Meet Lepani, the singer - songwriter who went from rugby fields to recording studios
In East Auckland, the streets wind around the bays, away from the beaches and out to the subdivisions towards the South. Nobody on the roads, nobody on the beach when the weather kicks in. The sound of the sea becomes part of the hiss and roar of life. At night, the windows glow warm, showing signs of life in the suburbs. There’s peace and salvation in these homely streets.
Underneath his parent’s brick and weatherboard home in Howick, Lepani can lose hours in his studio.
Filled with instruments inherited from his high school music class, it’s home to the quiet, unassuming songwriter. It’s in these quiet hours in this very place that he produced his debut single ‘Pocketful of Love’ and parts of his debut EP, In The Moment.
As Lepani has grown into himself as a songwriter and performer, Lepani’s musical world plays out in cinematic colour.
In high school Lepani balanced rugby with his love of theater and film, falling into the emotive narratives of what he saw on screen to t he stories playing out in comic books.
Picking up the graveyard shifts and working two jobs at a Comic bookstore and a cinema to save for home recording gear, he would see his town at night, the quiet moments lost in time. Born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand, Lepani has grown into a quiet disruptor, breaking through the ethnic stereotypes, and finding a unique voice in the space of pop through the Pasifika diaspora in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Signed to Sony Music New Zealand in 2019, Lepani released his de but work at the start of the pandemic.
Released in 2020, Lepani’s debut single ‘Pocketful of Love’ introduced the audience back home to the wholesome boy next door.
Radio back home took notice and a debut EP followed, garnering 15 million career streams to date. Songs like ‘Breathe’ and ‘Next To Me’ would become streaming successes.
Later that year, Lepani took home Pacific Music Award for Best Pacific Soul and R&B Artist and attracted three nominations at the Aotearoa NZ Music Awards. A promising future lies ahead of the young artist.
Coming into 2023, Lepani carries a slew of world-class pop songs, having released the first two singles (‘Tell You Something’ & ‘The Morning’) of his upcoming EP ‘The Morning’.
This time the scene is set around the depths of suburbia – the love, the comfort, the worries, and fears. This time in a neon- inflected palette of propulsive synthesizers, not unfamiliar to the early 80s. Youth and the messiness of figuring it out creeps into the bars.