A LOT of Polynesian & in particular Samoan females will be familiar with the name Ezra Taylor & if they’re not so familiar with his government name – show them the cover of Lani Wendt Youngs novels ‘Telesa – The Covenant Keeper’ or ‘Telesa – When Water Burns’ and they’ll probably tell you they’re in love with Daniel.
I was amused to see my nieces Kasilita & Ono in the States instagram a picture of Ezra a couple of days ago (one of his When Water Burns promo shots), the comments were gold – ‘omg, omg, omg he’s amazing’ ‘#teamdaniel #waterpower’, there were even quotes from the book in the instagram commentary lol! Gotta say its great to see young people READING again!
If you’re not familiar – get familiar now! Amazon has the Kindle version available FREE here as well as the pricing for the paperback versions.
Yes ladies, Ezra Taylor is the face (& body – mean abs bro!) of Daniel. STOP.IT!! lol Channing who? haha Sorry ladies you can look but you can’t touch – Ezra is married to the beautiful Natalie Taylor, captain of the Tall Ferns this year.
The guys will also be familiar with Ezra – yes, don’t lie! I know you’ve all been reading Telesa too lol – through his rugby career. Straight after college he was recruited into the Otago Rugby Academy and went on from there.
He played NZ schools under 19s from 2006 – 2008, then progressed on to play for the Highlanders (2007 & 2008), the Queensland Reds (2009 & 2010), Connacht – an Irish club team (2010 & 2011), Manu Samoa (2011) and more recently Worcester Warriors – an English club team.
Just to give you a bit of background – I came to know of & met Ezra Taylor at a David Dallas & PNC gig that they had on at 420 in Auckland. As I remember, Ezras team the Reds had beaten the Blues and he’d come up to 420 to check out the gig. We were with the bro PNC, talking & hanging out and my first impressions were wowzers! This dudes tall (I’m tall for a girl – nearly 6ft 2 so yes, you do tend to notice anyone who is taller than you lol) and mean sleeve! Couldn’t tell you what we all talked about because it was also my birthday and I was ‘on one’ BUT everyone who knew him told me that Ezra was a hip hop head and a huge fan/supporter of NZ hip hop.
Later on I also found out that he was part of the Horsemen Family (check out Devolos feature in the Ink Series for some background info on this NZ hip hop group). It was actually Volo and my cousin Chano (who I’ve featured in the Ink Series and are both Horsemen) that suggested I ask Ezra if he’d let me feature him in the Ink Series as he has some impressive ink.
I approached him via twitter and was stoked when he said yes!
Emailed him a few questions for the Ink Series and also mentioned that I wanted to highlight his love for music & hip hop and he gave me so much material that I decided I’d have to do a separate feature on him lol
Ink Series – Ezra Taylor coming soon!
I was also curious as to how he got to be the face of Daniel for Telesa – check out what he has to say below & he also shares his thoughts on the current state of hip hop 🙂
Me: How did you get to be the face/body of Daniel for Telesa?
Ezra: Basically Lani approached me on Twitter (good old twitter aye? for all you tweeters you can follow Ezra here @ezrataylor86ers)
It took me a while to take it all seriously and look into it as I was a bit apprehensive. I wanted to make sure that I was doing the right thing and wanted to gain a bit of knowledge about the Author Lani Wendt Young and the book itself. Once I was sure (she was legit) I was all too happy to help out in any way I could.
Im more than willing to help a Samoan/ Polynesian writer promote his or her work. Music, Art & Literature by our people needs to be pushed and if I can help out in any way – I will.
Read how Lani came to choose Ezra as the face of Telesa here
Me: So you’re definitely half Samoan/half Palagi (didn’t want to go assuming lol) Samoan on Mum or Dads side?
Ezra: Yep Mum is Samoan
Me: All the Horsemen have artist names eg Vana = Rezoloot, David = Devolo, Deme = Savage, Dan = Frisko. Do you have a ‘Horsemen’ name?
Ezra: Haha Nah thats for the Musicians. Boys just call me Ez.
Me: Can you give me a bit of background on how you became part of the Horsemen Family?
Ezra: Growing up was a bit of a mixed bag for me. My parents split when I was young. I spent most of my childhood out West with my Mum in Glen Eden.
My Mum encouraged me to spend time with my Dad who moved a bit with his family – Manukau, Mt Roskill, Avondale then eventually Otahuhu where he still lives with my Step Mum, 2 sisters and Lil Bro. I went to 3 different primary schools.
Wesley is where I spent a lot of my adolescence and where I learnt a lot of life’s lessons. I guess this is why Wesleyans are so tight and have a real connection to the school. As a junior it was tough – real tough. Especially being the chubby half cast kid who was a bit of a lil shit and didn’t hold back from saying what he felt.
I was pretty close to leaving the school in my 4th form year because of bullying etc but I stuck it out and am forever grateful that I did. I was at Kelston Intermediate before Wesley and was heading off the rails, hanging with the wrong crowd and getting into the wrong things. It was my Mums decision that I go to boarding school. It helped that her cousin taught there and her cousins husband was the Chaplain. They helped me a lot in those younger years.
I remember the first day when my parents dropped me off very vividly, probably because it was such a traumatic experience lol.
That first day of school I met one of my closest friends and someone I still hang with today. Wiremu (Woody) Howe. Woody went home a lot in the weekends and always got up to some fun. I used to listen into his stories and we shared a passion for Hip Hop too. Anyway, Woody was around in the early days of the Horsemen and it was through him and his younger brother Mark Antony that I really became part of the click. If you listen to the track ‘Van Days’ on the Horsemen Family Album “My Shout” its actually Woody that the boys are referring to as the driver lol “SURGERY!” haha.
