evolves into a song as we vibe off each other and bounce ideas around. Sometimes the musical spirit amongst a bunch of humans, hungry to create, will inspire the most beautiful music.
IRIE. PAUA’S music is a distinct blend of all the sweet elements of reggae, soul & funk. Who are some of your musical influences?
PAUA. That’s actually a really challenging question! Individually, we all come from such vast musical backgrounds and our tastes are very eclectic. It’s really tough nailing down a particular artist or band that has influenced our sound as a whole. For example, Jay grew up within a musical family, raised on the soul of Sam Cooke and Stevie Wonder, the funk of the Commodores and the sweet countrified harmonies of The Eagles through to the R&B and Hip Hop era of the ’90s.
Reggae was his first love though; “Growing up in New Zealand, I first started hearing reggae on the radio, artists like UB40, Aswad, Maxi Priest, Black Slate, Peter Tosh, New Zealand legends Herbs, and of course, Bob Marley.
Saxophonist Cassie, the female essence in the band, rates the funk and soul of Chaka Khan, Tower of Power & Allen Stone, as among her favorite live acts of all time. “There’s something about a solid, relentless groove, offbeat hits, powerhouse vocals and of course, a tight horn section, that’s so compelling”. This holds true for reggae, especially her love for legends, Steel Pulse. Collectively, Paua sits on such a broad spectrum of musical tastes. This makes the journey so interesting, and with open musical minds, creative possibilities are endless.
IRIE. What do you hope your fans and first-time listeners take with them after listening to Paua?
PAUA. We would hope that people feel the honesty of our music first and foremost. Our musicianship years of experience behind each band member is something we’re really proud of. We don’t try to conform to any particular sound, and we create, record and play what we genuinely love. What you see and hear, is what you will get – and that is what makes this journey a joy for us.
IRIE. Is it important that each Paua song tell a story or have a particular message? If so, how do you decide on the topics of your song?
PAUA. We always aspire to use our platform as an opportunity to inspire our listeners, to motivate or remind people how precious life and love is. Be it from experience, thoughts or what we see happening on this planet right now, the aim is clear – to share a message that is real and relatable. Other times we may write about observations that have become inconvenient truths, be it political, environmental or the system in general. We have no limits on topics. It’s really just about creating something we love, we believe in and hope people will embrace.
IRIE. Are there any artists or bands that you would like to collaborate with?
PAUA. There are so many artists around we would love to collab with!
Hollie Cook, Chronixx and Prince Fatty just to name a few, also legends like Luciano, Maxi Priest and Steel Pulse would be an honor.
Opportunities to sing, record or perform with amazing reggae artists we love would be IRIE!!
IRIE. What’s on the horizon for PAUA in regards to new music? Any chance of PAUA touring in the U.S.?
PAUA. We’re always working on new music, new ideas and our creative sessions are a real-time of unwinding and letting it all flow. Our main goal is to release another single this year with an album early next year.
It would be an absolute dream to be able to come to the US. To perform at Red Rocks would be a massive achievement and honor! Paua is ready to reach a global audience, and the U.S. would be an amazing start.
IRIE. Is there anything you would like to share with our IRIE audience?
PAUA. We’d like to give thanks and respect to all the amazing pioneers of this most beautiful music, reggae. No other music feels, moves and speaks to us the way reggae music does. It’s the heartbeat of our own music because of our passion and love for it. We are forever grateful for the works done in years gone by and today, to spread the wonderful reggae grooves to all the corners of the earth.
Big love to Irie Magazine for supporting independent music, for believing in us and for the relentless efforts spreading the love and music of reggae artists globally.