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Smokefreerockquest national final results

Press Release – Smokefreerockquest

Smokefreerockquest national final results

A Bit Nigel from Rotorua and Harry Parsons from Cambridge,  Photo credit Dave Thomson Imaginary Friends. L to R and Bit Nigel are Sam Marshall, Manawa Veitayaki and Hamish Nixon. 

It was third time lucky for three piece band A Bit Nigel, from Taupo and Rotorua, who took out this year’s  Smokefreerockquest in Auckland on Saturday night, along with solo winner, Harry Parsons from Cambridge.

The top six bands and top two soloists in New Zealand’s only nationwide, live, all original youth music contest. played off the Raye Freedman Centre in front of a capacity crowd.

A Bit Nigel are from Taupo-nui-a-Tia College and Rotorua Boys’ High School. They are Hamish Nixon (lead vocals, guitar and synth), Sam Marshall (vocals, bass, synth), and Manawa Veitayaki (drums and backing vocals).

Solo-duo section winner Harry Parsons is in year 12 at Cambridge High School. He went solo this year and moved from punk and metal to more folk and alternative songs.  It is the fourth time Harry has entered Smokefreerockquest and he says his performance at the final was the most comfortable he has felt on stage.

“In the beginning I was so shy I couldn’t look at the crowd, but I have learned so much about music and performing through rockquest,” he says. “I guess winning means I should keep doing what I do and see where it takes me – I couldn’t be happier.”

A Bit Nigel spokesman Hamish Nixon says though other people were talking them up, they’re hard on themselves and didn’t expect to win.

“We’ve been experimenting for three years and we finally found what the judges wanted,” he said. “We’re hoping to all be studying in Auckland next year, so we’ll be chilling out over summer, making the video, playing gigs and keeping the band together next year.”

The judges, Welsh producer Greg Haver, The Edge assistant PD Clint Roberts, Tanya Dean from NZonAir, Bobby Kennedy the drummer from OpShop and Milan Borich the lead singer from Pluto agreed easily on the soloist and the top three, but found it harder to rank them first, second and third.

Clint Roberts says A Bit Nigel has real potential to be New Zealand’s next big thing:

“They’re a young band with a fresh sound – they’ve got originality, they’ve got swagger, musicality, and they were at home on the stage,” he said. “The lead singer had an effortless interaction with the crowd and they look set to make it commercially in the music industry.”

A Bit Nigel win $10,000 worth of musical gear from the New Zealand Rockshops, while Harry Parson’s wins $3,000 worth; and both will get a ‘Making Tracks’ recording and music video grant from NZ on Air, inclusion on the NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc, radio promotional support, and video play on youth music channel FOUR.

It’s been a big 25th anniversary year for Smokefreerockquest, with the change in format to include a solo-duo categrory, 654 entries playing off nationwide, founders and directors Glenn Common and Pete Rainey receiving MNZM awards for services to New Zealand music, and stars from Kimbra to Dave Dobbyn paying tribute to the contest and the role it continues to play on the Kiwi music scene.

Other awards made on Saturday night were:

Second placed band, winning $5,000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop: The Moots, Auckland Central – a funk-rock three piece from St Kentigern College, Western Springs College, and Westlake Boys’ High School; members are Alexandre de Reuck (drums), Guy Beca (bass) and Gabriel Everett (lead vocals and electric guitar).

Second placed solo-duo, winning $1,000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop: Khona Va’aga-Gray from McAuley High School, Aucklan

Third placed band, winning $3,000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop: SundayBest, from St Peter’s School Cambridge, made up of Charlie Verberne (lead vocals and electric guitar), Chris Milson (vocals and drums), and Jesse Austin (vocals and bass).

The MAINZ Scholarship for outstanding musicianship, tuition fees for one year to a MAINZ Course, valued at $4800: Jacob Morris, guitarist from Christchurch Boys High School band Jacob Morris and the Innovator

The APRA Lyric Award, $500 cash: Hannah Horsfield from Kaipara College, West Auckland,  for her song ‘Just Leave

The Lowdown Best Song Award, having their song professionally recorded: Sunday Bes

The Smokefreerockquest video competition: $2500 in video equipment to the film-maker: John Bu from Auckland Grammar School; and $1000 in musical equipment from the Rockshop to the band filmed: Ludo from Rangitoto College 

The Smokefree Women’s Musicianship, $1000 cash, and the opportunity to play at final’s VIP fuction: Ashleigh Parton, guitarist and vocalist from Vivid (one of the top 20 bands) from Auckland Diocesan Girls’ Schoo

The Skinny Mobile People’s Choice Award: Blenheim rock band Arm the Reckless, who were flown to Auckland to play the opener at the event as the prize for this award, voted on Facebook in the lead up to the final.

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