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Making Paradise


We’ve long searched for paradise, that idyllic place or state where everything is perfect and now, thanks to Kiwi singer songwriter Anderson Rocio, there are plenty more reasons to love paradise – a million to be precise.

That’s how many Spotify streams Rocio’s latest song Paradise has had since the song made its global debut in a pivotal scene in season five of the popular Netflix series Lucifer.

And while the numbers – which are still climbing – are impressive, what is perhaps even more so, is the fact that it was written and recorded in her bedroom in less than a day.

“It is so inspiring. I never really feel like these songs come from me, just more ‘through’ me from somewhere else. But to know that people around the world are connecting to the art that I produce is, I think, an artist’s dream. It’s been my dream for a very long time!”

The 26-year-old half Spanish, half American beauty was born in Italy, grew up in the UK and sailed the world on a 13.4 metre catamaran for three years with her family and a Yamaha p60 piano, before they settled in New Zealand when Rocio was 14. After graduating with a Bachelor in Music, Classic Piano Performance from Otago University, she bought a one-way ticket to LA to pursue her music dream in 2017.

It took 18 months, but she was eventually signed to a sync agency called THINK Music Inc in August 2018 on the back of her first EP, Darkerside, Rocio had released earlier that year.

Occasionally THINK would send her briefs for “an uplifting, sweet song” or “something with the word forever in it” and last September there was a brief for a “happy, sad song”.

“The turnover was quick,” she says. “I had a day to see what I could come up with!”

Trawling YouTube news with the sound muted, provided the inspiration and Rocio managed to capture the dichotomy of the chaos taking place in the world, with the beauty of humanity. “I wrote, sang, played and recorded Paradise and sent it through without thinking a lot more about it,” she says.

Like many things in life, it didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen… five months later, when the sync agency asked to approve the use of Paradise for the Netflix show Lucifer. Rocio said “Awesome!” and quickly forgot about it, again.

“You never know until close to when the show airs whether or not they’ll actually use it,” she laughs.

When she received the air date and confirmation of use – she was over the moon, but still unaware of how prominent the song would be in this show.

The night before the screening, a close videographer friend put together some iPhone footage of Rocio at home in Queenstown during lockdown as a music video, in case anyone went in search of the artist behind the song.

And on Friday August 21, they watched in anticipation the fifth episode of Lucifer season five, screening on Netflix in New Zealand. And, rather than simply background music, the song plays during a pivotal scene featuring the character Mazikeen, played by South African-born Kiwi actress Lesley-Ann Brandt. Her phone hasn’t stopped ringing and the notifications haven’t stopped pinging since.

“It’s been amazing to see. For me, it’s one more step closer to getting to where I have always wanted to be,” Rocio says.

“It’s been a gradual climb with my music and this is the biggest milestone yet. I still feel like I’m daydreaming, so it hasn’t really hit… even now. But I have become a lot busier! It also kinda feels like my birthday every time I wake up to see what new news has come through!”


 

Super Summer Sound


The wide appeal of Kiwi supergroup L.A.B is making waves here and abroad. Metropol catches up with lead guitarist and vocalist Joel Shadbolt ahead of their Christchurch show.

L .A.B, pronounced as each letter, but representative of a laboratory where pioneering ideas are cooked up, is behind one of the country’s most popular songs of the moment.

The nostalgic Kiwi summertime bop, ‘In the Air’ has spent 35 weeks in the Official New Zealand Top 40 Singles chart, 33 of those in the top 10 and three as number one.

It’s the first New Zealand number one since Lorde in 2017, the first independent single since Flight of the Conchords in 2012 and is nominated for a coveted 2020 Apra Silver Scroll song writing award.

Comprised of members of some of New Zealand’s most well-known bands of recent decades, L.A.B’s five members are Kora’s Brad and Stu Kora, Katchafire’s Ara Adams-Tamatea, and Miharo Gregory, and Joel Shadbolt.

Joel told Metropol how the accidental success of ‘In the Air’ has help the group – who have three albums under their belts since forming in 2017 – cement its sound.

