From Fijitimes Online (16 February 2008)

In the name of her father

by Geraldine Panapasa

Following her father's footsteps is a challenge for Sarome Fisaitu, daughter of former lead singer for the Rootstrata reggae band Freddy Fesaitu.

Having mixed heritage and blood lines to Rotuma, Samoa and Taveuni, Sarome loves everything about music.

Like father like daughter, Sarome, 20, has been working closely with her musician dad on an educational album for the youth of this country.

Bred in the suburbs of Raiwai and Cunningham, Sarome is the second eldest of six children. Her mother Louise Cruickshank, is from Taveuni while her father is from Tuakoi Village in the district of Itu'ti'u, Rotuma. She said her childhood days were memorable and exciting. As far as her memory goes back, Sarome knew she had a talent for singing, something she inherited from her famous artistic father.

"I lived in Raiwai for a while then moved to Cunningham. Growing up was fun. I attended Latter Day Saints Primary School before going to Suva Muslim. My hobby is singing and it's a talent I was born with. My father was a musician so I was basically exposed to music and singing from a very young age.

"I never really figured out what I wanted to be. It was only when I got to high school I thought of becoming a lawyer or nurse but otherwise my passion for singing and music is what I wanted to take up. In 2000, I went to Australia and stayed with relatives in Sydney. I attended Kograh High School and continued with singing and composing music. I really enjoyed music class at school and my teachers there knew I had great talent."

Her high school teachers were very encouraging and eventually Sarome found music interesting. She said during her high school days, she was always a playful person. Despite this, she maintained her passion and love for music. Returning to Fiji in 2005, she then stayed with her grandmother and did casual jobs.

Very closely knit to her father, Sarome said she began working with him to compose and sing something new.

"I started to work closely with dad because at that time, he was composing and writing new songs for me.

"He told me even though his time has gone, he can still write songs and I can carry on with my passion for music and singing.

"He has been very supportive of my talent. He is writing an educational song for me to sing.

"It is about HIV and AIDS and safe sex. The lyrics are good and instead of the usual kind of songs, this one is really different and unique. The tune is nice.

"My father tries to make me do something with my life. He sees that I've got talent and he doesn't want me to waste it. However, I'm planning to make my music advance with exciting moves and a back-up dance group. My goal is to make original and interesting music where young people in Fiji can relate to the song.

"It is a mix of reggae, RnB and pop. I am still working on it with my father because I want it to be done really well. At the moment, we are working on this by ourselves in a studio. So it's like a father-daughter initiative."

In 2007, Sarome performed live at Suva on Sale with her father.

The outgoing and friendly up-coming singer said the secret to being a successful singer or anyone in life was confidence and courage to do anything in life.

She said she was confident in front of a crowd.

Sarome is proud to be who she is and her roots.

She always acknowledges her cultural heritage from both her parents and was steady on trying to learn more about her heritage.

"I try to learn more about my Rotuman side and I think it is important to know this part of your life. Apart from that, I have always been a confident person. I am not shy to sing in front of a large crowd. I am used to crowd and enjoy singing and dancing when I'm performing.

"I am happy and believe that if you feel happy singing or performing then the crowd will definitely feel happy too. I admit that I am one person who has a lot of confidence and in my line of work, confidence is very important.

"My family has been the biggest influence in my life and they have been really supportive. Even though I only finished up to Form Five in Australia, I also plan to continue my studies later in life. I have so many things on my mind but just want to do what I love doing and that's singing."

It is not often that one hears of a singer with Polynesian background from Fiji but the fact that Sarome has joined the music industry as a young talented individual goes to show how Pacific Islanders are slowly advancing into the modern world of hip-hop music.

Given the fact that her famous father is working tirelessly to bring life to their educational music, it is only a matter of time before Sarome steps into his shoes and walks her way to fame.