Peaceful, easy feeling

SIENA YATES
Last updated 09:31 31/01/2013
Anika Moa, Boh Runga and Hollie Smith.
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Powerhouse trio: Anika Moa, Boh Runga and Hollie Smith.

Peace of Mind
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Anika, Boh & Hollie's new album, Peace of Mind goes on sale tomorrow. Cover art by Alex Bacskay.

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One is a Kiwi singer-songwriting legend, one headed one of our biggest rock bands in the 90s, and one has been called the nation's soul queen.

Three completely different voices, styles and backgrounds that, at first thought, shouldn't really go together, but half a bar into their first harmony and you suddenly find yourself wondering why they didn't do it sooner.

Anika Moa, Boh Runga and Hollie Smith have joined forces to become Anika, Boh & Hollie.

Sure, it's not the most original name, but they're the first to admit it.

"It's funny, for three very creative people, we realised we're really not good at naming things," laughs Smith.

The album name Peace of Mind, came about simply because it was one of the track names, and it "seemed fitting", and Smith admits Anika, Boh & Hollie is "one of the most un-creative names in the universe".

But what's in a name? Just because theirs are three of the biggest in the business.

Anika, who first found fame with her single Youthful from her debut album, Thinking Room in 2001, went on to become a household name, gay rights and environmental activist, and award winning singer/songwriter.

Boh burst into the limelight as the head of pop/rock group Stellar* in the 90s, bringing the single Violent to anthem status from the award-winning album Mix. She then went on to start a solo career, as well as a jewellery line.

And Hollie Smith's, claim to fame came with her soulful single Bathe in the River which featured on Kiwi film No 2, and her voice sealed the deal for the nation. Her debut album Long Player reached No 1 on the RIANZ albums chart and certified double platinum, and she has a host of awards to decorate her mantelpiece.

Yet, all it took was a few glasses of wine, a lot of chatter and a good jam session for these three powerhouses to melt into one.

"We were just all friends," explains Smith. "One day we were just hanging out basically, drinking wine and having a bit of a chat, talking about what we were all up to. And we talked about the idea of working together, and then we were approached to go on tour, which we did in October, and then we were approached for the album. So it's all just sort of fallen into place, it's quite cool.

"We've all got incredibly different voices, I think. But the music came together really naturally, really organically. We had a few ideas and we just sat around and had a jam and it all melts together really well."

And from there, they wrote a 12-track album, recorded it in about two weeks and it's ready to release tomorrow, all in time for the group to hit the road for the Winery Tour.

When asked to describe the album, Smith settled on easy listening, with a couple of light-hearted summer tracks; "good background music".

It is that. It's also so much more.

The blend of voices is truly intriguing, from Smith's soulful lower register to the almost whimsical higher notes of Runga, brought together and balanced by Moa - it's a match made in musical heaven.

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"It's been pretty full on," says Smith. "A lot of people ask whether we've had any falling outs with each other or anything like that but we've all been doing it a really long time and we know how it works. It's actually just been really enjoyable working with them, and it's awesome because we're good friends.

"It's been a bit of a whirlwind, but this has been a great experience, and we're all really excited about it."

They've already tested the waters of touring together, taking some of the new material on the road for the Church Tour late last year, to be greeted by rave reviews and standing ovations.

"We just loved sharing what we had created and seeing it come together on stage with an audience. And we had the best time being on the road together. Everything just clicked," says Smith.

Anika, Boh & Hollie go on tour on Saturday and, saving the best till last, they won't be in Hamilton until March 3, but tickets are already on sale at winerytour.co.nz.

Until then, the album, Peace of Mind is in stores tomorrow and is also available on pre-order from iTunes.

NZ WINERY TOUR 2013

The Classic Hits Winery Tour features Fat Freddy's Drop, Anika Boh & Hollie and The Adults

February 2: Matakana, Ascension Wine Estate

February 3: Tutukaka, Marina Reserve

February 5: Gisborne, Brunton Road

February 6: Napier, Church Road

February 8: Havelock North, Black Barn Vineyards

February 9: Martinborough, Alana Estate

February 10: Mangatainoka, Tui Brewery

February 12: New Plymouth, Sentry Hill Winery

February 16: Waipara, Mud House Winery And Cafe

February 17: Dunedin, Forsyth Barr Stadium

February 19: Gibbston (Queenstown), Waitiri Creek

February 22, 23: Upper Moutere (Nelson), Neudorf Vineyards

February 24: Blenheim, Villa Maria Estate

March 1: Tauranga, Wharepai Domain

March 2: Auckland, Villa Maria Winery

March 3: Hamilton, Mystery Creek

- Waikato

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