“The thing with ‘In the Air’ is none of us thought it would be a number one hit,” he says. “It keeps growing legs with how long it’s been out and just keeps going.”

The reason for that?

“We think people are attaching themselves to the nostalgic sound. Lyrically, it’s about young love, it’s very much about that summer love.

“Musically, it’s more of an old school song feel. It’s different from other music which is prominent at the moment, but it seems to resonate.”

Starting life as a Kiwi reggae band, the supergroup’s sound has developed to put its blues, rock, RnB, and funk influences more centre stage.

“When I hear [‘In the Air’], I hear influences from the ‘70s with the basic beat, simple guitar chords and bassline – yet when kids at school hear it, they can hear something fresh in it because it’s not what they’re used to hearing.”

And it is inspiration from that era which the band is really tapping into, he says.

”The older the sound we try to come out with, the more it seems to resonate with audiences as something new.

“We’re influenced by the music we were brought up on. We have really close connections with music from Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder, their music resonates with all generations and when we write our music we’re conscious about doing that, too.”

‘In the Air’ is from L.A.B’s third album, which Joel sees as a turning point for the band, which he says will be further demonstrated in its fourth album due to be released this summer.

“In our third album we found the groove so to speak. You can definitely hear Kora and reggae more so in the first and second albums. The third, we don’t ascribe it so much to other bands, we just hear it as L.A.B.

“The sound is always evolving, but now we get to the point where we’re say that’s an L.A.B sound.”

Covid-19 disrupted L.A.B’s planned Australian tour as well as shows in Auckland and Hamilton. However, once the country went from Alert Level 4 to 1, the capacity of the New Zealand shows were increased – and the concerts were the first major events to take place amidst a global pandemic.

“Because of the pandemic we’ve been able to reschedule and make the shows bigger. We went from 1000 people at the Power Station to 6000 at Spark Arena, and also ended up playing to 6000 at Cloudeland’s Arena instead of 1000 at The Factory.”

They will also be headlining a number of New Zealand music festivals this summer, should they go ahead due to Covid-19.

At which time, L.A.B will perform alongside other Kiwi favourites Benee, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Shapeshifter, The Upbeats, Broods, and Sola Rosa.

When the band comes to Christchurch in October Joel says audiences here can expect to hear their super summer sound.

• L.A.B are playing Horncastle Arena on October 31. Buy tickets at www.ticketek.co.nz.


 

What we all need now…


Award-winning Christchurch singer Ali Harper’s concerts are synonymous with uplifting locals in hard times, and her latest show is no different. Metropol catches up with Ali ahead of The Look of Love, where she puts her own special touch on Burt Bacharach’s hits alongside pianist Tom Rainey.

 

WHAT IS IT ABOUT BURT BACHRACH’S MUSIC WHICH RESONATES WITH YOU?
“Burt’s music is brave, inspiring, creatively exquisite and abundantly beautiful – values I greatly admire. He spent a large part of his career writing about moments in history that were particularly troubling. His music has been, and continues to be, a tonic for so many.”

YOUR WORK IS CLOSELY LINKED TO UPLIFTING THE PEOPLE OF CHRISTCHURCH, AND BURT BACHARACH’S SONGS HAVE LONG BEEN A SALVE FOR TROUBLED TIMES. TELL US WHAT PARALLELS YOU DRAW BETWEEN HIS WORK AND CANTERBURY’S OWN STORIES OF RESILIENCE – ESPECIALLY IN THESE PANDEMIC TIMES.
“The sense of community and family has never been stronger. We discovered our own special ‘bubbles’ in those months in lockdown which gave us a new sense of gratitude for what we have and what is truly important. We have faced challenges as a city ten years ago with the earthquakes and last year with the Mosque shootings which shook us both physically and emotionally. Now as we face another upheaval, this show really could not have come at a better time. It’s as if the Bacharach anthem ‘What the World Needs Now’ was written for 2020 not 55-years ago.”

