Blen­heim teen in run­ning for rock­quest fi­nals

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - OLIVER LEWIS

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.’’

PHOTO: DAVID JAMES/STUFF

Blen­heim-born song­writer Estella Ro­mag­noli, one of the six fi­nal­ists in the on­line solo-duo cat­e­gory in the Smoke­free­rock­quest.

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