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REUBEN FLEETWOOD

Take a road trip around the North Island and chances are you will end up on the paradisal sands of Whangamatā, surrounded by sea, sand dunes and native bush. These are the bearings and roots of Aotearoa’s next R&B heart-throb: Reuben Fleetwood. 

Growing up in Whangamatā brings all the perks of living in small-town New Zealand, and without a doubt this has helped shape Reuben’s sonic inspirations. If he’s not amidst the waves at “the bar” (arguably the top surf spot in the North Island), he’s jamming all your favourite tunes at Smokey Pallet’s open mic. For a seaside fiend with Māori and Kiribati heritage, Aotearoa’s unmatched landscape has helped influence a long-brewing creative side, and it continues to spark the songwriter in him. His down-to-earth nature, represented by a healthy dose of surf and skate encased in music, is all-too-perfectly emulated in his live performance.

Having picked up the guitar at a young age, it took a while for Reuben to accept his musical capabilities. With the help of a commendable high school teacher and, well, just naturally glowing talent, he felt the push to action this calling. Now, he holds an admirably humble genius that comes with hard work and self-taught musicianship. Growing up around the iconic melodies of Michael Jackson and with influences from R&B/Hip-hop heavyweights The Weeknd and Jeremih, you can only imagine the anticipation there is for Reuben’s forthcoming projects.

If you haven’t been graced by a live Reuben Fleetwood performance yet, hopefully you have happened upon one of his many covers online. A bit of thanks may be due to the internet gods – this is how he became one of Sony’s latest additions, a fortuitous moment for an unsuspecting, Coromandel-born singer. Reuben’s natural magnetism has pulled many talent-seekers and infatuated fans through the web, let alone various open mics, a favourite of his. 

Reuben has now swapped an enviable coastal lifestyle in the Coromandel for a bustling life in the heart of Auckland where he has made a second home in the studio with one of New Zealand’s finest producers, Rory Noble. Together they have been working on his debut EP which will undoubtedly secure his spot as NZ’s freshest must-see artist. This includes the recently released single ‘U’ Aotearoa’s first introduction to the pop flame. What you hear – effortless falsetto melodies and striking trap hi-hats tied together with familiar Fleetwood guitar rhythms. These musical tendencies are eminent throughout Reuben’s music, often creating unlikely pairings of fierce lyricism and subdued delivery that are sure to pull at your heartstrings upon every listen. His honeyed voice and arresting charm permeate through the sonic barriers, you may struggle to not hit repeat.

So, with all this in mind, it’s needless to say, what is to come will naturally make waves in

New Zealand.

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