As soon as Ria Numia could read aloud she used her voice to sing.
The Pacific songstress takes to the Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park stage on December 8 at the Auckland Domain.
The annual Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park event is free and proceeds from collections taken during the evening will go to Surf Lifesaving New Zealand.
Ria, 22, comes from a big Samoan family where music is a way of life. She grew up in One Tree Hill and sang a lot in church. She formed girl band Vivah with school friends and took out the Smokefree Pacifica Beats competition, an offshoot of the annual Rockquest, in 2007.
"I only started singing with a mic in front of an audience at the age of 12 and of course that was at church," she says.
"My family is very musical, and being Polynesian that just comes with the package but growing up we were always learning songs for church and rehearsing for family events so I would definitely say my family and church was the root or start of my singing journey."
Her big break came last year when she signed with indie record label M4U Records and made waves with her first single Over You.
"Over the last year I've worked with talented writers, musicians, producers and my team who have helped me build myself in this industry and I hold them accountable for where I am now.
"My life is blessed but just when things get comfy there are always new levels of success I'm targeting."
Ria studied at Auckland's Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand and now tutors singing at the Otara Music Centre.
She debuted at last year's Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park singing with fellow Kiwi musician Pieter T and appears again this year, singing solo.
"I look forward to performing, I see it as the official start of my Christmas season and I get to share this experience with New Zealand.
"I grew up having big Christmas feasts with our extended family. There is so much love. This year I will be spending Christmas in New Zealand with my whole family, having a feast with games and gifts all around . . . It's a special celebration for us, we have a Christmas Eve church service to remember the birth of Jesus and then at midnight we celebrate by singing and eating. My siblings and I normally stay up until the next morning ready for Christmas day."
Suburban Newspapers, publisher of the East & Bays Courier and part of the Fairfax media Mighty A Network is the major print media sponsor of the event.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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