Baker's Homegrown is home ground

VICKI ANDERSON
Last updated 08:42 13/02/2014
louis baker

LOUIS BAKER: "I love jazz and blues, anything that moves me."

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Wellington's waterfront will come to life on Saturday with the Jim Beam Homegrown's most diverse lineup to date.

It includes award-winners, "exclusive collaborations", old favourites and a wealth of rising talent, including Wellington musician Louis Baker.

With more than 60 acts over eight stages, organisers claim it will be "the most Kiwi music ever assembled in one place at one time".

On the Red Bull Sound Lab's stage, collaborations will be happening all over the show: Tiki Taane teaming up with Jayson Norris, The Black Seeds' frontman Barnaby Weir with his Flash Harry All-star Jam and, among others, Thomas Oliver and Baker.

Baker is a relative newcomer on the scene. His first single, Birds, was released last year.

"My EP contains five songs," Baker says.

"Four were recorded in London, one in New York, as part of the Red Bull music academy. It's my first body of work and I'm excited to have it."

He says Birds was written for a girl he "hardly knew".

"I think I was in love. I was 18 or 19 or so; it was quite an innocent love. I like the arrangements, the strings are cool. I wrote the song in a week or so, and now I'm 24 and it's only just come out."

His mother played blues and folk in the 1960s and he grew up listening to music around the house from an early age. At 12 he began to learn to play the guitar and says he has been interested in music for "as long as I can remember".

"I've always felt drawn and connected to it. I love jazz and blues, anything that moves me."

Although he possesses a sublime voice, Baker says shyness prevented him from singing until he was 17.

"It was a natural progression. I didn't feel drawn to singing in public; I was very shy. I used to sing in the shower – that was my place. When I went to jazz school that changed."

Inspiration is found during bouts of "heartache" or when he finds a "low" point.

"I always seem to write songs when I'm at a low point, for whatever reason. But I love that feeling of creating something of meaning to take away."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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