Artist Highlight: Aisea Taimani

In 2011, he finally had that feeling the feeling that he had enough songs to create a project. His vision began to come naturally. “Fourth of July. . .I remember just like seeing this hill and I was like ‘Oh hey let’s go sit under this hill, we’ll be closer to the sun,’ and when I said closer to the sun, I liked the way it rolled off the tongue. After those three words hit the air, he called Kevin, trusted friend he could always go deep with, “and I was like, yo, I think I know what I’m gonna call the album. Closer to the sun.’ and he was like, ‘closer to the sun, how about closer to home’?” Still set on Closer to the sun, Aisea shifted into conversation with Kevin. They began to discuss life’s seasons, at the time he was dealing with two loses, his cousin and an uncle. Naturally, Aisea meditated on death, “and I said, ‘this one just hits a little closer to home.’” Aisea began to notice his fascination with home and how frequently he used to the term to describe life’s emotions. He leans on the term for its ability to communicate something wider.

It wasn’t until he moved away from home that he discovered a desire to be deeply connected to his roots.

When pondering home and family, Aisea is reminded of his roots, of pastors for parents. Growing up Aisea assimilated and wanted desperately to fit in with the rest of the kids in the suburbs of Newark, California. He moved away as soon as he was able to and attended school at the musicians institute in Hollywood, California. In Santa Monica, Aisea quickly realized that he was the only Tongan in his context.  It wasn’t until he moved away from home that he discovered a desire to be deeply connected to his roots. “Closer to home just became like the umbrella in which I navigate under as far as my ability to have conversation about faith . . . have conversations about the people that are responsible for who I am.”

In terms of his music, the movement of his album will run parallel to that self-discovery, of moving away from your home to truly find it. The record will begin rooted in tradition and from there will be expressed lyrically as a love story, with the narrative of a prodigal son’s journey back home. Aisea seeks the opportunity to use his album as a chance to talk about the dichotomy of roots and becoming, of culture and assimilation, of spirituality and love. “My hope is that a lot of us who end up abandoning home, abandoning ourselves or our own cultures can in the process have a different appreciation for what home is”.