One Hit Wonders – How Bizarre

How Bizarre was probably the only major hit coming from New Zealand, a country with a small music scene compared to Australia, for example. Here’s the story:

OMC is short for Otara Millionaires Club and is a play on s a suburb of Auckland, in which not millionaires, but mainly poor workers live. Before founding the band the lead singer Pauly Fuemana was a gang member in Auckland, New Zealand. He received his musical training in a New Zealand juvenile prison. The band originally was formed by his brother Philip in 1993. In 1995 Philip leaves the band and Pauly Fuemana replaces him with keyboardist Alan Jansson. Pretty soon afterwards they released their debut single “We Are The OMC”,  which only had moderate success in their homeland. Still they managed to get signed with Huh ! Records with which they finally released their debut album, How Bizarre (1996 ), from which came their hit-single.

"The richest man in America said before you become successful you must always learn to fail first."

“They say before you become successful you must always learn to fail first,” Pauly Fuemana

How Bizarre written by Pauly Fuemana and Alan Jansson was their first single, produced by the latter and was released on CD and Maxi Single CD format.This song is about being the lead singer Pauly Fuemana being a gang member and juvenile in New Zealand. It reached # 1 of the New Zealand Charts in early 1996 and later became one of the few songs of this island to rank # 1 in Australia too. Eventually it became an international hit, reaching  #1 in 8 different countries including Australia, Canada, and the US. Touring alongside U2, Cheap Trick, The Cardigans, Cher, Smashing Pumpkins and the Wu-Tang clan, OMC even performed on an aircraft carrier as Bon Jovi’s support act. How Bizarre the single and album sold more than four million copies and netted $11 million in royalties. Pauly said in 2007 he received $5 million of that. He lived like a rock star driving a Hummer and gave vehicles and cash to his friends and family. But Pauly was also confronted with huge bills from overseas tours and was involved in a feud over his percentage of the royalties.In 2006, he was declared bankrupt. Liquidators said Pauly and his girlfriend’s luxurious lifestyle had not contracted when the royalties began to diminish.

Pauly died of pneumonia in 2010, aged 40, at Auckland’s North Shore Hospital. His older brother Phil and former band member died of a heart attack in 2005 at the age of 41.