Never say it’s too late to Vaisioa Veimau. The Tongan Island R&B singer, whose stage name is simply Vai, has gone through her fair share of ups and downs that would make anyone else just want to give up. But not Veimau. She gains strength from her past to press forward and put her musical career into overdrive.
Born and raised in San Mateo, California, Veimau’s roots in music run deep within her family. “My dad and his brothers had a band that played R&B hits from groups such as Earth, Wind, & Fire,” she explained, “and my mother’s father was a choir instructor back in Tonga.” She started recording as a musician ten years ago. At that time, Veimau got together with a music producer from the Bay with high hopes of getting her music out to the public, hearing her work on the radio, and performing at different venues. “I met with [the music producer] every day,” she remembered. “I was completely dedicated, but things did not work out.” For that amount of time that Veimau worked so diligently on her music, she did not see any fruits of her labor. She had yet to perform only once. “From then on, I let a lot of things get me down and discouraged. People were not hearing my vocal abilities, my music,” she said. At the same time, Veimau just had her first son with her husband, Rich. After this experience, she decided to put her musical career on hold and focus on her family.
Fast forward to 2010 – Veimau had now relocated to Dallas, Texas. She and Rich now have four beautiful children. Time has passed but the dream to build that musical career was still burning within her. “I just couldn’t look at my kids and tell them to go for their hopes and aspirations when I had not done it myself. Music is so enriched in me that I can’t let it go. It’s my passion!” So Veimau started back at square one, making music with whatever beats she could find. What really ignited the fire again was a call from her mother. “Ten years ago when I first started this journey, my mom would yell at me saying that what I was doing was fakapiko (Tongan for “a waste of time”). Then when she heard that I started up with my music again, she called crying and saying that she was so proud that I never gave up on my dream. That sealed the deal for me [laughs].”
Veimau’s music is within the R&B and Island Reggae genres. Her voice is comparable to the late R&B singer Aaliyah as well as female Reggae great JC Lodge. Her immediate goals for this year are to release her single entitled “Steady” which she wrote and produced with her cousin, Ane Tuivai-Tafuna aka ANNE (You can hear a snippet on Veimau’s YouTube page.). She also just started up LionnHeart Productions with her husband. Veimau, herself, is a big fan of fellow Polynesian artists, especially 3RP, J Boog, Fiji, and Finn and hopes to be able to work with them soon.
Her journey to obtain a music career has been ten years thus far, but Veimau keeps the course and remains upbeat about it this time around. She said, “Maybe I wasn’t ready ten years ago but I am now and I won’t stop. As long as I got my family, friends, and fans that still like what I’m putting out there, then I’m gonna keep pushing. Everyone has their hard times. I’m gonna take it in and continue on.” Like I said, never say it’s too late never Vaisioa Veimau.
-Article Written By: Pesi Kava
*photos courtesy of Vaisioa Veimau