WHAT CAN AUDIENCES EXPECT FROM YOUR SHOWS?
“With all my concerts I really enjoy taking that fourth wall down and inviting the audience in as if they are in my living room. It’s like meeting old friends again and making new ones. Because Burt’s music is so well-known, I know everyone will be smiling and feeling those waves of nostalgia right from the opener.”

LOCKDOWN HAS HAD A LARGE IMPACT ON THE ARTS SCENE IN CHRISTCHURCH, HOW HAS IT IMPACTED YOU AND HOW ARE YOU ADAPTING?
“Yes, I had a lot of work postponed around the country. Fortunately, my other passion besides performing is teaching yoga and singing. I have set up a home studio called Cultivate Joy which does exactly that, teaching all ages, all abilities.”

YOU’VE BEEN PERFORMING FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS IN NEW ZEALAND AND ABROAD, WHAT KEEPS FUELLING YOUR PASSION FOR YOUR CRAFT?
“Connecting with people and giving not only myself the platform to express myself, share stories and honour the great artists I adore, but to allow people to escape, to reminisce and have a fabulous experience in the theatre. Something I, with so many, will never take for granted again.”


 

Tempting Fête: Geraldine Summer Fete


Thursday 5 November is the Red Letter Day in Geraldine this year for a unique shopping event held at the spectacular Stover Garden, Main North Road Geraldine.

 

Bursting with over 200 high quality stalls this home, garden and lifestyle fête brings you the finest selection of creators to ensure a day of indulgence and elegance for you and your friends.

Wander through Stover’s stunning gardens while listening to live music and enjoying the friendly, relaxed atmosphere of this elegant Christmas shopping event.

With an amazing selection of products to choose from, this exclusive shopping occasion will be a splendid day out for all.

Save the date and make a day of it to enjoy the beautiful country setting!

A fabulous day out for everyone. You can buy tickets on the website – www.geraldinesummerfete.co.nz – or at the gate on the day. Free car parking.


 

Festivities all grown up


Adult musicians – and the musically curious – are invited to join an educational and entertaining festival at the Christchurch School of Music next month.

 

The new Festival of Adult Music Learning will run from September 7 to 13 in collaboration with Adult Community Education NZ (ACE) and its Year of Lifelong Learning initiative.

The festival features a range of free workshops, open rehearsals of all CSM’s adult ensembles, and a celebratory concert featuring CSM’s Adult Music Performing Groups.

Workshops include specific instruments and disciplines like ukulele, community singing, samba band, and West African drumming, as well as more general options teaching some basic musicianship skills, too.

For those who haven’t picked up an instrument in years, or who have been playing solo and are ready to dip their toes into group playing – there’s also open rehearsals to join in.

Or, you can just come along for a listen as motivation for getting back into some playing or singing. It is never too late!

The concert on Sunday September 13 will celebrate learning music as an adult and will feature all of CSM’s adult groups – string orchestras, wind ensembles, jazz bands and a choir.

For more information and to register your attendance phone 366-1711, email office@csm.org.nz or visit the CSM website.


 

Born to sing


Delta Goodrem once told us she was, Born to Try. But to describe what this powerhouse performer has been able to achieve as simply ‘try’ would most certainly sell her short. Named after the Joe Cocker song Delta Lady, it seem Delta wasn’t Born to Try; she was born to sing.

 

 

“It was something that in my heart I knew was what I wanted to do,” she says of the career which will bring her to New Zealand next year for her Bridge Over Troubled Dreams Tour.

“Truthfully it was a feeling I had. My parents were so incredibly supportive of my dream.”

At the age of thirteen, Goodrem recorded a five-song demo CD, financed through TV commercials and minor roles in several Australian series.

Long story short, it secured her a record deal with Empire Records. But it was her role as shy school girl and aspiring singer Nina Tucker on Neighbours which made her a household name, launching her music career.

“I was so lucky to have had my parents. Nobody knew anyone in the industry; I was just a kid that wrote songs from what I was seeing in the world!”

Goodrem’s first ever headline tour of New Zealand will commence on 22 April 2021 at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre, before moving to Auckland’s Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre on 23 April and hitting the Christchurch Town Hall on 24 April.

