Already widely acclaimed, including a rave review in Forbes, Paula Fuga’s new record, “Rain on Sunday” presents an artist who has matured in her role as the Hawaiian queen of soul.
“I’ve been listening to it for months and it’s so amazing” Jack Johnson said in a promotional video.
His first full studio album since his “Lilikoi” debuts in 2006, “Rain on Sunday” is a timeless work so rich and resplendent of memorable songs that it will be hard to ignore at the 2022 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.
Fuga, however, exudes grace and humility when he talks about the collection.
“I’m so grateful that I was finally able to release it to the world, so that it can deliver all of its magic to people,” said Fuga. “I envisioned people healing from music and having something that helps them process their thoughts and emotions. That’s what music does for me.
Collection of 12 songs, the album starts on an upbeat note with “Just a little.” With his contagious reggae groove and inspiring lyrics about staying positive and overcoming challenges, he could have honored a Bob Marley album.
“There was no other way than I imagine opening my album”, she said. “It had to be this song. I have two little nieces and they were in the middle of how kids get stuck in the middle when parents are in trouble. So with my nieces I just wanted to cheer them on, and make them feel better, and know that this difficult time would eventually pass. All they had to do was hold on a little longer.
Songs come to her in various ways, she explained. “’Just a Little Bit’ came like a whisper in the wind, as if I had picked a leaf blowing in the wind and taken it as my own. “
The remarkable ballad with gospel flavors “Too hot mom” draws its inspiration from his early childhood. “’Too Hot Mama’ has a really cool story. “ she noted. “I was hot and pushed my way through a crowd of people. They just wanted to say hello, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, is this going to end someday? I need to take a shower.’ At the same time, I was like, ‘Calm down, relax, be nice.’
“As I made my way through the crowd, I heard this melody and thought back to the story my mother told me when I was a baby, my grandfather tied a stroller to it. an avocado tree and he rocked me to sleep under the avocado. tree. I had to cry and scream so loud to put your child under that tree all night. I was as happy as a lamb sleeping in the breeze. I started to think about what I would have said if I could have spoken – of course I would say too hot mom. Mom too hot.
Another strong point, the jazzy / soulful “You have this girl” offers stimulating advice to three women she knows.
“There are three different stories” she explained. “One is a teenage girl in depression, the second was a mother stuck in an abusive relationship and the other was another woman stuck in a negative working relationship. I wanted to encourage these wahines because they are amazing and strong women. .
“If I can get from where I started, homeless on the beach rummaging through trash for food, to the White House having dinner with the President of the United States of America , they can do that too. There really is no excuse. I made my dreams come true and met all of my needs with my music.
The wonderful title song, where she plays the ukulele and sings to encourage us to spend more time in nature, came on a day when she had a little argument with her husband.
“I was frustrated because my husband didn’t want to listen to the rain” she said. “He had turned on the TV and I was like, ‘Hey, turn off the TV.’ He was like ‘Why?’ “So we can listen to the rain.” He said to me, ‘You’re crazy.’ I looked at him like who the hell is this guy I married, he doesn’t even want to listen to the rain. How could that be? I pouted for a few minutes, and while I pouted, the melody is Come with the words, “Listen to the rain on a Sunday morning, let it fall, let it wash away. It was a beautiful song and it came so easily.”
With piano accompaniment by Mike Grande, Fuga’s lovely song “Hoapili” highlights her as an emotional ballad singer. “It’s a song about friendship” she said. “It was really beautiful because I could feel his (Mike Grande’s) heart in it. Mike Love (the producer) said it was the most vulnerable song I have ever written.
With original songs except that of Sade “Rock lovers” – “I’m a fan of Sade, I grew up listening to his music” -and Georges “Boogie” by Kalama “Hokule’a Star of Joy” on the star who guided the pioneer travel canoe, the album was produced by Fuga and Mike Love, with guests including Johnson, Ben Harper on lap steel guitar, reggae band Natural Vibrations and vocalist J Boog.
Recorded live in the studio, all songs were compiled before the pandemic hit Hawaii, except for a touching duet with Johnson on “If ever,” which was released as the first single and performed live at the nation on “Hello America.”
Co-composed by the two musicians, it addressed the loss of their fathers. “Even though it was our fathers, personally I feel in writing, recording and singing the song that we considered how difficult the last year had been for a lot of people, with a lot of loss, a lot of sorrow and sorrow and sadness, “ she said. “We understood the impact it would have due to the difficult year we have all had. It has been broadcast over three million times and it touches the lives of so many people and heals so many hearts.
Recognizing that “Rain on Sunday” was released on Johnson’s own Brushfire Records label, she said she could now focus more “about my art and creativity, and creating new opportunities for my fans to enjoy my music. I can focus on my heart and soul. I feel so blessed that my life is so full of magic.
* Touring in support of the album, Fuga will be performing in Maui this Friday at the Wailea Kitchen at 8:30 p.m. She will also play Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at da Playground (both Playground shows are sold out).