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Bella Kalolo
on ‘The Panthers soundtrack’

Bella Kalolo features on the soundtrack for the TV show 'The Panthers.' You can watch all episodes here. Nina Lesperance from SOUNZ caught up with Bella about her time on the project.

Intro/ Pepeha 

Kia Ora, Talofa, Malo e lelei,
I hail from Christchurch, was born and bred there.
I am of Samoan, Tongan, and Maori descent (Ngati Porou).

Congratulations on the release of the soundtrack for Polynesian Panthers. What has it meant to you to be able to work on such a culturally significant project?

To be a part of such a pivotal movement which is steeped in years of sacrifice and is so relevant to our today's and tomorrow's, and to bring it into the here and now to help educate people about what had happened means so very much to me!!! Our right to live here has been forged with such pride and selflessness from all who have paved its way. I'm more than proud to be a part of this project.

You feature on the track ‘Must Seem Popular.’ Can you tell us a bit about this song? 

When I first got the call to feature on this track by Troy Kingi and Jonathan Crayford, all I could think about was how proud my Mum would have been. I sang this song from her perspective. To me, the lyrics really drive home how it's so trying to keep pushing and keep believing in yourself when everything is stacked against you. And if you are a child of an Immigrant, you understand that the drive your parents have is unlike any other drive you'll ever know. Without even having started a race, you already are starting at what seems to be 200 meters behind everyone else, but their push and determination never deter.

‘Must Seem Popular’ is a standout track on this album as it is a smooth soulful tune. Was this to fit into a specific part in the TV series?

I think the song totally fits the soundscape of that time, but because Soul is so classic, it traverses time and space and has the power to fit anywhere.
I think Tom and the team put more of the instrumentation side of this track into the series and because the music is so beautiful it was poignantly placed.
Please watch the series!!!! You'll learn a lot about what had happened, and in some cases what is still happening now. You'll also learn a lot about yourself!!!

This album is a collaboration between so many amazing artists. What was it like collaborating with such a wide range of artists? 

I honestly feel super cliché but I'm gonna say hashtag blessed, cos that's how I feel!!! I never knew my pride could increase!!! I see an ad or a billboard about The Panthers, and I feel like we are being heard, and not even in a musical sense.

Do you have anything coming up the SOUNZ audience should keep an eye out for? 

I was supposed to have a heap of gigs coming up but Uncle Lockdown came to town.