21-year-old Gardiner-Toi set to record debut album in New York

By Harata Brown

21-year-old Te Karehana Gardiner-Toi of Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui descent is about to travel to New York where he'll begin work on his album debut.

Gardiner-Toi says his music is a fusion of soul, RnB and old school with a flare of contemporary elements.

Through raw vocal talent, this voice is set to fly to Brooklyn, New York.

“If you were to tell me two or three years ago that I was going to record my songs for my first EP in the Big Apple, New York, I wouldn't have believed you, so it's just unreal yet exciting”, says Gardiner-Toi.  

With funding support from Creative New Zealand and mentors like Tama Waipara, Maisey Rika, Seth Haapu and Rob Ruha,

Gardiner-Toi says, “They're my idols, I am humbled to work with them.”  

Te Karehana is set to begin work on his 7-track album in a Brooklyn production studio and will fly out to New York on Monday and will work for a week where he will be joined by mentors Tama Waipara and Maisey Rika before they fly to Canada later this month.

“My main genre is soul, I fully identify with that genre, there is also elements of RnB as well as old school music and contemporary music,” said Gardiner-Toi.  

Te Karehana holds a Diploma in Contemporary Music and in 2011 he won the Best Vocalist Award at the New Zealand Secondary Schools music competition, the Smokefree Pacifica Beats.  He aims to release his debut album at the end of the year. 

The overall goal Karehana says is, “To share my music to the world, so that it can touch the hearts of people from all walks of life.”