DANIEL RAE COSTELLO
DANIEL RAE COSTELLO
Copyright 2010 SummerWind Fiji & Tango Digital Productions
19 Mendi Place Lautoka, Po Box 2863, Lautoka, Fiji Islands
Born in Suva / Fiji 1961 to Jessie Rae and Dan Costello. My Mother was of Rotuman/Samoan/Scottish
decent and my Father pure Irish, both were born in Fiji. Brought up in cattle country Tavua / Yaqara .
My father had a cattle ranch and that's where I learned to ride horses at a very young age. Still today,
the smell of cow and horse manure is sweeter to me than a bunch of frangipani's.
We moved to Lautoka when I was 5. I went to school at ST. Thomas' Primary in Lautoka and I started
my first band while still in grade 7 "The Fleet Swingers". My Younger brother "Vince" was the lead
singer and keyboard player, "Mani Rounds" on bass, I was on Guitar and "George Moore" who by the
way is still in my band today, was on drums. We were too young and too broke to own our own
equipment back then, so whenever we were needed for a gig, we hired the gear from a band called
"Gypsy Wreckers". Our first gig earned us a grand total of $15.00 for the night. Boy, we were
creaming it!! Potato chips and ice creams all round. This was the life!!
My brother "Vince" and I went on to Whangarei in New Zealand to attend high school. My most vivid
memories of high school in NZ, were the cold nights shivering under my blankets with my little
tape/player beside my ear listening to music from back home in Fiji. I excelled in sports and enjoyed
playing Rugby/Soccer/Athletics [100/200 meters] while at school and even got picked to represent
"North Auckland" Under 17's in Soccer. Because of that I was often called up to play for higher/older
grades in Rugby to utilize my kicking skills. I was really homesick though and came back to finish my
last year of high school at "Marist Brothers" high school in Suva. I wasn't very academic at school and
so music soon took over its rightful place in my life. I won the school talent quest that year and was
then invited to perform at "Suva Grammar" high school as a guest artist at their Talent Quest with our
school band "Marist Rock". My wife Corrina, who was attending "Suva Grammar" at the time and was
there that night, said I was a real big show off, but I think that's where she really fell in love with me.
After winning a few local Talent Quests I joined "The Beachcomber Boys" at the tender age of 17 and
moved out to Beachcomber Island Resort where I spent the next 8 years of my life. I was in paradise!
Sea & Sun, spear fishing, water skiing, windsurfing during the day and singing and playing for the
guests at night. This is where I learned how to speak proper English [laugh]. I would practice for hours
on end every day and the Island environment was an important ingredient that ultimately resulted in the
way my music sounds today. It was so easy back then to write music with inspiration coming from the
sound of the waves on the shore, beautiful sunsets, soft ocean breezes and the occasional bikini
walking past when I'd look up from pen & paper.
I completed my first solo recording in 1979 and released an album called "Tropical Sunset" on the
Procera label in Suva. What a dud that was and I was too busy trying to sound like "Neil Diamond"
instead of finding what Danny Costello Junior sounded like. I was called that back then because my
dad was obviously 'senior". In 1980 I decided to try again and so I wrote a whole lot of new songs,
got all the top musicians in Suva to back me up and then called in the three top female singers for
backing vocals. How they all agreed to do this project with me, I still don't know to this day, but they
did and what a contribution they made. "Max Baran" the sound engineer at the time, could talk a
monkey out of a tree and so I believe it was his sweet mouth that convinced all these top dudes to join
up with me. "Sakiusa Bulicokocoko" who had already completed a dozen recordings, was famous
pacific wide and who had already completed an album with the Sydney Orchestra, was on acoustic
guitars. The late great "Tui Ravai" on piano. The late great "Paul Stevens" on drums. The late great 'Vili
Tuilaucala" on Guitars. " Saimoni Waqa" on Bass. "Irene Taylor", "Annie Kumar" and "Lela" on Bv's and
"DJ Spooky" on percussions. The album titled "Lania" went to number one here in Fiji and around the
pacific and so began the long hard road into the music world.
