BOH RUNGA’s solo album debut Right Here is released on July 14, unleashing the NZ pop chanteuse’s formidable collection of pop rock gems. Strongly reflective of her time spent trasnsplanted to a life in Silver Lake, LA, the album tells tales of love, loss and life.
The Runga sisters are second only to the Finns of Split Enz and Crowded House in New Zealand music royalty. After carving a hugely successful career fronting her chart-topping band Stellar, Boh now follows her sister Bic in going out under her own name. And while there are wide stylistic differences between the sound of the two Rungas, they share a talent for creating passionate songs.
Recorded over six months in the Hollywood studio of producer Marshall Altman, Right Here has already been warmly received on its recent New Zealand release. The NZ Herald gave the album four stars (of 5), noting “its unashamed blockbuster urges and tunepower make it all the more irresistible” and Real Groove called Right Here “an assured collection of streamlined tunes that’s guaranteed to surf the airwaves.”
“Songwriting’s a craft that I’ve worked at most of my life and I find that my songs now are influenced by my experiences and what I have observed of people and places on my travels,” says Boh.
“Just hanging out listening to great pop music can be inspiring in itself. I saw Prince play at Coachella and I thought ‘this is it…great musicians, timeless pop hooks – that is what makes music exciting for me.”
And alongside some of LA’s top players, Boh also roped in her pal Serj Tankian (System Of A Down) for a huge vocal performance alongside her on ‘Be Careful’.Right Here is packed with hook-drenched songs. From the vibrant pop of ‘Evelyn’ to the intimate title track, the cocktail noir of ‘Airwave’ and epic rock of ‘Dark Horse’, Boh’s sweet vocals are effortlessly wrapped in a range of musical moods throughout the eleven track journey.
Boh grew up in New Zealand, the daughter of a Maori ex-serviceman and a Chinese mother who forsook her own singing career in Malaysia to join him in a place she barely knew existed. It wasn’t the easiest place to grow up but the Runga household, with Boh leading the way, was bursting to its seams with music.
Boh left Christchurch for Auckland to form Stellar in the late 90’s. After signing with Sony Music, their 1999 debut album ‘Mix’ set New Zealand’s radio waves alight, and Stellar quickly became Sony’s biggest selling kiwi band. The acclaim wasn’t just multi-platinum sales based, with Stellar securing eight Tui Awards (NZ Grammys) for ‘Mix’ and its 2001 follow up ‘Magic Line’.
After the release of ‘Magic Line’ and the subsequent touring of New Zealand, Australia and Europe, Boh headed to Los Angeles for the first time in 2003 for a period to hone her skills as a songwriter at the invitation of her LA-based music publishers, Chrysalis.
“My publishers introduced me to working songwriters and it was an amazing experience being thrown into a situation where I would be in a room with a complete stranger with amazing musical credentials and hold my own. By the end of the day we would normally have a great pop song, or at least the basis of a great pop song.
Powered by the afore-mentioned ‘Whiplash’ and the radio chart-topper ‘For A While’, third album ‘Something Like Strangers’ followed the previous two Stellar* albums straight into the charts in 2006 before Boh, now planning to live in LA and far away from her Stellar bandmates, made the decision that her next album, Right Here, would be one made under her own name.
Boh returned to Los Angeles in 2007 to commence writing her first solo record, again connecting with LA’s songwriting community to co-write several of the songs featured on Right Here. At the same time she was sketching designs for her second jewellery collection for the NZ Mint. In 2007, a fortuitous introduction to the gold bullion company had led Boh into designing and launching her first jewellery range called ‘Birdland’, based on her love of New Zealand’s native birds. Both ‘Birdland’ and ‘The Messenger Stories’, her second collection released in late 2008, have been a huge success in New Zealand, and Boh now plans to release the ranges in Australia and North America.
“The last few years have been a great new adventure for me, I feel like I am thriving here in LA in a really creative space. Perhaps it’s nice to be where the sun is always shining!” Armed with a guitar, a sketchbook, and her head full of melodies, Boh Runga is at a creative peak and is proud and excited to have released her debut solo album.