By Erika Moreno / Delta Staff Writer
Sometimes hearing a song can be a stress reliever and singing can sometimes be even more of an outlet. For Faafetai Lemautu, finding her voice in song has been life changing.
Lemautu began paying attention to her talent when she was a fifth grade student in American Samoa. After she sang at a church event and her pastor complemented her singing, she came to the conclusion that she could actually sing.
Lemautu wrote her first song, titled “Daddy’s Little Girl,” when she was in sixth grade. She wrote the song because at the time she was dealing with a lot of depression and anxiety, due to the fact that she didn’t have a father figure in her life.
“Instead of talking to people, I decided to write it down and then I started singing the things that I was writing down and that made me feel better,” she said. “That’s what made me think that songwriting and singing are a comfort zone for me.”
She entered Faasamoa Island Wide, a Samoan talent show, at the age of 17. She had her uncle and aunt supporting her. Despite the fact that there were a lot of talented people, Lemautu ended up winning.
“The other kids that I was competing with were very talented,” Lemautu said. “Those kids could sing and they had stage presence that she didn’t have so I thought that they would have more of a chance to win. That’s why I was really surprised when they called out my name.”
As the winner of the talent show, Lemautu got the chance to record a song professionally. She also got to make a music video and spend two weeks in New York with all expenses paid. However she didn’t like the track that they used for the lyrics.
“Honestly, I didn’t like how they produced it because the lyrics and the track are two different worlds,” Lemautu said. “The lyrics are saying something else and the track is just kind of misleading.”
Lemautu said that after graduating from Missouri Valley College she intends to return to her island. She plans on giving back to her community by teaching music to elementary students or high school students.
“I want to give back to my community because they’ve given me the push that I needed to come here,” she said.
Lemautu is passionate about music. She wants to teach it after she graduates and she said, “Why should you do something if you don’t love it? So that’s what I want to do after graduation.”
Her music teacher, Cheryl Lines said that Lemautu is gifted and naturally talented. Lines describes Lemautu’s voice as a “rich, warm, heartfelt voice, that is just truly a gift from god.”
Lemautu didn’t read a note of music when she arrived to Missouri Valley College and now a month in time she is reading almost all of treble and bass clefs and getting the rhythms.
“Honestly, I believe she could be the hardest worker on this campus as far as the music department goes,” Lines said. “She cares she’s here for a purpose and you can see that purpose in her work.”
Ioana Ludgate saw Lemautu at the talent show and she could tell how shy Lemautu was once she got on stage. However, being shy didn’t stop Lemautu from putting on a show that won her first place.
“Her voice is just so beautiful so powerful, the way she sings, the stories to it,” Ludgate said. “That’s just another reason of how you can tell how important and how much this means to her.”
Sydney Haynes has music classes with Lemautu and is impressed with what she sees.
“I think she works very hard and enjoys singing,” Haynes said. “I haven’t seen much of her song writing but I looked up one of her songs and it was amazing.”