Singer-songwriter Anika Moa admits she wanted to be a rugby player. "I played for Canterbury for years. But I chose music". The decision paid off: in 2000 she became the first New Zealander to sign to an international record label without a home release. Although her debut album Thinking Room produced hit singles (‘Youthful', 'Falling in Love Again'), Moa wanted to "stay true to herself and her musical path", and returned to her Kiwi roots in 2002. Since then she has recorded a series of popular albums, and also composed music for a run of documentaries.
Frequent collaborators singer Anika Moa and director Justin Pemberton crossed paths again for the music video of this track, from Moa's 2008 album In Swings the Tide — her first, slightly countrified album for EMI. In a tastefully furnished room, Moa wakes in a bed of chocolate satin sheets, only to find the day is nearly done for her and the mysterious bedmate sleeping next to her. Moa exhorts her lover, “please don't be mean to me 'cos I really tried ...”, before stripping the duvet off the relationship to see what's underneath.
In this intimate video, set beneath bed covers and shot mostly in close up, director Darryl Ward captures the conscience-stricken essence of Moa's song. Ward's delicate work coupled with Moa's sincere performance, makes for an enchanting confessional.
The making of this Anika Moa video arguably puts the singer's heady early rise in a nutshell. American label Atlantic Records flew an executive down to New Zealand to monitor proceedings, and ensure that the singer looked as slim on screen as possible. Moa and director Justin Pemberton came up with the idea of Moa lusting after every male she passes. The taxi is driven by actor Antony Starr (before Outrageous Fortune). As for Moa, she soon returned home from the US. A local top five hit, the song ended up on the soundtrack of Julia Roberts romance America’s Sweethearts.
A teenage Anika Moa attracted the attention of Atlantic Records on the strength of this song, becoming the first Kiwi to sign to a major international label before having released an album at home. The music video places the camera above Moa as she sings about objectification in a house that, even by Kiwi standards, needs a heating upgrade. At the 2002 NZ Music Awards ‘Youthful’ won Moa Songwriter of the Year. In a 2005 Homegrown episode, Moa recalled feeling shy making her first music video. “Everyone thought I looked like Beth Heke."