“There’s nothing like being on tour and being with people face to face and to share in the magic of live music,” says Goodrem, who is heavily involved creating her shows.

“From day one when I started making music, it was important to me that the overall feeling had to come from my heart; being authentic is what people respond to and I deeply love putting on shows. Nothing gets me more excited than creating a world for everyone to come to.

“Visually, I love to make sure a tour represents the energy of what this new album embodies. There are going to be incredible musical moments in bringing to life the surprise elements of this new album and all of the favourites from my previous records. Anyone who has been to my shows knows that I like to have a lot of fun and this record and tour is no different.”

The singer-songwriter who has been in self-lockdown in Sydney also recognises the opportunity for fans to let loose. “I know many people are going through challenging times right now; come next year I want to invigorate and empower everybody in the room to have the best night of their lives and we’ll sing and dance through it all.”

It’s also an opportunity to allow her fans to connect with her new music and reminisce over the old – the ‘old’ including 17 Top 10 hits, four number one albums and selling more than nine million records worldwide.

The ‘new’ includes Let It Rain, released in January as Australia battled devastating bushfires, with proceeds donated to bushfire relief.

Keep Climbing was released in her social media Bunkerdown sessions in May.

“I’d like this song to remind people to not be afraid to find the strength when they feel stuck between where they are and where they want to go,” Goodrem explains.

“To find that part in you to keep climbing and to continue to believe that it will lead you to that next moment in your life.”

Continuing to let the music do the talking, she released Paralyzed on the grand finale of The Voice Australia 2020; a narrative of when your whole world stops and has to be reset.

“Sometimes we are forced to take the difficult cards we are dealt with in life, in our stride. Of course it’s a personal song, but it’s there for everyone who is asking themselves for patience and a chance to stop and rewind,” she says.

Forming what she describes as her “new era of music”, she’s since come to realise the powerful lyrics mean something unique to everyone. “So many people have experienced it.”

Seemingly busier than ever during lockdown, Goodrem has also been undertaking highly-acclaimed performances for global event One World: Together At Home and Music From The Home Front where she shone as one of four hosts, delivering a show-stopping duet rendition of the Men At Work classic Down Under with Colin Hay.

But a project that is even closer to her heart has been the launch of the Delta Goodrem Foundation, in partnership with St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.

Established to help fund medical research into blood cancers and autoimmune disease, the foundation stands in recognition of her own health battle – one with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when she was just 18.

“I think [that experience] cemented for me that health is the most important thing,” Goodrem says.

“And also the understanding that someone is going through that fight right now; you don’t know what someone is going through. Part of my DNA is this huge empathy and compassion for someone’s journey.

“Being able to talk to people as a survivor is a real privilege.”

But it is perhaps the establishment of the foundation which has been the biggest takeaway for her and $1 + GST from every ticket purchased for the Bridge Over Troubled Dreams Tour will be going to support the foundation’s work.

So what do the next 12 months have in store for this powerhouse performer?

“Hopefully lots and lots of new music, I’ll be continuing to bring out new songs and heading out on tour see you in person. I’m truly looking forward to it.”

She may be Australia’s sweetheart, but she might soon be ours too.

METROPOL HAS ONE DOUBLE PASS TO GIVE AWAY TO DELTA’S CHRISTCHURCH SHOW! TO ENTER, HEAD TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS


 

Th’ Dudes head our way


Iconic Kiwi band Th’ Dudes has announced new dates for Th’ Bliss Tour, with the nine-date tour now scheduled to kick off in Wellington on 13 November and hit Christchurch on 4 December.

 

 

The newest inductees to the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame were due to hit the road in April for the first time in more than a decade.

Their first tour without founding member Ian Morris, it will feature Ian’s brother Rikki on guitars and providing backing vocals.

“We’ll be back with the same reunion, same songs, same Lez high kicks,” singer Dave Dobbyn says.

“And all with a greater sense of being alive and healthy!”

