Stage busy at Rockquest
Queenstown student wins big after conquering nerves
Wakatipu High School student Sofia Machray was so consumed by nerves she almost did not make it to the stage for the Central Otago Smokefreerockquest last Thursday night.
If it had not been for music teacher Alison Price’s encouragement she would not have performed and walked away with three stunning awards.
The 14-year-old won top solo or duo performance, the Smokefree Award for women’s musicianship and the People’s Choice Award, voted by text. ‘‘I get so nervous, I don’t know why. ‘‘I’m really glad I did it though,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve been playing guitar since I was 7 but only started singing and writing my own stuff in the last few months . . . I didn’t think I could but I gave it a go.’’
She blew the 15-strong audience away with her original songs Creative and Lost earning her comparisons with Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin.
Receiving the awards was ‘‘quite overwhelming’’.
The winning band at the event was Mt Aspiring College rockers Near Armageddon.
Vocalist and guitarist Isaac Bell said the group, including himself, Lucan Smith on bass, Morgan Allen on rhythm guitar and Tyler Bailey on drums, were heavily influenced by Rage Against the Machine and Metallica. They were thrilled with their win. ‘‘We went into thinking we’d have a jam and enjoy ourselves. We really didn’t have any idea. I didn’t even tell any of my friends because we might have been a bit crap.’’
Bell also won the Mainz Musicianship Award with the opportunity to be selected for the $4500 Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand Scholarship, announced at the national final.
Machray and Near Armageddon now preparing a music video to submit in the hope of being selected for the New Zealand final.
Huge night: Sofia Machray, of Wakatipu High School, won the solo/duo category, the Smokefree Award for Women’s Musicianship and People’s Choice award at the Central Otago final of the Smokefreerockquest last night.