Meg Hunter performing at Talent Wairarapa. PHOTO/JASON IRELAND

Hayley Gastmeier

Listening to Meg Hunter sing, it’s hard to believe the Carterton teenager is just 14 years old.

She’s adventurous in her vocal range and the words she sings are her own, yet they sound as though they’re written by someone older and wiser.

The Kuranui College year 11 student is chasing her dream of being a singer-songwriter, with the ambitious goal of releasing her debut album later this year.

“I’ve been singing since I was really, really young,” she said before stepping up to perform at the Carterton School Gala last Friday night.

Meg, 14, performing at the Carterton School Gala. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

“I started playing piano when I was 10, and at the start of last year I started accompanying myself on piano.”

Meg was the 2019 winner for Talent Wairarapa in the 14 Years and Under category.

She won the competition with her first original song, Orchard in a Matchbox, written specially for the event.

After making it into the semi-finals with her performance covering Pa’lante by Hurray for the Riff Raff, the judges encouraged Meg to come back to the finals armed with an original song.

The teen was up for the challenge and hasn’t stopped writing music and lyrics ever since.

“A lot of the time it’s just what ever comes first to my mind and comes out on the page.

“Then I edit it and put it with music and chord progressions – whatever sounds best usually.”

Meg said her lyrics mostly came from the heart.

“I kind of use cryptic metaphors a lot but yeah, they tend to be personal.”

Last year Meg spent time in a recording studio while on a family holiday on the Gold Coast.

Here, she recorded four songs in an hour-long session.

“I wrote those within the span of four days before I went away. We did about five takes a song.

“It was pretty crazy. They’re unproduced, just straight live recordings.”

Meg said pursuing a music career would be a dream come true but if that didn’t work out she might look at doing something in the humanitarian sector.

“I love the emotion that is tied in with music and I love how creative and free it can be.

“Sometimes I get a creative rush and just get a notepad and that’s how it works for me. Sometimes it could be other artists – amazing melodies or lyrics and that can be inspiration to start writing lyrics.”

Meg at Smokefree Rockquest. PHOTO/BEK FARR

Born in Melbourne, Meg moved to Carterton when she was a baby with her older brother and parents Minty Hunter and Rebekah Farr.

Meg attended Montessori at South End School before Kuranui College, where she is enjoying multiple music and drama classes while gaining NCEA Level 1.

Her mother Rebekah said it was great the school’s curriculum allowed students to focus on their passions.

She said it was evident her daughter had an ear for music at a young age, singing pitch perfect in front of the school at age five.

Rebekah and Minty describe themselves as Meg’s “roadies”, supporting her at her live performances around the Wairarapa region.

Rebekah said Meg was aware that the music industry was a hard nut to crack.

The fact she was following her dreams at such a young age was in her favour.

“It’s cool seeing her develop and seeing how over time she gains confidence and broadens her range,” she said.

“The thing that impresses me the most is how open she is to all sorts of sounds, and I love this real excitement she gets seeing her peers perform.”

Minty said Meg’s creativity blew him away.

“I love the fact that she’s writing her own stuff … I don’t know where that lyrical complexity comes from.”

Meg said she hoped to feature other young Wairarapa musicians on her planned album.

Meg in a Gold Coast recording studio. PHOTO/MINTY HUNTER