Seth Haapu is the unsung hero of Māori music and has spent the last seven years producing music for NZ artists as well mentoring emerging Māori talent.

But now the Ngāti Porou-Whanganui singing sensation is stepping back into the spotlight, and he's landed a gig as opening act for the global star, James Blunt.

“I've always enjoyed working behind the scenes, I think that's where a lot of the mahi happens and often when we see a song or a video it’s a very small portion with what everything that happens before. I love to be a part of the preliminary stages. It’s the creative process.”

He has worked with the likes of Maisey Rika, Rob Ruha, Sons of Zion and Teeks.

However, this year is all about him and what better way to start off with international artist James Blunt.

“It's been really cool to support an artist of that calibre. I really appreciate firstly his artistry and a songwriter I find it really cool to be in the company of people that have the ability to share their craft so well. I feel really honoured.”

The first time meeting the artist, it gave him great insight.

“We were about to have a kai and I made my way straight to the dessert because it looked amazing. And then I heard 'Hi I'm James' and he was there so, I think maintaining who you are. If you are down to earth, then maintaining that no matter what level of success you have. So for me, it's always inspiring to see artists at that level just be themselves and be good to people.”

Haapu says friend and artist Stan Walker is another gifted being who is also a good person.

“He is an amazing writer I think people often see him as a public figure and he has an amazing voice and a powerful story but working with him in a writing-sense I've been able to learn from him as well in terms of his technique and writing skills - I can say he's the man at that.”

Hapu has been working hard producing his own album,

“My sound is quite acoustic-based, so I play piano and sing. It's also inspired by elements of the South Pacific particularly being Māori. My melodies are influenced by things like the ocean and our people.”

His new album is due to drop later this year.