Iris Guevarra’s earliest musical memory was a karaoke rendition of Hit me baby one more time.
The 7-year-old was expecting a stellar score for her cover of the Britney Spears chart topper, but ended up with a ‘‘lousy’’ 60 out of 100.
‘‘And passive aggressive comments, ’keep trying’ or something like that,’’ the 18-year-old recalls.
There was no stopping this star in the making though as on Saturday she won the Smokefree Rockquest final for single and double performers.
The Avondale College student goes by the name ‘‘Iris G’’ and says music always interested her but she never thought about pursuing it seriously until she started preparing for the national contest.
‘‘I realised music is the only thing that is going to fulfil me.’’
The talented teen started writing when she was in year 8, and says her songs are about celebrating life.
‘‘My lyrics are mostly about life and friendships. I really want people to listen to my songs and be reminded that it’s good to be alive.’’
Looking back at her karaoke days, the Avondale resident says she now knows why she did not get the score she wanted.
‘‘I do not do well with singing other people’s songs. I do much better when I can own the music and lyrics.’’
Gueverra performed two of her favourite songs at the competition. The lyrics were inspired by two of her closest friends. Leilani is about a girl of the same name.
‘‘I was very shy as a junior, she was the one who took me under her wing and I gained confidence through her friendship. I look up to her even now.’’
If looks could kill is about a girl Gueverra had followed on Instagram and then met at a music event. ‘‘I was completely in awe of her. Then I became friends with her and discovered how amazing she is in real life.’’ Gueverra has won $3000 in Rockshop vouchers, a NZ On Air recording, video and promo package, promotion on The Edge TV – as well as a photo shoot and branding package. Smokefree Rockquest was founded in 1989 and has more than 40 events across the country each year, leading up to a national final. Replica villa built in 1994 with four double bedrooms and character appeal.
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