When rock icon Elton John says he’s a fan, you know it’s time to take notice.
Raglan muso Muroki was introduced to the legendary singer/songwriter through New Zealand musician Benee, who appeared with Six60 frontman Matiu Walters on an episode of the superstar’s Rocket Hour Radio dedicated to New Zealand music.
On the verge of signing with an international music label, Muroki is an artist on the rise.
Benee – who had a TikTok hit with song Supalonely and her music has had more than 30 million streams on Apple Music – started communicating with Muroki through Instagram, letting him know she was a fan of his music.
“I was like, wow, this is Benee and she’s telling me she really likes my music,” Muroki says.
Muroki’s a typical Kiwi guy, humble, down-to-earth and determined; every step he’s taken since he realised as a 14-year-old that music was his calling has been done to progress his career.
A recent month-long stint planting trees helped him purchase equipment for his recording studio.
It might sound grand, but the studio is set up in his bedroom and it’s here that he’s creating music for an EP he’s working on with Benee’s producer Josh Fountain.
Muroki says he’s dedicating the next month solely to his music, which will mean he’ll have an awesome body of songs ready to go when he finally signs to a label.
A singer/songwriter/musician and producer, the 19-year-old is making seriously good music that has jazz, reggae, pop, R&B and hip-hop influences.
“If I create really good music that I’m happy with and it makes the listeners happy, then the label will be happy and I can continue to be true to myself.”
Not new to the music scene, Muroki first took up the guitar as a nine-year-old under the tutelage of Cornerstone Roots guitarist Nicky Keys. He continued learning music through his high school years and began producing music at 14.
Muroki with friend Lenny Reynolds and high school friends Jacob, Kelvin, Paulo and Tatava formed Cloak Bay and they released their first EP Digitown and the Boogie Boys in 2017.
They cut their teeth playing live at the Yot Club and over the past few years have garnered a reputation around the country with their cool mix of jazz, indie and blue wave influences.
Like Muroki, the rest of the band are off doing their own thing; chasing solo projects and taking their music in new directions.
“I describe us as a music collective; everyone’s got their own thing happening but we can come together and do our own gigs as Cloak Bay.”
Muroki also plays bass with indie/roots/soul band Masaya who formed in the summer of 2019 with brother and sister Reiki on guitar/vocals, Kaea Ruawai on drums and Jules on lead guitar.
While he’s chuffed with getting noticed by Benee and Elton John, he’s got his feet firmly planted on the ground and he’s not about to let the attention go to his head.
“It’s weird knowing Elton John is listening to my music, I guess I’m doing something right,” he says.