Finalists announced for Songwriter of the Year

Wednesday 5 September 2012, 4:25AM
By University of Auckland

Six talented artists will go head to head in a bid to win the title of Songwriter of the Year. The University of Auckland contest, now in its fourth year, is a key event in the music calendar that will showcase the work of New Zealand’s up and coming singer-songwriters.

The contenders for the title - Stevii Hill, Emily Rice, Sam Allen, Sam Springett, Doug Robertson and Callum Lee - are all students from the Popular Music Programme at the School of Music. They were chosen at the semi-finals in July from a field of twelve contestants.

The winner will be selected by a panel of judges made up from industry representatives. This year’s judges are Brendan Smyth (NZOnAir), Stephen O’Hoy (Amplifier/The
Audience/DRM), Dianne Swann (Songwriter, The Bads) and Huia Hamon (Songwriter/Kog Studio).

The finalists have all been developing their craft under the tutelage of leading music industry specialists including Godfrey DeGrut, Kiri Eriwata, Neal Watson, Stephen Matthews, Jeremy Toy (Tate Music Prize winner) and LA Mitchell (Silver Scroll finalist 2012).

The six contestants will perform a solo acoustic work and two pieces accompanied by a band. The generous prizes and sponsorship are courtesy of MusicWorks, Kiwi FM Roundhead Studio, NZAMP, Kog Studio, and Amstore.

“The Songwriter of the Year at the School of Music has proven its worth as a judge of talent. Past finalists have taken their music and knowledge beyond study and are now becoming successful in the New Zealand music industry” says Jeremy Toy, Tate Music Prize winner and member of band She’s So Rad.

The concert will also feature guest performances from the winning solo artists chosen from the Songwriter of the Year - Schools’ Competition, which will also be held in September. All artists will perform their own original songs.

The event promises again to be a highlight of the year following the 2011 show that quickly sold out. This time it will be held at the state-of-the-art Raye Freedman Arts Centre in Auckland.

Profiles of the six finalists:
Stevii Hill: Stevii’s sound has been described as 'delicate and dreamy' and fuses elements from artists such as Bob Dylan, Julia Deans and Feist to create her unique sound.

Emily Rice: Emily soars through beautiful phrases with hints of jazz. With the use of exotic instruments and rhythms, she has begun experimenting with new flavours in her song writing.

Sam Allen: Sam has performed in Smokefree-Rockquest and Pacifica Beats, and led the cast in the musical: The Buddy Holly Show. Writing from the heart his unique acoustic pop/rock flavor remains true to the “kiwi” singer songwriter tradition.

Sam Springett: Sam often shares his music with the advertising world and one of his songs has been used by Telecom. Known for his subtly insightful lyrics, his music comes from the small observations in everyday life.

Doug Robertson: His ferocious and logarithmic Progressive Punk pounds its way into your noodle repeatedly and unrelentingly. There is no ignoring its girth. Doug tends to enter darker, more powerful dimensions when he performs, so be sure not to miss it.

Callum Lee: Callum’s serene performances highlight the dream-like sensitivity of his newly developed music style. Callum sets the stage alight with his sampler and unexpected arrangements. “I create my sound by having an idea, image, atmosphere and then I play around with sounds and textures.”

The University of Auckland’s annual Songwriter of the Year Grand Final will be held at the Raye Freedman Arts Centre (Silver Road, Epsom) on 20 September, 7.30pm.

Tickets $5-$15. Book at iTICKET .