Tongan Singer Tops NZ Charts 


Sonatane Kaufusi is not used to being the centre of media attention. But the Tongan singer may have to get to use to it after his single ‘Birdie’ reached number one on Spotify's Viral Top 50 Chart.

“It’s really funny hearing my song played,” he said. “I hear my song played around the school and it’s just crazy.”

The 17-year-old received nationwide media attention for his song ‘Birdie’, which he recently performed live on the television show Seven Sharp.

“I’ve worked hard . . . still working hard. Even through all the work, it feels like it’s all happened over night,” he said.

Music is a big part of Sonatane’s life. Not only does he sing and write his own music, he also plays the trombone, bass, guitar and piano. He won the solo category at last year's Smokefree Rockquest, and with his band ‘Blessed', they took second place at the Smokefree Pacifica Beats competition.

Sonatane wrote his first song when he was only seven. Music is a like a journal, he said.

“I wrote ‘Birdie’ when I was feeling overwhelmed with school and exams.” The idea for the song was sparked by observing a bird outside his window. “It’s about having a conversation with a bird and how bad I wanted to be free from my struggles.”

And—although music is important to him, Sonatane strives to put the Lord first in his life; he attends the Clendon Ward in Manurewa where his dad is currently serving as the bishop.

“Whenever I get nervous . . . before a performance or something big, I always say a prayer,” he said.

“Maintaining my standards in the music industry is hard because now that I’ve got some attention, I have more opportunities to play. Sometimes I’m offered gigs on Sundays.”

But Sonatane knows what is right and is grateful for the gospel, which helps to keep him on the right track.

Sonatane is currently the head boy at Manurewa College and plays on both the basketball and rugby teams. He was also selected for the Chiefs Rugby Development squad.

Right now he is working to release a new single and eventually an album. The album will feature songs with styles different to the smooth, relaxing acoustic sound of ‘Birdie’.

Sonatane also has his sights set on serving a full-time mission after he graduates high school.

“I want to get a job and save for a mission,” he stated.

“And once I’m back from my mission, I want to study music and then teach music.”

Click here to follow Sonatane on Facebook.