Leslie Fatai Tavo-Nau.is a singer, songwriter, and pianist. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 7 February 1986. She was born with a deformity from her elbows to her hands. She has only five fingers, two fingers on her right hand, and three on her left.
Music has always been a part of her life, especially in the home. She said, “Singing with my family was something we always did growing up. It kept us close. I try to instill that in my home.” Many people are surprised that she plays piano and are amazed to watch her play. When she first started to play piano, she played by ear, but later took piano lessons to learn how to read music which helped her greatly in her songwriting. She says, “I’ve always loved the piano. I can still remember the first time touching the keys and feeling amazed at what my hands were doing. My favorite thing about the piano is its reflection of my capabilities and not my disability. This is a big part of my testimony. The Lord can do so much more with your life than you could ever do for yourself. Let God show you who you truly are.”
Leslie has been writing songs since she was 10 years old. She shares, “I’ve always felt like I had a song in my heart and I needed to get it out.” At the age of 14, she entered the Tongan Heilala Festival’s singing competition with her original song “Shining Star” and won, being awarded Soloist of the Year.
Leslie’s abilities and capabilities are not defined by her disabilities. She believes that there are no limitations to the things that she can do. She commented, “When I was young, I never thought my hands were different from anyone else. I don’t remember being told I couldn’t do anything. A few years after being told that I would be limited, after many hand massages, I was able to move my two fingers on my right hand. This helped make things easier with carrying and picking up things. I had to learn to do things just like everyone else. Of course, I did things differently but I learned it.”
It is her tenacity and grit that helped her learn how to play the piano:
I first started playing [the piano] just by hitting the keys and putting songs together like ‘Mary had a little lamb.’ My desire to learn moved me to take piano lessons. My parents were very supportive of me. My first piano lesson with my piano teacher was very interesting because the first lesson had to deal with hand positioning. My piano teacher did her best to teach me that, but I had to teach myself. My desire to play was strong enough for me to see past my limitation.
In 2003, she signed with WP Records as a solo artist. There she got a little taste of Hollywood and decided that was not the path that she wanted to follow at the time. In 2006, with the help of friends, she formed One Voice, a young adult church choir. She wrote several songs and different arrangements of LDS Hymns for the choir. Also in 2006, she decided to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In December 2006, her album My Testimony was released. Proceeds were donated to the LDS General Missionary Fund, and also to help pay for her mission.
Leslie Fatai is married to Ofa Nau Jr. They have three beautiful young children. Her favorite foods are fruits and veggies and above all sweets. She enjoys playing Sudoku and something interesting about her is that she loves fixing hair. She is admired because of her talents, loved because of her Christ-like personality and looked up to because of her strength in life.
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