Blenheim teen in running for rockquest finals
Estella Romagnoli has been singing for as long as she can remember.
The first song the 15-year-old wrote and performed was at her mother’s wedding when she was 10.
Her mother, Katie Romagnoli, said Estella sang a song called It’s fun to be a Romagnoli and had most of the crowd in tears.
Since then, the young musician, who was born in Blenheim and attends Nelson College for Girls, has carried on performing and honing her craft as a songwriter.
Estella entered the Smokefreerockquest this year with her college band, Equinox, and as a solo performer in the online solo-duo category.
The category, which was introduced for the first time this year, allows performers already in bands to submit a video for the solo-duo category.
All up there were 60 entrants from around the country, and Estella, playing guitar and singing her song Roses are Red, was one of six finalists.
To reach the next step in the competition, Estella had to record four songs, with help from music teacher Jared Altments, for a shot at the national finals.
She loves singers like Adele, Kiwi band Tattletale Saints and the British rock group Catfish and the Bottlemen, but her own sound is more difficult, she says.
‘‘I just love songwriting, it’s so invigorating. Having those four songs down on video is amazing - they’re like little pieces of me, they all hold memories of writing them.’’
Song-writing required creativity, especially as a teenager, she says. ’’It’s awesome to be able to write about the things you feel and convey that to other people. And you have to be creative, because I’m 15 and not much is happening to me.’’
Estella first performed in public when she was 5-years-old, at the Elim Church Christmas dinner in Blenheim, singing Te Harinui.
Katie, who describes herself as a ‘‘mumager’’, says she was amazed her daughter was able to remember all the words to the multi-verse Christmas carol.
Since then, Estella has developed a knack for performing, so the prospect of heading to Auckland for the national finals on September 2 if she gets through is not too daunting.
‘‘I love being on stage now, I’ve done it a lot in recent years and I just feel really comfortable,’’ Estella says.
‘‘I think mum gets more nervous than I do.’’
Blenheim-born songwriter Estella Romagnoli, one of the six finalists in the online solo-duo category in the Smokefreerockquest.