“New Zealand is flush with reggae bands of all descriptions, including many young ones vying for an audience and a record deal. But it’s Wellington’s Tomorrow People – named after the song by Bob Marley’s son Ziggy – that’s been the biggest success story.”
– Tom Cardy, The Dominion Post, NZ
Out of the 100+ reggae bands currently active in NZ, not one of them has moved up the ranks faster than Wellington band TOMORROW PEOPLE. From the garage to playing NZ’s Premier Reggae Festival ‘Raggamuffin’ and ‘A’ rotation on radio within a year, the band has gone from strength to strength showing no signs of slowing down.
A studio project turned live stage show, the eight-piece band are purveyors of what they describe as ‘sunshine reggae’. Focused on providing a mid-tempo sound that, while clearly reggae-centric, adds touches of dancehall ragga to its colour. It is a sound built around strong vocals, soothing harmonies, catchy hooks, aggressive ragga raps, and feel good riddims (rhythms).
Together, the members of mixed descent (NZ/Maori/Pacific Island) have decades of experience in the music industry, citing previous careers in hip-hop, R&B, gospel, funk and soul. Taking their name from a Ziggy Marley song, Tomorrow People live up to the futuristic allusions it casts, having built their fan base via Facebook (www.facebook.com/tomorrow.ppl) and demo tracks uploaded to YouTube. While they gather their musical influences from Jamaican and Hawaiian artists alike, once combined with their roots in NZ music, they bring a sound that is clean, laid-back and easy on the eardrums.
They have built their movement predominantly through their live shows and the online world. The result of their hard work is evidenced by having over two million views of their songs and countless YouTube remakes and remixes from around the globe. This was all before they even released their album.
In March 2011, the band released their first official single ‘Feel Alright’ to radio and to rave reviews. The single became one of the Top 5 most played urban radio songs of 2011. Following the successes of ‘Feel Alright’ and follow up single ‘One More Time’, Tomorrow People were invited to play the EXODUS New Years Eve 2012 reggae festival and RAGGAMUFFIN 2012 to audiences of more than 30,000 people.
They have also enjoyed nationwide success by touring over 100 shows in 2011/12 both locally and abroad.
2012 saw the band release three more radio hits to high rotation (Better Place, Take It Away & Souljah Feeling) and their highly anticipated album ‘ONE’. The 13-track CD (released June 1st) shot straight to the coveted No.1 spot in NZ in its first week and held on for 3 weeks thereafter. 50 weeks and counting, and it still holds in the NZ Top 20. In December, the album was placed at #8 in the Top 40 albums of the year across all genres and #1 in the genre of reggae!
In September 2012, the band took home the prestigious Waiata Music Award for ‘Best Roots Reggae Album’ in a ceremony that featured many other high profile musicians. The following month, they were announced as finalists for the NZ Vodafone Music Awards vying for the title of ‘Best Roots Album’. A nomination alongside The Black Seeds and Hollie Smith is truly an outstanding acknowledgement and a great measure of success for any artist. To add to their award cabinet, Tomorrow People took away the 2013 Pacific Music Award for ‘Best Group’. They were also invited to tour Australia, Rarotonga and Tahiti in their overseas ventures. Selling out shows wherever they went was inevitable and their expanded fan base is testimony to the constant hard yards that the band members put in.
The award winning #1 album ‘ONE’ showcases all original tracks written, recorded, produced, mixed and even funded by the band itself in true Kiwi D.I.Y fashion. It is an album that is sure to satisfy both reggae and general music lovers alike.
November 2013 saw the band release their follow up EP titled ‘ONE.5’. 6 new studio tracks with a different sound and 2 new remixes of their previous tracks. The first single ‘So Far’ has been a huge hit on urban radio.
Moving into 2015, the band has become a stronghold in the NZ music scene. Taking a break from touring, they’re back in their home studio working on the second album (due November 2015). The first two singles drops ‘Again & Again’ and ‘No Rush’ have begun setting the foundations for what promises to be an “epic follow up”.
“Listening to songs like ‘Let Me Be’ and ‘Take It Away’ remind me of why I fell in love with reggae music. The love songs and uplifting messages on ‘One’ are truly what makes Tomorrow People
amazing…9 out of 10”
– Guerin Williams, www.musicbailout.net, Austin, Texas
“The Wellington collective’s warm sunshine reggae is just what you need in winter…4 out of 5 stars”
– Paula Yeoman, NZ Herald, New Zealand
“Tomorrow People have been steadily building a profile as the ‘next big thing’ of the New Zealand reggae scene, and ‘One’ is an album that proves the tag is not just hype.”
– Jared Mackley-Crump, Spasifik Magazine, New Zealand
“…But there’s something else going on here, something very different and very fresh that you don’t get with that old school reggae sound. Halfway through the album I’ve found it easy to see how Tomorrow
People have managed to play the likes of Raggamuffin and Exodus festivals, and I can see a lot more on the horizon.”
– Aaron Smith, www.muzic.net.nz