Across The Ocean. I won a local elimination contest to represent Fiji at the "ABU Popular Contest" in
Singapore in 1985 and to this day, I still tremble at the thought of being there on TV with millions
watching. Here I was, this little island boy plucked off the beach and thrown into the limelight. I was so
nervous, I had no experience with stage presentation and facial expressions for TV performance, I
lacked confidence and I kept telling myself " why did I pick this line of work"? "I can't do this"! There
were singers from all over Asia and the Pacific and they were so good at rehearsals with the
orchestra before the actual show, I just wanted to lose my voice so I could have an excuse not to
perform. I would watch all the performers during their rehearsals and go back to my hotel room and
practice their moves. I looked so silly and all I kept seeing in the mirror was this frightened little boy
who couldn't sing or perform for peanuts! Who was I trying to kid! Cut a long story short…. I finally got
up there on the night and did my thing, which wasn't so bad, but wasn't so good either.
My mother passed away in September of 1985 and that affected me in so many ways. Jessie Rae
was a woman of substance and I was proud to be her first born. I changed my name to Daniel Rae
Costello. I would go on to write many songs with her life as the inspiration fueling the compositions.
The following year I won the same contest in Fiji again and so this time flew off to New Zealand
where the ABU was held. I was told that "Bunny Walters" was going to represent New Zealand and I
found myself in the same situation yet again. "Bunny" was so famous! He was my Idol while I was at
school in NZ and who was I to even consider singing in the same show with him. I said it again " what
I am doing here"? Well, this time I did lose my voice as it was freezing in Wellington /NZ and I had
caught a cough. I couldn't rehearse with the orchestra at all and I was really getting worried, as the
show grew closer. In the meantime the orchestra had changed my arrangements to my displeasure
and so I had to spend hours over the phone with the 'Arranger" in Auckland changing it back to how it
was meant to be in the first place. The day before the show, the orchestra got the music right, but I
had no voice. That night I talked with God for the first real time in my entire life and that's when I first
experienced the power of God. I awoke next morning as if nothing had happened to my voice at all. I
did okay at the show that night. "Bunny" won, a female singer from Korea came second and I got third
spot. I remember thinking how grateful I was just to be placed, as there were so many great
performers there from all over the world. "Bunny and I became great friends and my confidence grew
I wrote more songs, recorded more albums but none really shook the world. [laugh]
I met up with my childhood sweetheart "Corrina Gibson" and we went to Australia together for 2
years. I worked in every bar, club and hotel as a soloist during that time and learned a lot about how to
please the audience. Aussie's are the hardest to please and you'd better be good at what you do or
else you're in for a tough night. I have had to duck and dodge flying beer mugs and the like while in
Australia. It's a good place to get your music back on track!! [laugh] I married "Corrina" in Australia and
we returned back home to Fiji to start a new life. The 1987 coup was the reason we went to Australia
in the first place as there was hardly any work in Fiji at the time.
Samba and Daniel Rae Costello
While in Australia, I wrote "Samba" and "Take me to the Island" among others and so I returned to Fiji,
started up my own Studio and Production Suite called "Tango Sound Productions" and recorded my
first real big hit album, simply titled 'Samba". I put "The Cruzez" back together and we hit the road
promoting "Samba". We played every nightclub, bar and hotel in Fiji during the early 90's and "Samba"
became the biggest selling Album in Fijian history. Not only did it break records in Fiji, but in the pacific
as well. "Samba" went on to sell more than 300,000 units in 1990-1993, proving that it was possible to
make a living solely from music alone in the Islands. "The Cruzez' and I started traveling all over the
pacific doing concerts. To this day, I can honestly say that Tahiti has been the nicest and friendliest of
all the countries we've toured. Western Samoa and The Cook Islands are also very beautiful and I could
find myself living there so easily.
So in all, we have traveled and performed in about 20 countries, recorded over 30 albums, played
over 4,000 gigs and I wouldn't change anything, its all been such a wonderful adventure. I have my Lord
and Saviour 'Jesus Christ"; and I have a beautiful family who I simply adore.
This is my true meaning of success.
To all my pacific brothers and sisters who have supported me over the years, I love you and I thank
you for making me a part of your life.
Vinala vaka levu!