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Search For Sound Winner Set For Stardom


Search For Sound Winner Set For Stardom

The winner of the 2002 Rhythm Nation Search for Sound Competition staged by Coke and Sounds Music Stores is releasing his debut single this month (Nov).

Auckland singer-songwriter Jo Jo Elliott, 26, from Onehunga, beat more than 120 other entrants for the opportunity to record, mix, master and release his slow jam ballad 'All I Want' for top music station Mai FM 88.6.

Four specialist judges from Coke, Sounds Music Stores, record label Mai Music and Mai FM made the final cut before the Auckland station's listeners voted for their favourite song from the top 10.

Jo Jo's song is guaranteed airplay on Mai FM and will be available exclusively through the Sounds Music Stores as part of their sponsorship of the nationwide talent search with Coke. Singles can be 'purchased' by redeeming a 600ml Coke label.

The first Search for Sound last year was tied for first place by hip hop crews Psyko Akoustix from the North Shore and West Auckland's 4th Element.

Psyko's debut single, 'Raise the Level', went on to become one of the top 20 New Zealand songs of 2001 and featured on the compilations 'Raise the Level' and 'Rhythm Volume 20'.

Mai FM programme director Manu Taylor says there were four times as many entries this time from much further afield and in a wider variety of genres including house, rock and folk. Entrants ranged in age from 14 to 31.

"Last year, we easily chose 10 finalists," Manu says. "This year, we had over 30 that were of that same quality and this made it very difficult choosing the top 10.

"The two most-voted for songs were both very good quality songs and both by Auckland-based performers. This shows audiences still prefer traditional, solid melodic songs."

Coca-Cola New Zealand Country Manager Mike Shepherd says he wishes Jo Jo every success with his music career.

"Search for Sound is one more way that Coke is able to support local music," Mike says.

Jo Jo, who is studying for a Bachelor of Social Work at Massey University as well as working as an administration assistant at a law firm, has been writing music for 10 years but only started seriously performing over the past year.

He says the experience of working with Mai Music producer Carlos Marsh has been fantastic and the single will attract a good cross-section of support.

"It's about a guy telling his girl that despite all the distractions that arise in daily life, all he wants to do is love her.

"I've always loved R'n'B music, and it's the major influence on my music. I write, arrange and perform all my material myself.

"My long-term goal is to break into the contemporary American R’n’B scene and achieve a high level of success there, as well as meet and learn from the artists who have influenced me."

Mai FM and Mai Music are part of Mai Media Limited which also runs the national Maori language radio service, Ruia Mai.

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