Maketu¯ a muse for Siena

Te Puke Times - - NEWS - news@tepuke­times.co.nz By STU­ART WHI­TAKER

From Maketu¯ to Syd­ney via New York — Siena Stone has had a whirl­wind 12 months.

It makes Free­wheeler a fit­ting ti­tle for her first sin­gle.

Free­wheeler was re­leased on Au­gust 11 and has since been added to Spo­tify playlists New Mu­sic Fri­day (AU/NZ), Broad Chords, Low-key Week­end, In­die Palace and Heavy Ro­ta­tion. It had al­most 9000 plays in its first three days of re­lease.

The song has been de­scribed as a “wind-in-the hair” song and you can al­most hear the gulls and the waves of Maketu¯ un­der­scor­ing the evoca­tive melody.

”Hun­dred per cent — I think most of the stuff that I write is def­i­nitely in­spired by the vibe of Maketu¯ — it’s easy, breezy sort of stuff,” says the 20 year old.

Siena spent all bar two years in Canada, her early life in the small coastal town.

”My par­ents were al­ways re­ally, re­ally en­cour­ag­ing about any­thing I wanted to do. My dad taught me how to har­monise and my mum is amaz­ing on the har­mon­ica.”

At Te Puke High School she per­formed at tal­ent shows, and in mu­sic classes she wrote songs. She played at Christ­mas in the Park and in a few lo­cal bars, but “noth­ing crazy”.

”I al­ways loved mu­sic a lot.” She was 11 when she wrote her first song.

”When I was 12 my sis­ter started dat­ing a mu­si­cian and when he first came round I though ‘oh my good­ness, what an amaz­ing job to do’.”

Leav­ing Te Puke High School last year, Siena was drawn to Aus­tralia where she con­tin­ued writ­ing and record­ing in a friend’s bed­room stu­dio just north of Syd­ney.

“I was in a band that was tour­ing around, up and down the east coast of Aus­tralia and that was when it was like, okay, this is some­thing I def­i­nitely want to do.”

Armed with a col­lec­tion of songs, she moved to New York where she teamed up with song­writ­ers/pro­duc­ers, Dan Gib­son and Si­mon Oscroft of Frills, Streets of Laredo and Mid­night Youth.

”I had a cou­ple of songs that were in their in­fancy and I thought ‘I’d love to get th­ese recorded.’

” Free­wheeler was my first time ever work­ing with pro­duc­ers and that was a lot of fun. It was so good to watch some­thing that was just in my head come out into a song — I was so ex­cited.”

Re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia she signed a dis­tri­bu­tion deal.

”It took about six months while we took some videos and slowly built to re­leas­ing it.”

She’s thrilled with the re­cep­tion.

”I was so, so, so happy to get onto New Mu­sic Fri­day, Low-key Week­end and Broad Chords, they are a bunch of re­ally cool playlists.”

She is also be­ing talked about on blogs — in­clud­ing Emerg­ing In­die Bands and Snif­fers.

”[Snif­fers] is a blog I’ve been fol­low­ing for ages and couldn’t be­lieve I got on it.”

Siena is hop­ing to tour in Syd­ney and with luck, she says, the rest of Aus­tralia, be­fore the end of the year and is get­ting more and more in tune with big city life.

”When I first got here I was blown way be­cause, well, Maketu¯ is def­i­nitely not a city. It shocked me at the start, but it’s def­i­nitely grow­ing on me. I can step out­side my door and there’s some­thing new to see ev­ery­where.”

She wrote Free­wheeler about a year ago.

”It’s in­spired by Bob Dy­lan — just be­cause he is one of my hugest in­spi­ra­tions in mu­sic. I thought if I’m go­ing to kick this off, I may as well kick it off right.”

Siena Stone is a singer song­writer orig­i­nally from Maketu¯, a place that has a deep in­flu­ence on her mu­sic.

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