Today, May 20th, New Zealand modern soul master Louis Baker returns with new soul-stirring and deeply personal single and video ‘Brighter Day’ feat. The KTNA sisters on backing vocals. ‘Brighter Day’ istaken from the upcoming EP, ‘Love Levitates’, set for release on June 18th.
The brand new single draws on the experiences of Louis grandfather Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Baker who served in the 28th Māori Battalion. Paying tribute to the triumphs and adversities faced by his grandfather, ‘Brighter Day‘ is equal parts uplifting and heart-tugging with sparkling rhodes keys, Motown-styled guitar stabs, and punchy bass lines. The result is a warm, soulful groove, with Bakers distinctive vocals delivering his message of family pride and hope for future generations.
Talking about the song, Louis says; ‘I wrote ‘Brighter Day’ for my grandfather who I never met. The song is inspired by a letter he wrote to his cousin during World War II, and of the many harrowing experiences he went through. During the war he was shot through the mouth at El Alamein, 1942. After returning home and having surgery on his face, he would spend time repeating the words ‘today is a beautiful day’ in front of the mirror, to train his mouth and muscles to speak again. He was incredibly determined and courageous. No matter what happened, he kept a positive mind-set and looked for brighter days ahead. This is my letter to him.
The heartfelt track is accompanied by an emotive video, directed by Anahera Parata (2020 AMA Artisan Awards Winner), which opens with the Māori Battalion marching song and black-and-white archive footage. These are depicted as prominent and at times, all-consuming, reflections of memories for Lt. Col Frederick Baker who is portrayed by NZ actor Calvin Tuteao (Top of The Lake, Underbelly, Once Were Warriors). A poignant moment shows Tuteao looking at a photo of ‘himself’ which is in fact a photo of Frederick Baker and his fellow servicemen.
‘Brighter Day is the second single to come from Baker this year, following his summer banger ‘Overdrive’ featuring NZ rapper/producer Kings which shot to No. 1 in NZ upon release in February and has clocked over 350k Spotify streams. Both tracks have been produced by New Zealand producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Devin Abrams, known for working with New Zealands most exciting artists, most notably Drax Project. He produced their No. 1 single ‘Woke Up Late‘ featuring Hailee Steinfeld.
With over 25 million Spotify streams and a loyal global following, Louis Baker is undoubtedly one of the most compelling voices to emerge from New Zealand’s fertile musical landscape in recent years. After the release of his debut EP, which debuted at #3 on the New Zealand Top 40 Albums Chart, Louis teamed up with New Zealand-born, UK-based Ninja Tune signing Jordan Rakei on the track, ‘Just Want to Thank You‘. The Red Bull Music Academy alumni debut album ‘Open‘ was released in 2019 to international critical acclaim, with support coming from BBC 6 Music, Clash Magazine and Earmilk, among others. While back home, Louis has received prestigious nominations for Best Soul Artist and Best Māori Artist. Previous singles ‘Back On My Feet'(2014), ‘Rainbow2 (2016), and ‘Black Crow’ (2018) have been recognised with APRA Silver Scroll nominations, the award recognises songwriting skills, sales and airplay performance by New Zealand artists.
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