I wanted to take some time on this piece to have a deep and meaningful conversation with the uso Johnny Angel. If you're familiar with his work as an entertainer you'll understand a lot of the barriers he's endured and overcome over the years.
It's important to share especially when we overcome life's obstacles . Uso thank you for chatting with me and giving me just a little insight to challenges among what many young and old pacific men may encounter along their journey and how we can always lean on our Aiga
Hey uso can you tell me a bit about yourself?
My name is Johnny Angel, my surname is
Eneliko Laulu. I was born & raised in NZ and
I am proud Samoan NZ citizenship
I grew up in Grey Lynn and attended St Pauls College. Seven in my Family, 3 Brothers 3 Sister
I am the 2nd Youngest
What did you aspire to be when you were growing up was it always Elvis? If so Why?
I have 3 passions in my life : Art, Singing & Acting
(Early years )I wanted to be an Art Teacher
A Worship Leader in Church
And a Model/Actor in Action film
(Latter years) I am an "Elvis Tribute Artist "
(I am an Entertainer)
My Parents both love God & enjoyed Elvis Music
And I was raised with Elvis Music /Movies
I am blessed to have been raised in Faith , Love & Godly values
Was there a song that made you feel a certain way ?
I do love gospel song " Ancient of Days" by Ron Kenolly. Spiritual songs give me sense of peace & calm
I do love Elvis song "Cant help falling in love "
The lyrics , and a true love song
Who gave you the belief and confidence to do this as a career? Or were you like I'm all in sort of like your poker streak your on 🙂
My Father /Dad ❤️ ( passed away) but gave me hope. I've been rejected so many times by organisations & people , I would get upset & angry and my Dad would say
" Johnny don't worry, forgive them and continue your singing" Never Give up
Also Del Mc Farlane-Scott. An Elvis /Fan
Was a turning point in my life (career) as an Elvis Tribute Artist. Supporting me and helping me to the next level. Yes. I was All In 😎
What's it feel like knowing your one of the best in the business at impersonating one of the greatest of all time? Being brown Samoan what has been some of the complications when intimidating a white musician?
I am humbled to perform & keep "The King of Rock N Roll" memory alive, as best I can ❤️
Yes. For me , I knew I was not the "right look" for Elvis however my Voice was my "Trump card" ( Gift I owe to God) 🙏
and I focused on voice, sound similar to Elvis best I can. Also trying to keep my weight down, to fit in the Elvis Jumpsuit 🙂
So there has been racial profiling to deal with ?
At Elvis functions & Events , some people shouted out " Elvis wasn't black"
"You look nothing like Elvis"
How did you overcome it?
I smiled and I agree with them. Because what they were stating were facts. I do not look like Elvis. I look more like James Brown
I try to use humor to counter any hate or negativity
In the past you've talked about how family and mental health services saved your life?
I love that your open and honest but more importantly that you are vulnerable.
How did you overcome that pride, that loneliness?
Pride: My Family raised me up with good values
In my worse state of mind , wanting to take my life, I was ashamed , embarrassed. I came to realize (epiphany) that I something was wrong with me & I needed help 💔
Loneliness: Because I was raised in a big family , I really never felt alone.
Even by myself
I could sing , so I used my voice to keep me company ❤️ and I talked with God
What was it inside that said yes I can drop my pacific facade and ask for help?
It was when I had my "Relaspse" that I knew I was in deep trouble.
Pasifika or New Zealand lifestyle ( which I live both) was not an option
Mental illness has no mercy for race, age, gender etc and I needed help to save me
What's the most rewarding thing about your journey of life?
I think, performing at Resthomes, seeing people smile after I perform , is very rewarding
At Matai we are all for inspiring the next generation to come through, how we do it is through our pieces.
Our watches connect us and allow us to really write what's on our hearts for the day
What is some advice or value you can add for our young people ?
Awesome 💖
For Young people:
"You have something inside your heart , that you are good at. Something that is yours and yours alone.
Find it, Embrace it, Share it
Alofa ❤️ Always
Thank you uso
Love and blessings 🙏🙏🙏❤️

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