During our trip to Los Angeles, we also had the opportunity to sit down for an Exclusive Interview with Opetaia Foa’i and chat about Moana’s music. If you have watched the movie, then you know how amazing and beautiful the lyrics are. Opetaia Foa’i and Lin-Manuel Miranda were the talents behind the enchantment of the music.
I was invited by Disney to attend the LA Red Carpet Premier and Press Event for the #MoanaEvent, #ABCTVEvent and #StuckInTheMiddleEvent. This special invitation is an all expense paid trip, but all magical opinions are mine alone.
Exclusive Interview with Opetaia Foa’i and Moana’s Music #MoanaEvent
Opetaia Foa’i is a singer and songwriter who founded the Pacific music band, Te Vaka. They have won several awards for their albums and even an award as best Pacific Group. As you can see Opetaia Foa’i is very talented and really knows what he is talking about when it comes to Pacific music. So, it really only made sense for Disney to add him to the music composing the team, along with Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Opetaia Foa’i shared with us that his manager was the one who noticed Disney’s name among CD orders and contacted them. He says that he is lucky that Disney chose him to be apart of Moana. Writing together with Lin-Manuel Miranda was the perfect combination. Opetaia Foa’i shared with us that although he doesn’t read music, his lyrics are written from his emotions and can captivate a scene with that.
How did you decide how to mix some of the cultures and give it a more modern feel? How did you balance it wanting to make it up to date songs that have that traditional sound, lyrics?
I sort of trusted,that Mark, Chris Montan and Tom would make those decisions. I didn’t compromise from my cultural background either. I’m very, very passionate about the chance of the olden pre-MIssionary Pacific, who didn’t have melodies but just chants and beats and I love it.
When sharing his thoughts on the movie Moana and how the music was played into the movie, Opetaia Foa’i exclaimed that the animation and the story were beautiful. He also expressed that his ancestors would be proud of the movie and how it captivated their culture.
What song had the most meaning to you that made it on the Soundtrack?
The first track that I wrote was “We Know the Way”. I wrote that as soon as 2015 on the flight back home, when Jon and Roznet explained what they wanted and of course voyaging is my thing, you know. He was so excited that I wrote and then we got together in Carmel with, Lin and Mark. We sort of rembrandt, we were pacing up and down outside and getting all the lyrics together. Smoke coming out of us. And they come out with those beautiful lyrics and just slaughtered it. Then we knew something was special about this.
Opetaia Foa’i also shared with us that he thought that his journey had come to an end. He had traveled the world so much and seen so much, that he would never have thought this would come to pass for him. Working with Disney was something that he never expected. Speaking to him you can tell that he is humbled and gratified by his experiences. That one of his dreams came true before he was to hand his “ores” as he said to us.
Here are a few photos I took of Opetaia Foa’i, his band Te Vaka, and his daughter who is the singer/dancer as well as the Red Carpet Event of Disney’s MOANA at El Capitan Theater.
Above singing is Opetaia Foa’i daughter, Olivia. She has the most amazing voice and you can see that her father is very proud of his daughter. I know that for him sharing his culture with the world is very important and these songs really do show exactly that.
Make sure to go see Moana in theaters now!! Why? Because it’s amazing and it was the number 1 movie three weeks in a row! That’s why!
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