8 Mar 2019

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Tami Neilson’s ‘Big Boss Mama’

From RNZ Music, 12:00 pm on 8 March 2019

Tami Neilson has released a brand new song, ‘Big Boss Mama’, to celebrate International Women’s Day, and RNZ Music is stoked to be the first in NZ to share it.

‘Big Boss Mama’ was inspired by the strut, swagger and confidence of hip hop music, and aims to bring the same energy to Tami’s country/Americana style. The song was co-written with country singer Kaylee Bell, pop singer songwriter Seth Haapu and multi-instrumentalist Jol Molhulland (Anika Moa, Neil Finn, Liam Finn).

Tami is performing tonight at Auckland’s Powerstation as part of the Milk & Honey Festival, which celebrates International Women’s Day.

Tami Neilson

Tami Neilson Photo: supplied

Tami discusses the birth of ‘Big Boss Mama’: “Kaylee and I wrote the lyrics lightning-fast, while Jol and Seth started to build the musical foundation.

“A conversation I’d had with a girlfriend of mine – another big boss Mama – has been kicking around in my brain. She’s in the world of hip hop and she said, ‘You know how hip hop is all about strut and swagger and confidence, telling people how badass you are? You don’t hear women talking boldly and unapologetically about themselves like that.’

“I was inspired by Maimouna Youssef’s (Mumu Fresh) rap in ‘Never Bring Me Down’ by Vintage Babies after I saw her on NPR’s Tiny Desk. Her words, attitude, strength and grace were my mantra at the time of writing this. This song wouldn’t have been written without her influence. She is the ultimate Big Boss Mama.”

Conceived and directed by Tami’s brother, Todd Neilson, the video for ‘Big Boss Mama’ is a homage to badass women throughout history.

Tami on the video: “This was the first time I’ve ever done a video where I didn’t come up with the concept and I put my trust fully in Todd. He wanted to create portraits of powerful women throughout history, women who broke through the barriers society had placed on them, courageous women who battled injustice.

“He told me to choose two women I admired, that influenced me directly. Being a woman who is lucky enough to call two countries home, I chose to pay homage to Buffy Sainte Marie as my Canadian/First Nations influence and Jacinda Ardern as a woman I greatly admire for my New Zealand influence.

“When it came to choosing a release date, there was no question that this celebration of Big Boss Mamas had to be on International Women’s Day.”

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