I love the Moana soundtrack and a lot of it has to do with how much emotion is in the songs. You can see the impact of the songs within the film and can feel just how important it is in telling the stories of the Polynesian culture. I think know the success of its music has a lot to do with the team of talented musicians who worked on it including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa’i.

while in LA, we got the chance to not only chat with Opetaia Foa’i but also see him perform before the world premiere of Moana at El Capitan Theater. It was truly amazing!!!


Here’s what Opetaia Foa’i had to say…


  • Opetaia was born in Samoa and in his culture Music is like breathing air.
  • If asked what his favorite instrument is, his response is “…a box or a wooden floor is my favorite.”
  • While they were creating the music for Moana, he would ask for a box “…because I believe you can really find a solo there of a tune by just feeling, you know. And then from there, we expand.”
  • He doesn’t read music but writes from emotion.
  • Opetaia Foa’i worked on the Moana soundtrack without compromising his cultural background which was very important to him.


  • His daughter, Olivia, is the voice on the Castle animation in Moana. His daughter also sings and helped sing the female parts on some songs as they were coming up with them.
  • The first track that he wrote was “We Know the Way” back in 2015 so that’s a song that has a lot of meaning to him.

  • When it comes to creating music he always pushes for using 3 elements: chants, a lot of drums and telling the stories of ancient Polynesia.
  • His thoughts on the film: “Well I could say this, you know. I could say this daringly. My ancestors would be proud of this Movie.”


Want know what the other Moana cast members had to say? Check out my interview with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and read about that time I made The Rock sweat & blush. We also chatted with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Auli’i Cravalho and Nicole Scherzinger.

Directors Ron Clements & John Musker also shared 6 Moana Fun Facts

Here are 6 Reasons Your Family Should Watch Moana

Moana is officially in theaters!!!

Moana Poster

Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows exactly why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.

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*I was invited by Disney to attend a press junket covering Moana. All opinions are my own.