NZ Olympians Team Up with Wellington Collective TOI on Soul-Stirring Anthem Ahead of Paris 2024 Olympic Games

  • NZ Olympians Team Up with Wellington Collective TOI on Soul-Stirring Anthem Ahead of Paris 2024 Olympic Games
NZ Olympians Team Up with Wellington Collective TOI on Soul-Stirring Anthem Ahead of Paris 2024 Olympic Games

NZ Olympians Team Up with Wellington Collective TOI on Soul-Stirring Anthem Ahead of Paris 2024 Olympic Games

With the countdown officially ticking down to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Wellington band TOI have paired up with the New Zealand Olympic Team for Paris 2024 to deliver an uplifting anthem, ‘Ain’t Just Dreaming’, featuring two of the country’s most promising Olympians, Ellesse Andrews and Max Brown.

Ain’t Just Dreaming’ is a laid back, groovy, modern soul tune with a touch of classic Aotearoa flavour that’s set to inspire not only the hundreds of athletes heading to Paris 2024 Olympic Games (July 26 to August 11) but New Zealanders alike.

Ain’t Just Dreaming’ came about when Olympic Cycling Silver medallist Ellesse Andrews, Tokyo 2020 Olympian Max Brown and the New Zealand Olympic Committee came up with the idea to write a song that would resonate with their fellow athletes. With Max having studied music at Jazz School in Wellington with some of the members of TOI, they immediately knew who to turn to help them bring the song to life.

“TOI has a beautiful mixture of soul and reggae music, which is a big part of New Zealand music… they were the first to come to mind,” says Max.

The next step saw TOI [Conway Jeune (NgāPuhi – Ngāti Wai, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu,Te Arawa – Vocals and Guitar), Jules Blewman – Guitar, Bass Guitar and BVs, Luther Hunt – Drums, Percussion and BVs, Bryn van Vliet – Saxophone and BVs, Kaito Walley – Trombone] take and workshop the song to add in some of their signature sound and style, before inviting Max and Ellesse to their studio in Wellington for an unforgettable weekend of recording with producer Neil MacLeod at the helm.

“The first time they played it to us, we were both really emotional because we were so amazed at how good it sounded. I shed a couple of tears to be honest,” says Max, who plays guitar on the song.

“I was a bit nervous and wasn’t too sure what to expect,” says Ellesse, who sings backing vocals on the track. “It was quite a vulnerable space sharing our work with a group we’d never worked with before, but hearing them bring the song to life was such a special and emotional moment.”

The feeling was mutual for TOI, says co-founding member and guitarist Jules Blewman:

“The most memorable moment for me was when we showed them what he had done with the song. We were nervous to know if they would like the changes. We jammed through the song and they absolutely loved it and had tears in their eyes (the happy kind), which gave the room butterflies.”

Ain’t Just Dreaming’ is the end result – a soulful, uplifting song that not only captures Max and Ellesse’s journey as athletes competing on the world stage, but a tune that will reach far and wide.

“A huge part of being a member of the New Zealand Team is the journey you go on to make it this far. This song talks about all the emotions and challenges we go through in the lead up to a big event. We wanted to capture the feelings leading up to competitions using them to perform. We also wrote the lyrics in a way so that they can relate to anyone who feels pressure…this song isn’t just for Olympic athletes, it’s for all New Zealanders,” says Max.

As well as being available for general airplay and on all streaming platforms, New Zealand Team Chef de Mission Nigel Avery says the song will be played at New Zealand Team functions in Paris where it will inspire the athletes as they chase their Olympic dreams.

“This song really encapsulates the essence of the New Zealand Team and we look forward to incorporating it into our team environment at Paris where it will help bring our team, and the nation together.”

In July and August 2024, New Zealand athletes will take on the world at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Around 200 New Zealand Team athletes will compete at the Games, with the stunning city of Paris set to host 10,500 athletes from 206 nations.

With competition taking place at the Palace of Versaille, beneath the Eiffel Tower, inside Stade de France, and around landmarks such as Les Invalides, Place de la Concorde, Hotel de Ville and along the Seine, the Games are expected to be a spectacular event.

The New Zealand Team is once again set to shine in sports from equestrian, to rowing, rugby sevens, swimming, canoe sprint, sailing, athletics, cycling and more, while New Zealanders can check out the action in incredible new urban sports including skateboarding, sport climbing, breaking and 3×3 basketball.

Check out all things the New Zealand Olympic Team below:

Check out all things TOI below:

Photo credit: Dom Thomas