Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
From a pool of two hundred applicants Rhythm Titimaea is one of twelve Pasifika finalists handpicked to showcase their talents on the Take the Mic TV series from TVNZ where teenage singers and songwriters will get the chance to create a music video with the help of industry experts.
Rhythm entered the competition with the encouragement of a friend after seeing the information on the noticeboard of their school, One Tree Hill College in Auckland. Rhythm recalls her encouragement, “I think you should do it because you have a really nice voice.” Rhythm adds, “I didn’t think too much of it, so when I went home I just skimmed through it, filled out the form and just left it hoping for the best.”
The 16 year old’s family has always supported her pursuing her passion for music. She entered the competition independently from her parents, yet when she came forth with her acceptance into the competition they supported her all the way. “They were comfortable with me auditioning and they let me know that they were there for me if I needed them,” she says.
Based in Manurewa the singer says that not one day goes by where she isn’t singing, whether performing with her friends, in music class or occasionally performing special items at her local church.
Of Samoan, Niuean and Maori heritage, Rhythm isn’t the only gifted singer in her family, as she is surrounded by a whole family of talented musicians. “Both my younger siblings can sing and also my parents can sing too. My dad can play a whole range of instruments and usually accompanies us when we sing,” she says.
Her parents recognised early on that Rhythm has such a huge passion for music, especially for singing, but her schooling came first. “Schooling and education is a really big thing for my parents, especially for University. Getting a degree is important but that time can be shared pursuing my musical career. And, whichever path I choose, they will be there to support me.”
One of Rhythm’s musical idols is award winning singer-songwriter Aaradhna. She describes Aaradhna’s music as being poetic with beautiful melodies, the type of music she would love to make one day. Her enthusiasm for the Samoan/Indian artist is shown in her tribute, cover performance. Rhythm sings Aaradhna’s ‘I’m Not The Same’ as her entry performance.
One of her biggest dreams is to one day perform live alongside another musical legend Sammy Johnson aka Sammy J. “Sammy J is my favourite performer of all time! I love the way he sings and I’ve learned a lot from listening to him. I feel my genre would be similar to his but also love Aaradhna’s as well. So it’s a little bit of a mix of the two,” she says.
Watch Rhythm’s episode on Take the mic here