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. Thinking Room produced hit singles (‘Youthful', 'Falling in Love Again'), but wanting to "stay true to herself and her musical path", the Moa staunchly returned to her Kiwi roots in 2002, and has since recorded a a series of popular albums.
Frequent collaborators singer Anika Moa and director Justin Pemberton cross paths again for the music video of Moa's 'Standing in this Fire' from her 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.
This Anika Moa video puts the drama of her early rise in a nutshell; after being signed to Atlantic, the American label flew a director down to New Zealand to monitor proceedings, and ensure that the singer looked as slim on screen as possible. The video sees Moa lusting after every male she passes, singing beside some rugby posts, and taking a ride in a taxi driven by actor Antony Starr (Outrageous Fortune). As for Moa, she soon returned home from the US; the local top five hit ended up on the soundtrack of Catherine Zeta-Jones/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. Directed by Paul Casserly, 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."