20 Sep 2018

Silika and Gabby perform live

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:12 pm on 20 September 2018

Award-winning 17-year-old singer Silika Isaia is back in the studio, this time with a different keyboardist, Gabby Faapuea, to perform their song about racial prejudice, 'Canvas'.

Silika Isaia from Papatoetoe High School

Silika Isaia from Papatoetoe High School Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Papatoetoe High School student Silika performed live on Afternoons last month, the video of that has clocked up well over 230,000 views.

Today, they perform the song 'Canvas'.

Silika says she wrote the song about her perspective as being judged as brown.

"And not being given the chance to just express myself and things like that.

"But this song in general can relate to anybody who has differences and people are using these differences as a barrier to just getting to know them, and acutally giving them a chance to just grow.

So yeah, this song means a lot to me and also to Gabby as well.

After her performance for RNZ last month, Silika went on to win the solo vocalist category of the 'Stand Up Stand Out' schools competition.

She and Gabby are now as one of three finalists from New Zealand finalists in Smokefree Tangata Beats competing for the solo/duo award.

The competition will take place at Auckland Grammar girls school on Friday 21 September at 7pm.

"So we … submitted two songs for finalist selection and we were fortunate enough to make the national finals as contestants," she says.

Gabby says Silika wrote the lyrics for both songs but she helped supply the chords for the second song, Canvas. She says Silika is a bit of a celebrity at Papatoetoe.

"There's like, a million kids like 'hey, you're Silika, you're the one who sang on Radio NZ', I'm like 'hi, I'm her friend.'

Silika says everyone at Papatoetoe is very proud of Gabby too.

Get the RNZ app

for easy access to all your favourite programmes

Subscribe to Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

Podcast (MP3) Oggcast (Vorbis)