The next wave of New Zealand’s most talented songwriters and performers will be showcased at the 3rd annual University of Auckland Songwriter of the Year competition.
Six emerging artists currently studying Popular Music at the University’s School of Music will perform original songs, backed by a professional band, and judged by a panel of industry representatives. They will compete for $1500 worth of music vouchers from MusicWorks. Roundhead Studios, in association with NZAMP, will record and master a single for the winning songwriter.
“The School of Music’s Songwriter of the Year competition sets new standards for New Zealand’s emerging singers and songwriters. The event clearly reflects the vital role the University plays in honing our students’ musical skills,” says Head of School, Professor Robert Constable.
Noted Auckland-based songwriter, actor and performer Tama Waipara will be the guest judge for the competition. Tama is a graduate of the University’s School of Music; he went on to earn a Masters degree in music performance at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. George FM Breakfast Host and television presenter Nick Dwyer will MC the event.
Profiles of the six finalists follow:
Twenty-five year-old Callum Martin (Western Springs resident) is a 2nd year Bachelor of Music (BMus) student. He says he “got hooked” on guitar after receiving one for his 14th birthday. At high school, Callum joined The Checks, and later moved with the band to England for 18 months. As a School of Music student, Callum says he is now “relishing exploring the craft behind songwriting”.
Earl Ho (Papakura resident) is a 20-year-old student in his third year of a year Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Music (BA/BMus) conjoint degree. Describing himself more as an entertainer than a singer-songwriter, Earl admits he has come a long way since performing Nesian Mystic songs at his high school’s lunchtime talent quests. He says he wants “people to smile and laugh rather than clap and cheer” and he uses music to “make the world a better place”.
Phil Kim (Mairangi Bay resident) is in his 4th and final year of a BA/BMus conjoint degree. As a teenager, Phil says he spent most of his time listening to and imitating bands from the 70's, growing his hair and playing classical piano. Now 21, his time at University is spent honing his songwriting craft. Phil describes his “sonically stimulating sound” as the result of an “eclectic mush of musical and non-musical influences”.
“Music is pretty much my life”, says Sam Allen (Papatoetoe resident), a 20-year-old 2nd year BMus student. He is already a seasoned musician, having performed in Smokefree-Rockquest and Pacifica Beats, and being cast as the lead in the musical The Buddy Holly Show. Sam leaves no doubt about his deep passion for performing and writing music: he says he wants his own acoustic pop/rock flavour to remain true to the “Kiwi” singer-songwriter tradition.
Samantha Jones (Orewa resident) is a 3rd year BMus student. Just 20 years old, Samantha is currently working on her debut EP, which she hopes will be released later this year. She has recently auditioned for the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where she hopes to study film scoring next year.
Larissa King (Mt Eden resident) says she was raised on the sound of her grandmother’s “glass-cracking, soprano vibrato” – so it was only a matter of time before Larissa “took things down a notch and created some vocal balance”. With a strong passion for all things crooning and all things pop, Larissa describes her music as a party mix of pop hooks and moody jazz vocals. The 20-year-old is in her second year of a BMus at the School of Music.
The University of Auckland’s 3rd annual Songwriter of the Year Grand Finale will be held at 7pm (for 7.30pm start) on 29 September at Maidment Theatre (8 Alfred Street). Tickets $5 - $15. To book phone 09 308 2383 or visit www.maidment.auckland.ac.nz or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Auckland’s National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries (NICAI) comprises the School of Architecture and Planning, Elam School of Fine Arts, the Centre for New Zealand Art Research and Discovery (CNZARD), the School of Music and the Dance Studies Programme.