Originally formed as high school band Krispie in 1975 and disbanding in 1980, Th’ Dudes had an incredible impact on the New Zealand music scene with hits like Be Mine Tonight, Bliss, That Look In Your Eye, Right First Time and Walking in Light. They won Top Group and Single of the Year for Be Mine Tonight at the 1979 New Zealand Music Awards.

They stopped playing live in 1980, ahead of the release of their second album Where Are The Boys.

Since then, Th’ Dudes have only reunited for a tour in 2006 that saw 11 shows expanded to 17 due to the incredible demand for tickets, and visits to favourite holiday spots the following summer.

Th’ Bliss Tour is the first chance to see Th’ Dudes live in concert in 13 years, for shows promising high energy entertainment and all the hits.

Both Auckland concerts are sold out, with remaining tickets to other cities, including the Christchurch shows, on sale now.

In the meantime, fans can enjoy Bliss, a new compilation from Th’ Dudes now out on streaming services, with Bliss on Wax (LP) and Bliss on Disc (CD) available at all good record stores.

Th’ Dudes made two albums: Right First Time released in June 1979 and Where Are The Boys released in July 1980.

This newly re-mastered selection is from these lovingly archived recordings at Stebbing Recording Studios, where both albums were originally recorded and mixed.

 

TH’ DUDES – THE BLISS TOUR NEW DATES

Friday 13 November 2020 TSB Arena, Wellington
Saturday 14 November 2020 Claudelands Arena, Hamilton
Thursday 19 November 2020 Town Hall, Auckland (previously Fri 24 April)
Friday 20 November 2020 Town Hall, Auckland (previously Sat 25 April)
Monday 23 November 2020 Municipal Theatre, Napier
Saturday 28 November 2020 McKay Stadium, Whangarei (formerly known as ASB Stadium)
Wednesday 2 December 2020 Trafalgar Centre, Nelson
Friday 4 December 2020 Town Hall, Christchurch
Saturday 5 December 2020 Town Hall, Dunedin


 

She had a dream


Sometimes all it takes is perfect timing to bring your best achievement into the limelight.

 

 

When she was 20, local Christchurch musician Steffany Beck won a grant with the foundation Rise NZ, to record her song I Have a Dream. Now at 30 she has just commercially released her favourite original to the world.

“The lyrics are about what the world would look and feel like if everyone accepted each other for who they are, allowing people to just follow and live their dreams,” she says.

At the time, the inspiring indie pop-rock song was recorded professionally with a full band, released on the Rise website and showcased on the Erin Simpson Show, but that was the limits to the song’s publicity.

“Only my friends and family really knew it existed back then – there was no opportunity for it to go anywhere,” Steffany explains.

“However, a teenager did recognise me in the mall and said it completely inspired her. That really meant a lot; creating your community and connecting with them is what inspires me the most. It’s who you do it for.”

The song title was inspired by Martin Luther King’s famous 1963 quote when he called to end racism in the United States.

It was watching videos of his speeches that the American-born songstress got inspiration to write and headline the song.

“Coincidentally this even has relevance with what’s been going on recently,” she says of the lyrics which she hopes will inspire others to be more accepting.

“Helping people is all I have ever wanted to do.”

When it comes to inspiration, it was in fact her own song that inspired Steffany to write and record her EP Blue Eyed Girl last year.

“This February I realised this song (I Have a Dream) was actually the prologue to my EP – the reason. My gut instinct told me I had to now share it with the world.”

When the original was released, Steffany was a budding artist but decided to learn the marketing side of things and be her own manager to get her music out there.

“That’s what many musicians are doing now,” she says. “There are so many platforms you can put your music on that weren’t there 10 years ago.”

Instead, Steffany arranged interviews on radio stations, TV segments, even for a music magazine in India! “The whole world is my platform,” she says.

Over the last decade the songstress has been reinventing herself and counts being chosen for a song-writing workshop weekend with Kiwi icon Bic Runga as one of her professional highlights.

The brunette Stephanie from the original YouTube video of I Have a Dream has now become a more talented and very blonde, Steffany.

