Howard Morrison - Entertainer.
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Howard Morrison interviewed by Leo Fowler of the N.Z.B.C Māori Programmes unit. (Exact date of the interview is unknown but it appears to be shortly after the break-up of the Howard Morrison Quartet in 1964. He mentions his age as 29, during the interview.)
Howard gives some advice to young Māori listeners on how to get the initial 'break' into the world of show business. He talks about some early mistakes he made.
He talks about in the Māori world, one is influenced by pākeke which he says is both is advantageous and a disadvantage - advantageous because the word of pakeke is usually very sound. On the other hand, the disadvantage is that Māori people are too self-conscious, too shy to push themselves. You have to set gaols and head for these goals. He also comments about how sometimes he has had to trample on some toes in order to achieve these goals.
He discusses exploitation of young entertainers by agents and managers. In every field of work, there is usually an apprenticeship and a training school, but there is no such school for entertainers. Howard says he knows this from experience, but notes he never makes the same mistake twice.
He talks about their first recording which wasn't Māori, which wasn't well-sung, but captured the imagination of the people. Through radio airplay, the Howard Morrison Quartet became established. This enabled them to do a national tour which was scheduled for six weeks and ended up 25 weeks. They were lucky enough to maintain a following and to reach an international standard.
Unless people have the opportunity and the right 'breaks', then there is nothing here for them in New Zealand. There is no budding organisation to groom these talented people. In America and Australia there are these avenues.
He notes some astute Māori singers have taken the trouble of acquiring basic training, and cites the success of Mary Tatana, "the girl Te Kanawa" and Inia Te Wiata. These people will always be required because they have had the voice training and elocution.
Many budding artists are in too much of a hurry. They get a guitar and start singing in a local coffee lounge. The business owner is lucky, acquiring cheap entertainment for the price of a cup of coffee and a hamburger and the entertainer thinks he is getting across to the public, but he is not.
Howard discusses current trends in pop music, talking about "gimmicks" such as "the twist" and now The Beatles - and noting his group may parody these styles, but maintain their own original sound.
He talks about his plans to move into managment of Māori artists, and possibly start a school for training young singers.
He ends by talking about the hard work required, in addition to training, to make it as a professional entertainer.
Reference number 40819
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Fowler, Leo (b.1902, d.1976), Interviewer
Morrison, Howard, 1935-2009, Interviewee