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Smokefreerockquest 2017 national finalists announced

Smokefreerockquest 2017 national finalists announced

Success in the Kiwi music industry is a step closer for New Zealand’s best high school bands and solo-duos, just announced as national finalists in this year’s Smokefreerockquest.

Record numbers of bands and solo-duos competed from May to early July in 37 heats and finals from Invercargill to Whangarei, then the regional finalists prepared 12 minute videos of their band or solo-duo performing original music.

These were viewed by a panel from the NZ music industry made up of Priya Sami from the pop project Trip Pony, singer-songwriter Seth Haapu and drummer Richard Orr, all based in Auckland; singer-songwriter Flip Grater from Christchurch and Wellington based singer-songwriter Thomas Oliver.

Silver Scroll winner Thomas Oliver said there was some truly unique and wonderful music this year.

“This was not just from the handful at the top; the depth of good music was quite remarkable,” he said. "One of the things that pleased me most was the entrants' abilities to use words in interesting and artistic ways. It's so good to see some really strong writers ready to make their way into the New Zealand music industry."

Twelve acts will play off in the national final on Saturday 2 September at the Dorothy Winstone Centre at Auckland Girls Grammar School, the eleven listed below and an additional band to be selected via the People’s Choice voted by text (details and voting codes at from noon on Tuesday August 1).

The top eight bands are:

O-Boy! Kaipara College: Bianca Bailey (drums and vocals) and Bryony Roberts (bass and vocals).
Daffodils, Western Springs College and Kristin School: Theodore Salmon (lead guitar and vocals), Isaac Keating (drums), Jade Bryham (keyboards and backing vocals) and Louis Graham (bass and backing vocals).

Minimal Silence, Howick College: Logan Anderson (bass player and vocalist), Sabastian Munro (lead guitar) and Mark Tohovaka (drums).

Minutes To Monday, Selwyn College: Neo Aiono-Fukushima (guitar and vocals), Jacob Worrell (drums) and Hamish Brown (bass).

Rural Delivery, Hauraki Plains College: Naamah Cheiban (lead guitar and vocals), Ella McLennan (bass and vocals), Declan Tully (drums) and Letitia Mackenzie (vocals).

Half Eaten Pie, Te Awamutu College: Lachlan Oosterman (lead guitar and vocals), Hayden Mcfie (bass), and Matthew Church (drums).

Run77, Christ’s College: Angus Mossman (lead guitarist and vocalist), Robert Rolleston (bass), Henry Phelps (guitar) and brothers Angus Murray (drums) and George Murray (keyboard and vocals).
Fuzhun, from Shirley Boys' High School: Gideon Valavala (guitar and vocals), Tasipale Valavala (drums), Michael Mose (vocals), Loutoa Osai (bass), Temuera Hay (lead guitar), Josh Mosa'ati (vocals) and Keenan Jarvis (vocals).
The top three solo-duos are:

Sonatane Kaufusi, Manurewa High School, (vocals, keyboard, guitar)

Sam Egli, New Plymouth Boys’ High School, (vocals, guitar)

Ellie & Laura, Waimea College, Nelson; they are Laura Koleff (vocals, guitar) and Ellie Huxtable (keyboard, vocals, guitar).
While not making the national final, highly commended are Haze, St Kentigern College, Manukau, the Suburan Goons, New Plymouth Boys' High School, Taranaki; and solo-duos Lauren Carr, Dannevirke High School, Wairarapa and Nat & Jono, St Margaret's College and Christ's College, Canterbury.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and solo/duo that includes $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $16,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package’ a ‘Decent Exposure’ campaign on The Edge TV, a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends. There is also the MAINZ (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand) Scholarship for Outstanding Musicianship, the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, and the Smokefree Vocals Award.

Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 28-year history include Broods, Leroy Clampitt, Kimbra, Aaradhna, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Kids of 88, Die!Die!Die!, Joel Little, Tiny Ruins, Marlon Williams, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Kora, Thomston, Midnight Youth, Steriogram, Phoenix Foundation, Devilskin, The Black Seeds, Bic Runga, and The Naked and Famous.


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