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Meg’s music wins again

Year 11 Kuranui College student Meg Hunter. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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A 15-year-old Kuranui College student has been named as this year’s top solo or duo performer at the Wairarapa Smokefreerockquest competition

Meg Hunter, of Carterton, said she was amazed to learn she had won first place in the original music competition for New Zealand’s youth.

Despite placing second in the same category in last year’s competition, she said she did not expect to win.

“I was ecstatic that I came first, and I’ll be bringing my A game in the next round,” she said.

Hunter has always been interested in singing, saying it’s something she just naturally does when she’s by herself.

Three years ago, she started learning the piano to accompany her singing.

The song she entered for the competition was “about changing the way we do things and being able to see from multiple perspectives”.

Hunter, who won the Talent Wairarapa Under-14 category last year, described her sound as alternative, citing other young New Zealand artists like Lorde and Benee as musical influences.

“There are some amazing people coming out of New Zealand.”

Wairarapa especially was home to some great music teachers and there were strong programmes in the region, she said.

She said the competition was a “very rewarding” experience.

“I think it’s such a cool competition and a great opportunity.”

Every year, the competition was different, and it was hard to know what to expect, she said.

This year proved no different as covid-19 meant students were asked to submit their songs and performances by video entries.

It was also the second time entering for Year 12 St Matthew’s Collegiate student Skye Ryan who entered last year with a band.

Year 12 St. Matthew’s Collegiate student Skye Ryan who came second in the solo or duo category. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

“I decided to dump them and go it alone,” she said with a laugh.

A move which paid off as she was this year’s solo or duo runner-up.

The 17-year-old has been playing piano since she was five years old and started learning guitar three years ago.

“I’ve loved music my whole life.”

She was encouraged by her guitar teacher to enter the competition and said it was a supportive environment.

“You never know until you give it a shot. It’s really about the music.”

Having to submit this year’s entries as videos also proved a learning experience as she did it all by herself from her laptop.

Her advice to those thinking about entering in the future was to give it a go, and not to worry about the small things.

Her musical influences include 90s rap and Doja Cat.

Competing bands in the region are in the process of submitting their videos for consideration, with entries closing on Friday.

The band winners will be announced on August 7, along with the winners of the Musicianship, Best Song, Best Vocal, APRA Lyrics Award, and the ZM Best Song awards.

Entries for the Smokefree Tangata Beats, which is run alongside Smokefreerockquest with a focus on the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific, also close on Friday with the winners announced on July 31.

The top regional bands, along with Hunter and Ryan, will go for selection as finalists to play off at the Smokefreerockquest national final in Auckland on September 12.

  • More information can be found online at smokefreerockquest.co.nz.

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