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The shape we’re in

War, corporate greed, and divisiveness are in the cross-hairs of ErnieJ's (aka Ernie White) most recent single, Some Say.

“I wanted something more raw; not overly produced but a simple production,” says White.

“Some Say is a protest song. You want it to hit you in the face.

“The difference between the last work and the new work is this is more about societal commentary than broken hearts. You would be foolish to think the like of what's happening in the US doesn't have an impact on people's thinking.”

Wildfires, pandemic deaths, riots, a bizarre election, a millionaire rapist and his wife, a divided nation, and conspiracy theories for Africa, there is plenty of material to draw on.

“Corporate kings with their golden rings,” goes the second verse.

“Stick your money where your mouth is/Save the children with your thoughts and prayers/We see the shape we're in”.

“I wrote several songs when I came back from the States,” says White.

“It's a different world over there. When you travel, the blinkers come off.”

White wrote Some Say in collaboration with Bonnie Low (lyrics) and Lawl Rangi (composition).

“I took it away after that and put it together,” says White.

“One thing I learned from the first album project was not to hang on to ideas and to keep an open mind. Some Say was very much a collaboration, which is very cool.”

He then recorded the song with Martijn Bakker on bass and Ian (Beano) Gilpin on drums. While he enjoyed the process of recording his first album with studio musicians, White likes the energy that feeds itself from rapport with band members during recording.

“For the first one, you go into the studio; everyone has done their homework. The drummer went in the night before and recorded his parts. It's good to go into the studio with everyone at the same time and capture the magical moments.”

For future projects, White hopes to include locals Makisu Tuisano (drums) and Bakker to continue with a more organic production.

While every part of the song and its production is simple, the magic is in “how it's glued together”, says White.

“You have an idea but you don't know where it might go. You have to let it breathe.”

This year, White plans to record more original songs, and release singles one by one as he builds up a collection of original works for a second album.

He also plans to perform live at local and out-of-town venues.

“For me, the future is to have less of me doing everything and to work in collaboration.”

To listen to Some Say on Spotify, just write ErnieJ into the streaming platform's search bar and hit enter.

SOME SAY: Ilze-meri Coetzee turned Gisborne singer/songwriter Ernie White's (ErnieJ) head into a spiralled ribbon with tiny stick figures for the graphic to accompany White's new single, Some Say. 'I wanted something where I was there and not there,' says White. Picture supplied