Good vibes are always flowing at Catch A Fire Nights hosted by Jamaican and radio veteran Wayne "Native Wayne" Jobson, at BNV Studios in Hollywood. At the most recent Catch A Fire Nights installment, reggae-fusion singer-songwriter Leilani Wolfgramm came through to grace the studio. Born in Orlando of Tongan descent, Wolfgramm has been steadily making a name for herself as one of reggae's break out female vocalists.
Wolfgramm exudes empowerment and positivity, and she made sure those feelings weren't lost on the intimate audience at the studio. As she went through her songs, she explained what each meant to her, and it became obvious that her journey and growth comes through in her spiritual sound. With her popular song Adrian, Wolgramm stated she wanted people to talk about the things that matter and not just about who won the basketball game, which was a reference to the city's basketball fever that evening. (The Lakers and The Warriors both went on to make history that night). Wolfgramm candidly described her single Hey Girl, was written as a reminder to her nieces and nephews that how you shine on the inside is way more important than what is portrayed on the outside. For Sunshine she admitted she wrote it at a moment of true happines, which made her feel as if she was being blessed by the sunshine.
In the interview portion of Catch A Fire Nights, Jobson sits down with each artist to learn more about their roots in music. He started off by asking the singer what Leilani meant. It just so happens the name personifies the singer's profile, as it is defined as "royal child" or "heavenly flower." Jobson then moved on to discussing her journey as an artist: "Many people think it's an overnight journey (her popularity), but it's been a long journey. Talk about that," Jobson said. Wolfgramm responded by discussing her family roots, her father's journey as a Polynesian dancer at Disney World, and how this influenced her music: "100 percent from my dad instilling (his) roots ... he did this through music and dance." She went on to explain how the cultural influence has allowed her to "find my passion, but I stay rooted, I stay rooted in my Polynesian culture," Wolfgramm said.
Jobson then asked about her duality; how she see's herself as a songwriter first, and how she believes she's an artist only because of her songwriting skill and talent. "Songwriters are the modern day poets, I think it's an art form ... I try to keep that art alive; anybody can make music and say something over music...(but) it has to be art," Wolfgramm said.
As her music becomes more known, Wolfgramm is steadily expanding her reach by collaborating with known acts such as The Green, SOJA and Common Kings. Up next, Wolfgramm will be heading to Hawaii where she will be the headliner at The Republik on Friday May 20 in Honolulu. Her debut album Rebel is available on iTunes.
Here is a behind the scenes look at Wolfgramm's magnetic persona in an uncut performance of her cover of Dave Matthews Band's Crash Into Me.
Watch Sunshine here:
Photos by Amanda Holmgren @redgreenandblonde.