“I changed my name spelling as there were so many other Stephanie Becks. You need to be easy to find,” she says.

Steffany’s working week is busy as a full-time Health and Safety Manager at Contract Construction, a career she adores.

Lockdown gave her the chance to let herself relax a little and get the re-release of her original I Have a Dream organised.

“I really want to inspire people. Especially now with everything in crazy chaos, you still owe it to yourself to live your own dream.”

Her original song is now up on Spotify, iTunes, apple music, Sound Cloud and Facebook and the latest video went live on YouTube on 15 July.

 

Song Spotify/ iTunes/ Apple Music

smarturl.it/SteffanyBeck

Music video

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq_x6Xi4buA

Social media

www.facebook.com/steffanybeckmusic/


 

Jackie Clarke’s southern sounds


We caught up with powerhouse vocalist Jackie Clarke ahead of her 2021 trip down our way for Selwyn Sounds.

 

 

You’re heading down our way for Selwyn Sounds in Lincoln in 2021! How excited are you and what are you looking forward to the most?!
I’m so thrilled to be part of this line-up. This will be The Lady Killers’ second time to Selwyn Sounds; we’re honoured to get a re-call as honestly it’s one of the best gigs of the New Zealand summer, such a great vibe. This time round the bonus for us is it’s going to be like a big family party on stage. Suzie’s son Andy will be there, as will my good friend Nathan King, and our great mate Annie Crummer, plus I’m a huge Jon Stevens fan! I’ve had a major school girl crush on him since the days of Jezebel, so it’s going to be great to get to see him live… I’ll try not to stalk him backstage!


You’ll be showing off your powerhouse vocals with the other lovely ladies that make up The Lady Killers – Tina Cross and Suzanne Lynch. How did the three of you come together as a band?
We met at a benefit concert 15 years ago and ended up being thrown together to sing some backing vocals for another singer. The moment we opened our mouths and sang, it was like a bolt from the blue moment – it felt like we were born to sing together, like sisters. It’s pretty much a once in a life time sort of a connection we have.
We knew straight away we had to keep singing together. So I basically went out and booked us a gig. As soon as we had a deadline to egg us on, we spent months developing arrangements and also started a 15-year habit of very long lunch meetings and flat white drinking.


You’re celebrating an incredible 15 years together! How close are you?
It’s weird; we’re all very different women; we’re from three different generations, we have quite different views on the world really, but we do get along well. It’s the sort of relationship that shouldn’t work, but it does. I guess we are each other’s biggest fans, so that kinda helps! We also have to work quite hard to make the time to sing together because of constantly evolving and conflicting individual schedules, so I guess that keeps the relationship fresh too, we have enough space in the relationship to keep us from taking each other for granted. It’s still a treat to share the stage with one another.


How did you come up with the name – The Lady Killers?
Oh names are the hardest thing to figure out! It’s torture finding a band name; a lot of brainstorming went on. I was keen on being The Mothers, but apparently some motorcycle gang already had taken that one (how annoying!!). We liked the idea of reclaiming a name that men use. A ‘Lady Killer’ is usually some dude that fancies himself as a ladies man, but we think of ourselves as ‘ladies’ who do ‘killer’ versions of whatever song we like.


You’ve been a beloved New Zealand performer for more than 35 years now! What do you love about performing and getting to do what you do?
Yeah, my first tour with a band was when I was 18 and I’m 54 now and still strutting my stuff, so I guess it’s just part of my DNA. I love performing live on stage, it’s honestly the place I feel most at home in the world – I feel totally free when I’m singing in front of a live audience. I love the chemistry that happens between a performer and an audience, it’s different every show so that means every gig is unique.
I also LOVE singing and playing music as part of a collective. It’s such a satisfying and joyful thing to be part of. There’s no better buzz really. I love the discipline of making things as perfect as possible and the satisfaction when everything comes together and the music is just flying


