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Ema I’u’s ‘Flower of Life’ Is a Journey into Ancient Wisdom and Moana Roots

There’s a reason the music video for ‘Flower of Life’ was selected to premiere at the inaugural SXSW Sydney Film Festival last month

Ema I'u


Ema I’u taps into ancient wisdom with her latest single and video, “Flower of Life”.

The uplifting track serves as the title piece for her upcoming album, set to release sometime next year, marking a flourishing new chapter for the Aotearoa-Sāmoan musician.

Based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Ema I’u (pronounced Emma ee ‘u), AKA Ema Barton, blends elements of neo-soul, R&B, and hip-hop with pop production, all while celebrating her Moana roots.

The music video for “Flower of Life” is a captivating mini-movie, and it was unsurprising to see it selected to premiere at the inaugural SXSW Sydney Film Festival last month.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where climate change has devastated the planet, and Aotearoa is the last inhabitable place on Earth, Ema embarks on a journey to find her ancestors in order to save the world. The high-production clip, directed by Francis Baker with a 25-person creative team, took more than a year to make with support from a successful crowdfunding campaign.

“The video captures the magic, mystery, universal and retro-futuristic nature of this song,” Ema says. “There are a lot of layers, symbols and metaphors threaded throughout, and to have some of my culture, aiga, and the beauty of Aotearoa showcased in this story… well, I couldn’t have asked for more.”

The artist views both the song and video as the start of her journey to reconnecting with her Moana roots. “This song is moving more in the direction of where I feel the birth of Ema I’u really begins. Call it woo-woo, but for this one, I feel like we have evoked something ethereal and mixed it with some dense primal energy to get the body, heart, mind and soul moving. It’s a R&B pop track with some Age of Aquarius activation.”

“Flower of Life” follows two previously released singles from Ema, “Midnight Mistress” andTop Shelf”, both of which were produced by Nathan Judd from Rageous Records Studio. 

Ema I’u’s “Flower of Life” is out now.