Marina Davis is a Samoan singer, songwriter, vocal coach, and top selling artist. She was part of the girl group, Ma-V-Elle, who had top-40s singles in the New Zealand charts in the mid-1990s. More recently, she has been a spokesperson for Samoan Airways and continued performing soldout shows in Auckland. Follow Marina Davis on Instragram @theemarinadavis and you can follow her @Marinaxfactor on Facebook.
Q: What year did you graduate from James Cook High?
Q: What was your favourite subject in high school?
A: Music, Drama and English
Q: Who was your favourite teacher, and why?
A: Mrs Katrina Durham (née Grainger). She was my music teacher and she had the patience of a saint! She really believed in her students and her love for her job was evident all the time!! We still keep in contact even now, actually just today!
Q: How did you start your career as an entertainer?
A: I was born and raised in Tafitoala, Samoa. The bus ride from my village to the town centre was about 45 minutes, so my Grandmother would make me stand at the front of the bus and sing to everyone from the age of three. She taught me how to harmonise and sing in alto and soprano! When we immigrated to Auckland, my Mum continued to coach me and by the age of 11, my Mum entered me into any and every talent quest in Auckland and in most of those competitions, I was competing against adults but I kept winning them! By the age of 14, I started with Ma-V-Elle and the rest is history.
Q: How did your time at James Cook put you on the path of becoming an entertainer? If so, how did that happen?
A: Miss Grainger really taught us to believe in ourselves and she bent over backwards to make sure that Ma-V-Elle had a place to rehearse and she encouraged our songwriting and storytelling through our lyrics and harmonies. She even drove us to some performances and made sure that at we stayed grounded. Katrina was a huge part of Ma- V-Elle’s initial success and I know the girls feel the same!
Q: What was your greatest challenge in becoming a singer?
A: I’ve been so blessed to have had an amazing career both with Ma-V-Elle and as a solo artist! My greatest challenge was myself! I cared too much what people thought of me. I feared that by stepping out, it would make me a target for judgment and that people would ridicule everything about me from my appearance to my voice and worst of all, I was just plain afraid! I was afraid to fail and even afraid to succeed! I’ve played it safe most of my life and only sang when I knew what the outcome would be, and I refused to take the risks in case I fell flat on my face! As my daughters grew up, I have four daughters 16, 14, 12 and 9, I realised I can’t expect them to be the extraordinary if I don’t set that example! I knew that I can’t take them where I haven’t been!
So it was as easy as that! I stopped caring what everyone thought! I stopped looking to others for validation and approval! I just decided to surrender to my talent and the more I surrendered, the more my career started to surge again and the more I got booked all over the world! It’s been so crazy but I love every bit of it!!
I found that my thought process has the ability to change my reality! That sounds airy fairy right? That’s just the truth!
The more I fed my dreams by doing the work and taking the risks, the more it starved my fears and reservations!
What you feed lives, what you starve dies!
Q: What are some of the projects you’re really excited to work on this year?
A: I’m working on a national tour/tribute show at the moment and I’m completing my third solo album.
Recently, three of my Samoan language songs were licensed to Foxtel/Sky for the TV Series “Fighting Season” airing in Australia on the 28th of October. This is a huge deal for Samoan music as this is the first time in Australian television history that a full Samoan language song has been used for a TV series let alone three songs!
It is also the first time that three songs from the same artist have been used in a Television series without the artist acting in the series!
This is a monumental win for Samoans, Pacific Islanders and Samoan Music!
Q: What advice would you give to JCHS students that attribute your success?
A: I have six pieces of advice:
1. Dreams stay just dreams if you don’t do the work, and position yourself in your industry to take full advantage of your opportunities!
2. You don’t know everything, always be willing to ask for help and take advice from people that you have seen do and achieve what you want to achieve!
3. Don’t listen to anybody who hasn’t succeeded in anything. Everyone wants to give you their input, yet they aren’t qualified to advise you!
4. Feel that fear, it’s a blessing! And it keeps you humble! So feel the fear and learn to understand yourself so you can understand why you are scared!
5. Have fun! And love the lessons you will learn about yourself and others!
6. The most important one: never ever forget your parents! Your family
are the only ones who have your back! Take care if them first before you take care of anybody else!