What have been some of your most memorable experiences over the years?
Meeting your heroes is pretty cool and performing with them is mind-blowing. Singing with Tina and Suzie is like that for me. I used to watch Tina on Ready to Roll when I was 10 or 11 and Suzie as a soloist was a part of my growing up in NZ. When I started doing session singing in the late 80s and early 90s, Suzie’s name was always whispered in reverential tones as the high priestess of session vocals, and now to be singing alongside both of these women is just crazy and something I’m eternally grateful for. That’s NZ I guess, we’re never more than six degrees separation from our heroes.
Also I’d say the wonderful about singing is it’s a passport to the world… and I’ve never valued that more now that we’re currently in a space where the world is no longer available to us. Travelling to places far and wide with my singing mates having adventures singing in places like Kuala Lumpur, the Riviera, throughout Asia and the Pacific is something to be eternally grateful for.


What do the next 12 months have in store for Jackie Clarke?
Well to be honest a lot of the things I had lined up for 2020 have skipped a year and turned up in 2021…. so it’s going to be like deja vu all over again! We’re talking about whether to release another Lady Killers album to mark our 15th anniversary. By the time Selwyn Sounds 2021 comes around hopefully you’ll know where the long lunch meeting with lashings of caffeine got us on that score.

 

My first tour with a band was when I was 18 and I’m 54 now and still strutting my stuff”

Canterbury’s country crooner: Miranda Easten


Miranda Easten has been putting pen to paper since she was nine years old, but it wasn’t until she picked up a guitar that her poetry melded with music.

 

PHOTOS KONRAD KREATIVE

 

“Most of my best songs have started with a feeling,” the beautiful country singer says from the studio at SOLE Music Academy, a dedicated, world-class music hub headed by international platinum recording artist Sacha Vee on the ground floor of the historic Woods Mill Building in Addington.

While some of her songs are autobiographical, some are a means of expressing powerful topics that have ranged from climate change to a high-profile murder case.

But it’s not all doom and gloom; with a strong message of preserving hope through the good times and the bad.

“I love being able to turn feelings and emotions into something tangible,” she says.

Born and bred in Christchurch, Miranda gained singing experience by performing with the Christchurch School of Music, before going on to study Contemporary Music and Performance at Ara Institute of Canterbury Music Arts.


Released in February this year, her debut single Cowboy Lullaby from her upcoming album has already been met with acclaim from critics, quickly rising to #16 on the Official Top 40 Country Music Chart in Australia, where the country genre enjoys a higher profile.

In 2010, Miranda charted on Christchurch radio station The Breeze, singing a cover of Till it Feels Like Cheating by Jewel, who has been a major influence on her sound and style.

Just two years later, she featured on the Voices of Country compilation album, released by Compass FM.

“If I couldn’t put pen to paper or emotion to song, then I would be thoroughly lost,” Miranda says.

“It’s a unique opportunity to be able to write about powerful topics and tell a story through music.”

In 2014, Miranda formed a duo called The Manuka Set with Vanessa Kelly, who had three #1 hit singles in New Zealand with Deep Obsession.

The Manuka Set has created several songs and music videos which illuminate current events and social issues.

Their latest music video highlights the peril our oceans face due to plastic and other synthetics.

Her new single Only One has just been released. Produced by world-renowned producer Greg Haver (Melanie C, Kimbra), and recorded with New Zealand band Tiny Ruins at Roundhead Studios, the song is an “uplifting song about proclaiming an unbreakable love for someone, when it feels like no words are adequate or worthy enough”.

Written in under an hour, Miranda says working on the track with Greg Haver and the Roundhead Studios team was amazing.

“I had to keep pinching myself,” she says.

“I had a lot of input into the single and, even though it was the first time we had worked together, Greg knew how I wanted it to sound. We worked really well together; he’s very funny!” she says.

With huge support coming from Australia, there are big plans in the works, which include setting up a band and touring our neighbouring country.

She’s co-writing with Brisbane singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson and they’re working towards a late-January release of new music.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to observe the world and write about it. I’m so privileged to be able to do what I do.”

On 25 July, Miranda will be performing at a SOLE Showcase, alongside other local performers. For more information, find the event page on Facebook or for tickets, visit www.eventbrite.com.