X Factor New Zealand 2013 runner up, Whenua Patuwai is releasing his long-awaited debut album titled Whenua Patuawai – The Soul Sessions on June 27.It's an album of brilliant new studio recordings of Whenua’s favourite soul music from the past– including classics from Sam Cooke, Al Green and Otis Redding among others.
Finishing the competition in second place, it became hugely obvious that he has a lot of fans who helped his fate through their votes. Whenua met these fans face to face when he toured the country supporting Stan Walker on his World Tour of New Zealand tour in September and October 2013.
On choosing soul music for his debut album, Whenua says; “I grew up in a home filled with old school soul music. It was a genre of music that my parents loved listening to back in the day... soul music resonates with me so much because it represents the soul and all of the emotions we experience... heartbreak, pain, love and happiness.”
On recording his favourite track on the album ‘Holding Onto You’ originally by Terrence Trent D'Arby;“My family used to play it a lot, every time I sing it, I think of my family, my home – they are the most important things to me”. During the show, Whenua performed this song to judge Ruby Frost and guest judge Guy Sebastian
Whenua’s debut album was produced by Sam de Jong (Stan Walker, Ginny Blackmore, Benny Tipene) and recorded at Parachute Studios in Auckland. The music was performed by Stan Walker's backing band The Levites and guest vocal features include performances by Whenua’s friends and fellow artists; Ria Hall and Troy Kingi.