Award-winning Aotearoa artist and producer Seth Haapu has today announced his anticipated forthcoming album, WHAI ORA, set for release on July 14. Alongside the announcement comes his latest single, the laid-back poly-funk track ‘Tropical’, which is out today with its stunning black and white accompanying video.
Pacific soul rhythm and a laid-back funk bassline create the foundation for a lush blend of ukulele and mid-70s moog synth. Topped off with Seth’s liquid velvet voice and a hook-laden chorus, ‘Tropical’ will immediately take you to a place of imagining an endless summer in the beautiful Pacific Islands.
“It’s an invitation to relax and enjoy the island way of life, like its rich culture, community, and harmony with nature,” explains Seth. “The experience shows the value of conserving culture, communities, and the environment like the whakataukī, “Manaaki whenua. Manaaki tangata. Haere whakamua” (care for the land, care for people, go forward).”
Co-produced with Kody Nielson from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Seth wrote the single after a visit to his ancestral home of Huahine, Tahiti, for the first time in generations.
“It was tropical paradise and the land and people were healthy and happy,” reflects Seth. “We were adorned with Hei Upo’o (flower crown) that symbolise mana (prestige, respect) and oranga (wellbeing) as the head is sacred. On the cover art and in the music video, I am crowned with Hei Upo’o to honour the ancient values and connections.
Also out today is the sleek black and white accompanying video, featuring stunning wāhine of Ura Tabu. Highlighting the real and natural beauty of Polynesia, “they move with the grace and style of a calming sea.” With Abe Mora and Noah Haapu as Directors of Photography, and Mikey Rockwell on post-production, it was Seth himself who directed and produced the video.
“It was my first time in garments inspired by the traditional wear of my Polynesian ancestors, created by Melita’s Crowns and award-winning designer Vivian Hosking-Aue,” says Seth. “The experience brought me closer to my cultural identity. When I saw my reflection, I could see my ancestors.”
Today’s release is the second single to be unveiled from Seth’s upcoming album WHAI ORA, following the meditative waiata aroha ‘Rongoā’ which received widespread support from radio and TV across the country. Set for release on July 14, the album WHAI ORA is “a journey of wellbeing. This is the heart of today’s release ‘Tropical’, and a theme that pulses through the upcoming album, WHAI ORA. The songs on the album convey the essence of life when there is balance in the interconnectedness of all things.”
Check out all things Seth Haapu below: