Music from the heart

Kula Kei Uluivuya lead singer Viliame Cokanauto and his group entertain guests during the 2017 FPRA Music Awards. Picture: FT FILE

Kula Kei Uluivuya lead singer Viliame Cokanauto and his group entertain guests during the 2017 FPRA Music Awards. Picture: FT FILE

THE life of a musician has traditionally been one with many highs, and oh so many lows.

Talk to any musician, young or old, and they will tell you that it’s a low income job that sees many artists bouncing between bands.

For working performers nothing is guaranteed — there is no security of pay, future pension or even holiday and time with family.

Simply put, making a life as a musician is tough, especially on the home front.

Many women have found out the hard way that life with a musician has many curves.

Besides the challenges of earning a living, the culture of late nights can lead most to a perpetual state of disappointment and frustration.

Maintaining a healthy relationship while committed to a lifestyle of touring and performing in front of hundreds of people is a complicated balancing act.

For some musicians, their personal relationships have been strained by the constant absence and the time consuming effort to maintain a musical career.

This is a lifelong struggle that some have barely managed to master. It has also led others to live a life of solitude as they commit their time to their art.

Delving into this darker aspect of the music industry is Taveuni export Viliame Cokanauto in his 2017 track Lewa Mo Nanuma.

Better known as Kula Kei Uluivuya or KKU, Lewa Mo Nanuma chronicles the difficult relationship Cokanauto faces with his life partner.

And after almost seven months on the airwaves, the song now has an accompanying music video.

Cokanauto released the four-minute clip earlier this month and tried to capture the essence of a relationship affected by musical dreams.

Singing the personal lyrics on the backdrop of a sunset, strolling through a beach while contemplating his relationship, Cokanauto takes the viewer through his personal struggles in the musical melodrama.

The video also features his wife, Caroline Lana, the inspiration behind the song that has catapulted KKU to the top of music charts around the Pacific.

There is a moment of vulnerability in the clip where the couple share a personal moment, clinging to each other while Cokanauto sings.

The electronic dance mix opens with the line “I know sometimes, you find it hard to believe in me” providing a prelude to what listeners can expect from the very personal track.

In the chorus, Cokanauto laments “Oh Lewa, mo nanuma, that you are the only one. I know it’s been hard and it tears you apart. Just know that you are the only one.”

He said he penned the song with premier Solomon Island artist and top-notch producer Young Davie a year before its release.

He said the pair was going through a difficult time in their individual relationships when they wrote the song.

“I wrote the song with Young Davie when we were both at a point in our lives where we were going through some stuff during both our relationships,” he said.

“For me personally, it was about how I felt at that point in time.

“So I sat down with Young Davie one day and we came up with this track. He played me a beat he had been working on and the song just poured out — all the pain, all my hopes, all the frustration and misunderstanding.”

Cokanauto said the track’s popularity could most probably be linked to its honesty and the fact that the lyrics told a story that was as old as the art form itself — that musicians were faced with the constant dilemma of trying to chase their dreams and appease their loved ones at the same time.

At some point, something had to give and relationships were often the victims of the emotional roller-coaster ride.

“The message is that sometimes musicians like me go through moments in their relationships where the other half doubts your intentions.

“I feel that as a musician and when I’m out touring and doing gigs, my partner will sometimes doubt who I am and what I am about.

“But in whatever I am doing, I am constantly trying to put out good music and to do shows where at the end of the day I am able to provide for my family.

“I think that’s what drives me to work harder and do better, so the song is what I feel — its KKU stripped to the core — warts and all.”

Opening up about his personal relationship with his wife, he said his wife has been his rock.

“It’s not easy being with me, I can acknowledge that. And I have the utmost respect for her and I know she has her reasons for feeling a certain way, but she has always been there and is always there for me no matter what.

“Sometimes when we fight, I would pick up the guitar and sing to her and she would always tell me you should record that but half the time I don’t.

“For me, music has become a way that I express how I feel to her and at times, it’s the only way I can tell her how I feel.

“Speaking from my heart through songs is the only way I can truly express myself to her.

“Even though I’m not perfect, she always has my back, and which is why she is a blessing to me and my sons.

“She inspires me to be better and grow as a musician, as a father and a husband.”