Life at Wesley became a lot easier the better I became at Rugby. When my opportunity came in 5th form to play for the 1stXV it was like all my dreams came true. My debut was vs Kelston KBHS and I remember everything about that game. I remember being in awe because big names like Mose Tuialii and Sione Lauaki were amongst them.
As a 16 yr old this was my buzz, and from 1999 on I gave everything I had to becoming a good rugby player. Wesley is where I first met Jayden ‘DJShady1’ and Deme ‘Savage’ too. They were a bit older though. Over the years I met the boys and formed some good friendships. I saw that everyone played a role and gave a little something to the crew.
I wasn’t on the music tip – I was too engulfed in Rugby. Just hanging with the boys, seeing them do their thing in music and the Good Times is what its been about for me. I didn’t really get involved with the Horsemen Family until about 2007. I had been around a bit earlier but not officially until 2007.
I love talking Hip Hop with the boys though, especially with Mark ‘Mareko/Rex’ who has shared a deep knowledge & a real love of music with me. We all know what a legend he is in NZ and what the Deceptikonz boys did in NZ Hip Hop. Man, I’d say that Elimination would have to be one of the most influential albums when I was growing up.
Ziiiiiiip lol Big Shout out to all the 86ers! they know who they are.
Me: So music is a huge part of your life?
Ezra: Straight up I think Music is my passion.
I can spend hours upon hours listening to music, deciphering beats, trying to figure out samples or identifying different musical instruments. I love Music and its one thing I could never do without.
Hip Hop is my first love most definitely. I remember being 5 or 6 years old & somehow having Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet” on Cassette and just listening to it back to back.
Now at 5 or 6 years old you’re probably thinking “thats some heavy music for a kid to be listening to” but man I was into it. The emotionally driven lyrics on songs that spoke out about the social inequalities for black people really meant something – not to me at the time – but there was substance to their music and to this day that is what appeals to me most in the Hip Hop Culture.
There are a lot of artists out there today who just lack that substance, the realness – the ability to tell a story and relate to it. It’s sad because its a lot of this stuff that is popular with the youth today. Simple, bass heavy tracks with a dude rapping about shit that doesn’t even matter. Add a catchy hook & ad-libs and they calling that Hip Hop!
Dudes will probably be like “Man this is a new generation of Hip Hop” but I don’t think so – I think its artists lost in the commercial side of the Hip Hop business that are mostly talking about the same thing and filling peoples already media and consumer driven heads to the simple beat of their shit music.
Its not just an ‘Old Schoo’l state of mind because I’m far from Old school & I’m always looking out for new talent in the industry and there is plenty of Hip Hop out there with substance,meaning or something to relate to.
Artists like Kendrick Lamar, Big KRIT, Immortal Technique, or closer to home and more recently David Dallas are good examples.
To me Hip Hop culture is a way of life – something you can share with others who are into the same thing you are. Not just the Music, but fashion, other elements like DJing, producing, dancing (which I leave to the B-Boys and B-Girls) Art, Promotion and Marketing are all tied together and its exciting.
Fashion is another big interest of mine. I’ve never tried to copy a style or wear something I thought everyone else was wearing. I used to be a little bit of a sneaker head – loved new kicks. Getting a pair on the net that I knew no one else would have was a Buzz (until I got married lol).
Like music, the kicks had substance. They had a story, they came from an era – a moment in time.
Jordan’s, Air Max, Vans, Chucks etc. You could take a new pair out of the box, throw them on and feel a Million Bucks. Dudes could come up to you and be like “Hey those are sick, I remember those from ra ra ra……” and you could bust a whole conversation that started from your fresh Sneakers.
I remember people mocking me when I was younger for my love of music and I remember showing up somewhere with different clothes on & people mocking me for the clothes I was wearing. Then a couple of years later those people mocking me are the same people wearing the gear I was wearing.
Its funny but I guess when you hear a track like “Sideline” by David Dallas ft. Che Fu it makes you smile and your just like MEAN! I can relate to that.
Me: Do you have anything you’re working on at the moment and whats next for Ezra Taylor?
Ezra: At the moment Im in rehab for an injury that happened this year in my 1st appearance in the Aviva premiereship for Worcester Warriors in England. It was a massive blow as I was ready to get out there and in Jock lingo “in the Zone!” That’s rugby though and injury has been a feature that I have had to deal with a lot in my career.
I feel like I have a huge amount to give back to the sport and have a lot of potential to fulfill before I throw in the towel. So right now, intense rehab and getting in top shape again are priority no.1. I also have study to do and want to start up personal training and gym work for life after Rugby.
I have a big passion for training and the body. Exercise science and I guess helping people understand their bodies and how they can improve their quality of life is something Id like to pursue while Im going through rehab. So yeah thats where Im at, at the moment – might get a few new Tats along the way too.
Me: Do you think you could show us how to get abs like yours? lol Shot!
Huge shouts to Ezra for this – I’d actually asked him way back in Feb if he could be in my ink series but it was right about the time I decided I should set up a proper blog & uhhhh yeah! 6 months later lol! AND he pretty much wrote all of this – I’ve just put it together. He lives in Brisbane so emailed me all of the background info & about his love for music & hip hop in particular …. really interesting! Thanks bro!
He’s also shared a playlist – Top 10 tracks on heavy rotation on his ipod right now on my Music page – click here to check it out!
Also, look out for Ezra in Jordan Kwans Sexy Samoan Mens calendar for 2013! Here’s a sneak peak – just for you!! Wada skux deluxe guy lol!
And for the Telesa fans – just in case you missed this one – Ezra speaks!