Big time for our tenors
Our very own tenor brothers might just have signed a major record deal but they still know where their roots are.
Pene and Amitai Pati from Mangere and their cousin Moses Mackay originally started up opera trio Sol3 Mio to help pay their way through studies at the prestigious Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff.
Now they've signed a record deal with Decca Records in the United Kingdom.
Decca president Dickon Stainer describes them as: "The arrival of the next global superstars in mainstream classical music".
The trio, all in their mid-20s, now rank alongside some of the biggest classical singers, including Katherine Jenkins and Bryn Terfel.
The tenor brothers and their baritone cousin dominated the charts over 10 weeks with their self-titled debut album Sol3 Mio and claimed the Christmas No 1 spot over Ella Yelich-O'Connor, aka Lorde.
Their album has sold more than 75,000 copies.
But nothing beats coming back to where it all began, Pene says.
"Through all our successes we are still South Auckland boys. Coming home we sleep on the floor and help out with the washing up. It brings us back to reality and it's just what we need in this industry."
Samoa, the trio's country of birth, is also close to their hearts. The group's name incorporate's the word "sole", Samoan slang for brother.
The former Aorere College boys caught up with the Manukau Courier on their return home for their New Zealand tour.
Amitai and Moses are now based in Wales while Pene has just taken up a place with the San Francisco Opera.
He was one of three to be selected out of 2000 applications for a two-year training programme.
But their achievements have not come easy, Pene says.
He wants other young South Aucklanders to know success comes with very hard work and realising your weaknesses.
"You can't just succeed just like that. Our generation generally wants everything now. When you fail it's a means to success. It's about persevering and moving forward."
Promotions for the release of their debut album in the United Kingdom begin in April.
Sol3 Mio play Vector Arena on March 29. Tickets from Ticketmaster.