Listen to the Music

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AUCKLAND, Today: Spotify’s Outside Voice has shone the light on New Zealand creative Raymond McKay, CCO and co-founder of New Zealand creative agency Run.

McKay is one of the few Māori creative directors in the world and uses his unique cultural viewpoint to give a voice to indigenous people.

In this episode of Outside Voices, McKay shares his favourite music, as well as his views on creativity, inclusivity and the power of being an outsider.

Outside Voice – a monthly playlist – is a recent initiative from Spotify Advertising that aims to celebrate BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of colour) voices in the global creative community.

Through an annotated playlist series, Spotify features a rising star in the industry each month to create an original playlist that features their favourite music alongside spoken-word annotations, to share personal stories, experiences navigating the advertising industry and speak to important social issues affecting underrepresented communities.

“Karaoke can serve as a form of storytelling and inspiration.”

In his ep, McKay explains how his agency specifically creates advertising through an indigenous lens, producing work that resonates directly with Māori and Pasifika culture.

McKay also shares the importance of music in his creative process, explaining how karaoke can serve as a form of storytelling and inspiration.

Along with his go-to karaoke artists — Shaggy, Usher and John Legend — McKay’s playlist includes more songs that inspire him from Chubby Fly, She’s So Rad, Leonard Charles and more.

Here’s the Spotify Q+A …

What inspired you to start an advertising agency specifically focusing on Māori and Pasifika stories?
“Coming from the large network agency landscape, I was one of only five other Maori and Pasifika creatives in the industry and when I transitioned into startup agency life, it was only natural that I follow the footsteps of my tupuna well known for being great storytellers.

“Further to that, Run’s journey has been a slow burn in the Māori and Pasifika space, having won a pitch for the Niue Tourism work about six years ago. We were up against two much bigger agencies, but our difference was our lens, and this was the catalyst for our trajectory into the indigenous space.

How does audio inspire the creative process for you and your team?
“Some of the music our team listens to most is laced with the mātauranga of our ancestors, so music connects us who are Maori and Pasifika together.

“We also don’t mind a little bit of Diggy Dupe or Rob Ruha to spurn us all on a creative journey with our mahi.

Do you feel there are challenges with indigenous representation in the creative industry?
“There are huge challenges on many issues but we’ll need a bigger article for that, maybe another time haha. Some that come to mind though are, the correct use of culture in the comms industry and the lack of lens across kaupapa not even necessarily related to Te Ao Māori or Te Ao Moana nui a kiwa.

“We feel that doing more due diligence into the vernacular can only be a positive for both industry and the clients they work with.

“I think there is a misconception that it’s only Māori or Pasifika cultural kaupapa that needs the advising, however, culture is not only cultural, it’s the urban vernacular that needs advising too. The amount of times I’ve heard at a family BBQ or around a kitchen table negative kōrero towards a brand about the misappropriation of language whether cultural or otherwise is quite often.

What are the future goals for your advertising agency?
We will be the leading indigenous-led and Polynesian-focused agency infusing advertising and design network creativity capacity with indigenous knowledge and a cultural lens.

How important are initiatives like Spotify’s The Outside Voice in amplifying BIPOC voices in the global creative community?
The importance to us is that it is aimed at letting young Māori, Pasifika and Indigenous know this industry actually even exists.

Although I’m an old head in this space, I’m one of the only voices that is being heard at the moment, so I needed to use this platform to help with this kaupapa.

“We think Run is unique, although we have whakapapa and an indigenous lens, we can also walk in Te Ao Pākeha and have been acknowledged locally and internationally for our strategic creative and design.

  • Check out the full Raymond McKay Outside Voice ep on Spotify here

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