At her lowest point, 90s pop star Emma Paki struggled to find somewhere to even sleep.
Now she is picking herself back up and appealing to the public for help recording a new album.
Paki made it big with her 1993 single System Virtue, which won her Best Songwriter at the 1994 New Zealand Music Awards. Her album Oxygen Of Love went gold in 1996 and her future looked bright.
But after several setbacks, including losing her manager and having her CD pulled after a dispute with her record company, Paki's life began to unravel.
She was broke, drinking too much and living in poverty, flitting from condemned building to sleeping rough on the streets.
In 2000, she was attacked with a hammer and a hot knife in her Newtown home by her then-partner.
She says she has since forgiven her attacker but her life had strayed a long way from the glittering music career once within her grasps.
"The music industry was just another environment, at times it was beautiful but not much of it has stuck with me. I'm not down with many of those people now," she said yesterday.
In 2003, she famously fluffed the words to the national anthem during a rugby league match. Yesterday, she said the poor performance came down to a "terrible cold".
"It was a wonder I got through some of those notes.
"Every couple of years something would happen and deter me from releasing new material."
But things are starting to look up for Paki. She says she is happy now, living near Whangarei and studying for a Bachelor of Adult Education.
She has been sober for a year too.
"It really hit me hard, but I don't need that stuff."
Now 45, she describes herself as a "survivor". She is planning to release a new album and hopes to raise funds for the record through crowdfunding website PledgeMe.
A mix of "uptempo and soul" the LP will feature material penned in her 90s heyday but she said the new songs were as good as the old material.
Her last record was the 2010 Bic Runga-produced EP Trinity.
Saxophonist Jay Rodriguez, of New York's Groove Collective, is tipped to play on the new album.
The crowdfunding project was launched on Thursday and Paki has 87 days to get to the $15,000 she needs for the new album.
She has already written and produced about a quarter of the album and is hoping to release it by the end of the year.
"I keep thinking of names. It's a bit like having a baby."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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