Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Three Samoan boys – Jonathan Aoina, Paul Aoina and TeeRoy Leo – born and bred in Ōtara, are making their mark in the music industry.
Now based in Sydney, their group STNDRD (standard) made a recent return to their home turf with some more projects up their sleeve.
“It feels good, I think because of COVID we’ve been stuck in Australia,” Jonathan says.
“Haven’t been able to come back ever since we started releasing music so, to come home to the place that we obviously represent proudly in all of our music, it’s kind of a full circle feeling.”
Since 2019 they’ve accumulated a number of singles under their belt such as Poly People and My Uso, the success of which they credit to their Pacific Islands heritage.
“The whole reason why we do music or why we even got into music is because of our cultural backgrounds,” Paul says.
“Especially at the toana’i [when] someone brings out the guitar and then the whole family’s jamming so… yeah, it’s everything.”
Behind their music are uplifting messages that have made a significant impact across the communities they represent especially in their most popular song, My USO (the remix).
“What we do when we get beats is try and feel how the track makes us feel as a listener and when I was listening to that song it kind of made me emotional,” Jonathan says.
“2019 was the peak of ‘drill’ so there was a lot of music that was about conflict and I was thinking this is a good time to maybe make a song about the love we have for our brothers.”
Paul had a feeling of gratitude when the song went viral.
“It was something that we kind of felt like everyone could relate to so when it did blow up, more than anything, we were just overwhelmed and real grateful that people listen to our music.”
With more music on the way, STNDRD hopes to continue to evolve and inspire people with their new album and single, Yours Truly, that will be making its debut this year
“We had the My USO phase and we dropped our EP and it was kind of like a poly urban mix with a bit of soul,” says Jonathan
“This next project and Yours Truly which is a part of our album coming up… we try to evolve and not remain the same as we were in 2019. That’s not to say we’re trying to reinvent ourselves at all but more so we want to challenge ourselves musically.”