Jen Cloher details next album, which will include songs in te reo Māori

This marks the first album Cloher has written in the language native to Aotearoa (New Zealand)

Jen Cloher has shared details about her forthcoming album and how it will centre around her Māori ancestry, with the “heart of the album” being about her “matrilineal line”.

Cloher appeared on today’s (September 27) episode of Australian podcast Hit Different, where she revealed her next full-length release will include a collaboration with alt-pop artist Theia from Aotearoa (New Zealand).

The pair have been working on a series of waiatas [Māori songs], which will see Cloher sing in te reo Māori. Te reo Māori is the native language spoken by the Māori people, indigenous to Aotearoa.

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Recently, Lorde released a ‘Solar Power’ companion EP sung in Māori language, after creating the original album and realising “much of my value system around caring for and listening to the natural world comes from traditional Māori principles”.

Cloher – who has been learning te reo Māori for a few years now – wrote one chorus in the language before reaching out to Theia to help translate the rest of the song. From there, Theia aided in translating various lyrics across the whole album.

“This album definitely has te reo throughout and I really love that as well because I think it invites people in when they can understand the English and then might perk their curiosity to go ‘I wonder what she’s saying there’,” Cloher told Hit Different. 

She went on to detail how “the heart of the album is about my matrilineal line”, inspired by her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother.

“It’s kind of wild to see this unbroken line, and I’ve always felt it but I think… having the diasporic experience of growing up in this country – I was born and raised here – is I had this idea I had to earn being Māori.”

Cloher then goes on to discuss her experience being ‘white-passing’ in Australia, before announcing she’ll be leaving Australia soon: “that’s the other big news. I’m moving back!”

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Take a listen to the full episode of Hit Different featuring Jen Cloher below:

Hit Different is one of a trio of podcasts championed by Mushroom Group, hosted by music journalists and NME contributors Mikey Cahill and Sosefina Fuamoli. The music and culture news podcast is also joined by 180 Grams, which ran a season focusing on the making of The Teskey Brothers‘ album ‘Run Home Slow’.

Earlier this year, Mushroom Group launched their third podcast, Some Of My Best WorkThe series – which has featured Jack River, Hayley Mary and Gordi, amongst others – sees artists discuss the inner workings of what is, in their opinion, their best musical work.

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