Tuesday, May 13, 2014

NZMM Day 13 – Anika Moa

Today’s artist is Anika Moa. I’ve liked her for years, and I follow her on Twitter, but it was my niece who suggested her as an artist of the day for today. Either one is a good reason.

I’ve known about Anika for years, but as I started this post, I struggled to remember when, exactly, I first heard of her: I honestly can’t remember. In this case, that’s a good thing: It means I was quick to like and accept her, without the usual “breaking in” period.

The video up top is of “Youthful” (2001), her first single, from her Thinking Room album. This song reached Number 5 on the NZ music chart, and the album reached Number 1 and was 2x Platinum. I remember hearing this song on the radio. At the time, she was youthful herself, being all of around 21.

The video below is of “Falling in Love Again” (2002), also from Thinking Room, and which also reached Number 5 on the NZ chart (and 61 in Australia). I heard this song one the radio, too— a lot.

I see this video through different eyes now: In 2007, Anika came out as lesbian, which makes the heterosexual imagery seem somewhat odd in retrospect—except that the imagery isn’t necessarily supported by the lyrics—the kiss at the end, for example, is quite chaste, like one letting someone down easily; entirely my ex post facto interpretation, of course. The thing is, I’m not a fan of LGBT artists doing videos with heterosexual imagery, but watching this now, the heterosexual imagery in this video seems a bit deflected. Again, that’s a view after the fact, so I could be projecting and protecting.

The final video today is the most recent one that Anika posted to her YouTube Channel: “Blame it on the Rain” (2010). It was the final single from her Love In Motion album. While the single didn't chart, the album hit Number 4. It’s the only example I can access of Anika today.

I’ve liked Anika Moa since I first heard her. I will freely admit that I liked her just a little bit more when I learned she was family, as we say, and I make no apologies for that. After all, I already liked her as part of the Kiwi Artist family, so what’s one more?


rogerogreen said...

As I (vaguely) recall, Melissa Ethridge's early single (Similar Features) were sexually ambiguous. As, of all people, Bill Mahar, recently said in a different context: " You can’t purge everybody who doesn’t evolve exactly on the timetable you did." He was talking about Obama and marriage equality, but there may be something to it; and that certainly applies to my judgmental nature.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

That's true. Many of the LGBT artists I've followed over the years began with more ambiguous lyrics/videos, even if they didn't seem so at the time. I think that for LGBT fans, we expect to see heterosexuality reflected in pop culture, so sometimes we miss it when there are subtle gay themes or imagery, or, even, non-specific ones.

I don't really care what artists do. For example, straight actors have long portrayed gay people and I don't judge them for acting against their true nature. Same with musicians. It's just that once they're out, I prefer to see them reflecting that fact in their work rather than portraying a heterosexual. I know many of them find that too restrictive, though, and I don't begrudge them making that artistic choice (as long as they're honest in other ways). It's just that after most of a lifetime in which my life wasn't reflected in pop culture, I kind of expect it now and don't really like it when LGBT artists choose not to.

None of which is the case with the song above—she wasn't out at the time the song was recorded or the video was made,