12 Sep 2015

Madeleine Sami's Guide to Hollywood

From RNZ Music
Madeleine Sami at the Hollywood sign.

Madeleine Sami in Hollywood. Photo: Melody Thomas

Sunset Sound recording studio.

Sunset Sound recording studio is a Hollywood institution that's seen legends like Led Zeppelin,The Doors, Neil Young, The Beach Boys and Prince through it's doors. Unfortunately on this tour Madeleine and Melody didn't get that far. Photo: Melody Thomas

Madeleine Sami looks far better than I feel. I woke up this morning in San Fransisco, and while it took me five hours to get to our meeting spot on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles it took her all of five minutes - she’s staying just around the corner. 

“Hi!” she says with a wide grin. “I’m so happy to see a familiar face,” I reply. Which is a weird thing to say, considering only one of us is at all familiar. But there’s something about Madeleine that instantly disarms and relaxes you. It’s dangerous, actually. She makes you feel like you're funny and charming like her, which is great for a day but painful after the fact, when editing the audio. “You look like you need coffee,” she quips, leading the way towards a local cafe. 

When pressed, Madeleine describes herself as a “moderately famous actress from New Zealand”. Depending on your age and inclination, you might know her as Dr ‘Vani’ Naran from Shortland Street, Tanya in Sione’s Wedding or more recently, for playing everyone from an ageing cheerleader to an immigrant taxi driver in her impressive series Super City, and its follow up Super City II. But she’s is also a musician, playing and harmonising alongside her sisters Anji and Priya as The Sami Sisters. The sisters have one album under their belt, 2011’s charming Happy Heartbreak!, and are currently working on their second.

It’s this lesser-known side of Madeleine that I’m here to discover, through the guise of a Hollywood tour. As we pound pavements and race crossing lights, visit a world-famous recording studio and a giant guitar shop, and hike the Hollywood hills to stand behind the world’s most famous sign, Madeleine shares stories of a life enriched by music and music-making. 

Enjoy the laughter, madness and melody of Madeleine Sami’s Guide to Hollywood. 

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Music details

Artist: The Sami Sisters
Song: On This Day
Composer: M Sami
Album: Happy Heartbreak!
Label: ParrotDivaGrump

Artist: The Supremes
Song: Reflections
Composer: Holland, Dozier, Holland
Album: Diana Ross and The Supremes
Label: Motown

Artist: Bee Gees
Song: Stayin’ Alive
Composer: Gibb, Gibb, Gibb
Album: Bee Gees: Story
Label: Polydor

Artist: Sheryl Crow
Song: All I Wanna Do
Composer: Baerwald, Bottrell, Cooper
Album: Tuesday Night Social Club
Label: A&M

Artist: The Sami Sisters
Song: Same Ol’ Same ‘Ol
Composer: A Sami, M Sami
Album: Happy Heartbreak!
Label: ParrotDivaGrump

Artist: The Sami Sisters
Song: Cry
Composer: P Sami
Album: Happy Heartbreak!
Label: ParrotDivaGrump

Artist: Jewel
Song: You Were Meant for Me
Composer: Jewel, Poltz
Album: Pieces of You
Label: Atlantic

Artist: The Sami Sisters
Song: Jump Start
Composer: The Sami Sisters
Album: Single
Label: Self-released

Artist: Alanis Morisette
Song: One Hand in my Pocket
Composer: Alanis Morisette and Glen Ballard
Album: Jagged Little Pill
Label: Maverick

Artist: The Sami Sisters
Song: Oh Boy
Composer: M Sami
Album: Happy Heartbreak!
Label: ParrotDivaGrump

Artist: Miley Cyrus
Song: Party in the USA
Composer: Lukas Gottwald, Claude Kelly, Jessica Cornish
Album: The Time of Our Lives
Label: Hollywood

Artist: The Sami Sisters
Song: Blame it all on me
Composer: M Sami
Album: Happy Heartbreak!
Label: ParrotDivaGrump

Artist: The Sami Sisters
Song: August
Composer: The Sami Sisters
Album: Single
Label: Self-released