This 2001 Mercury Lane episode is based around pieces on author Maurice Shadbolt, and OMC producer Alan Jansson. With Shadbolt ailing from Alzheimer’s, Michelle Bracey surveys his life as an “unauthorised author” (Shadbolt would die in 2004). Next Colin Hogg reveals Jansson as the “invisible pop star” behind OMC hit ‘How Bizarre’ and more. The show is bookended by readings from Kiwi poets: Hone Tuwhare riffs on Miles Davis, Fleur Adcock reads the saucy Bed and Breakfast, and Alistair Te Ariki Campbell mourns a brother who fought for the Māori Battalion.
'Land of Plenty' is a love letter to Aotearoa, featuring another take on the conversational vocal stylings heard on global smash 'How Bizarre'. Channelling his Niuean father's love of NZ, Pauly Fuemana namechecks favourite streets, Mt Ruapehu, white water and "open caves that glow supreme". Taisha Khutze (now in The Lady Killers) supplies some impressive vocal stylings of her own. In 2013 co-writer Alan Jansson joined Fuemana's widow in criticising what they saw as "noticeable similarities" between this top five hit, and the song for a 'Land of Plenty, Land of Quattro' car ad.
OMC began life as the Otara Millionaires Club featuring brothers Pauly and Phil Fuemana. They were included on the ground-breaking Proud compilation of South Auckland music. By 1995 OMC was a vehicle for Pauly and producer Alan Jansson. Their single ‘How Bizarre’ was one of the most successful releases ever by a New Zealand artist. Written by Fuemana and Jansson (and produced by Jansson) it topped the charts in five countries (and was Top 10 in eight others). Fuemana couldn’t follow up that success, although he attempted a comeback in 2007. He died in January 2010.
NZ's first house record was a one-off studio project for Simon Grigg, Alan Jansson, Dave Bulog and James Pinker. With a nod to UK act MARRS' indie/electro hit 'Pump up the Volume' — and a sample from Indeep's 'Last Night a DJ Saved My Life' — it briefly featured in the UK club charts. The TVNZ-made music video borrows the record's original graphics (by novelist Chad Taylor) and marries them to a mash-up of 1960s black and white, music related archive footage (including C'mon) with the occasional novelty act and politician added for good measure.
It was a case of sisters doin' it for themselves in 1994 when Hassanah Iroegbu and Brenda Makamoeafi's single ‘In The Neighbourhood' lingered in the Kiwi charts for 12 weeks, and won interest in Australia. The two met at school in Otara before becoming Sisters Underground— Iroegbu had moved from America; her ancestry included Nigeria and Germany. The song — produced by 'How Bizarre' maestro Alan Jansson for landmark South Auckland album Proud — was later rerecorded for a TV2 promo. After Iroegbu returned to the US, a planned album fell through, but the urban-r'n'b duo featured on several compilations.
Taking its title from a quote from Def Jam's Rick Rubin, NZ's first homegrown house record was a one-off studio project made by four graduates of the punk and post-punk scenes of the late 70s and early 80s — Simon Grigg (Suburban Reptiles manager and Propeller Records boss), Alan Jansson (Steroids and Body Electric), James Pinker (The Features) and Dave Bulog (Car Crash Set). It was released in NZ as a white label 12" 45 and made a brief appearance in the UK club charts. Grigg and Jansson went on to work together on OMC's international hit 'How Bizarre'.