THE thrill of their debut television appearance as contestants on the then Vodafone MIC Show in 2009 will be taken to another level when Elena Baravilala, Savuto Vakadewavosa and Ilisavani Cava perform at the inaugural 2014 FPRA Music Awards on Saturday, July 26, in Suva.
Cava's song You and Me and Baravilala's originals Fire and Here With You have been nominated for the Best English Song award.
Vakadewavosa, showing his versatility as an artist who sings in both vernaculars, has two compositions vying for awards.
His single Isa My Viti has been shortlisted for the Best iTaukei Song award and Giving Life is in the running for the Best English Song award.
Although the youngsters are emerging music stars in their own right, the trio said they were humbled at being given the opportunity to pay tribute to local music composers, performers and musicians who set the platform for Fiji in years gone by.
Cava may have left our shores in search of making it big in Australia but his heart still remains firmly entrenched in Fiji.
He said being asked to perform at Fiji music's night of nights was a pleasant surprise.
"I really am grateful to be part of such a big event and also one of the biggest nights for music in Fiji," he shared.
"To perform on a stage filled with some of Fiji's greatest legends, musicians, singers and artists is a blessing and I thank God for this opportunity.
"It's so humbling to be chosen to be a part of the celebration to salute the hard work of each individual artist and the accomplishments of Fiji's greats is a dream come true for someone as young as me, who is just beginning to make my mark in the industry."
Cava said the decades of unrelenting efforts of local legends, and those who entertained around the country despite financial hardships, was testimony of the strength and character of Fiji's musicians.
"I think that this event not only recognises the hard work of composers and musicians from the past but also acts as a platform for the new generation that will take Fiji music to the next level.
"I believe that the time has come for Fiji music to not only be played, enjoyed and recognised within the region but also across the world."
The 2009 Vodafone MIC Show winner's enthusiasm about performing at awards ceremony to be the Grand Pacific Hotel was shared by fellow finalist, Elena Baravilala.
"I am very excited and definitely blessed to be one of the nominees and being chosen to perform my work on the night is a really big thrill," the 25-year-old songstress shared.
After the success of her hit single Viti in 2012, Baravilala, a prolific songwriter, said she was working on a follow-up single with a well-known artist.
"Viti was a song that I wrote while I was in Vanuatu and it's an expression of my love for Fiji as a country and a nation.
"It's a celebration of who we are as a people, our ethnic diversity and multi-cultural society and our harmony as a nation despite the challenges we face on a daily basis.
"After performing at the Pacific Festival of Arts in Papua New Guinea, my focus will return to putting together a few singles and hopefully an album.
"One of the first singles I'm going to work on is with a really famous artist. I can't reveal who it is right now but fans can expect something special if discussions go through."
Baravilala's music is reflective of the new generation. Her songs speak of the daily struggles of the youth in the Pacific caught between trying to maintain tradition while embracing the fast-paced internet driven information age.
Much like her musical stories, Tailevu native and rising Fijian pop star Savuto Vakadewavosa's music also has messages for and from the youth of today.
For music fans who have bought tickets to the prestigious awards night, watching Vakadewavosa perform will be one of the highlights of the black tie event.
Since his 2011 remake of Laisa Vulakoro's hit single Noqu I Tau, Vakadewavosa has strived to be more than just an artist. In 2009 he composed the lyrics for the Fiji Students Stand Against HIV (Fiji STAHS) song and in 2012 he released the single Make A Change, a song about environmental sustainability.
Vakadewavosa has always maintained that he wants to compose music that will inspire youths. And he will continue to use his popularity as a music artist to get important messages across.
The new generation of Fijian artists are writing songs with a conscience. They unanimously agree that music is much more than entertainment and are intent on composing songs that will get people thinking about issues that affect the youth, Fiji and the Pacific.
Mentored by vude queen, Laisa Vulakoro, these three youngsters are well on their way to stamping their mark in the country and across the region.
While those who will be privileged enough to witness the inaugural awards ceremony will primarily be there to celebrate the success of the 60 nominees and 12 awards winners, other live music performances on the night by jazz legend Tom Mawi, resident rocker Knox, feature band — Fiji's globetrotting musical ambassadors Rosiloa — and a surprise performance by West-based Makare will make for a night of fun and festivity.
Tickets for the inaugural 2014 FPRA Music Awards are available at the Fiji Performing Rights Association office at 66 MacGregor Rd in Suva.
The Fiji Times is the print media partner for the event.
Best iTaukei Song sponsored by TLTB
Sa Mai Yalani Tu — Kitione Vunisasari
Na Kavoro Oqo — Etonia Lote Jnr
Isa My Viti — Savuto Vakadewavosa
Tagimoucia — Viliame Cokanauto
Qai A I Muri Qore — Kerry Damudamu
Best English Song sponsored by the PBS Group of Companies
Fire — Elena Baravilala
You and Me — Ilisavani Cava
Giving Life — Savuto Vakadewavosa
Here With You — Elena Baravilala
Living In Paradise— Peni Morrison