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Band & Musician News - Smokefreerockquest 2023 National Finals Results

Smokefreerockquest 2023 National Finals Results

17 September 2023 - 0 Comments

Parkdale (pictured) from Mount Albert Grammar School and Selwyn College in Auckland Central were named the winning band at the National Final of Smokefreerockquest at Q Theatre in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). First place in the Solo-duo category went to Salem from Gisborne Boys’ High School in Tairāwhiti. 

Solomon Woods, the lead vocalist and guitarist of Parkdale, said that the band is “so hyped up” about their win. 

About what advice he would give to future Smokefreerockquest participants he said: “Awards don’t make who you are. Just do the things you love with the people you love… My favourite part of performing is becoming best mates with these guys. I think they’re the most talented people I have ever met.”

About the winning band Mikhal Norris (NZME), a judge at the event, said: “I thought they were a really polished band, I couldn't believe they were still in high school! I can imagine seeing them live and hearing them on the radio.” 

They win $10,000 in musical equipment from Rockshop and a NZ On Air  New Music Single recording, video and promo grant. They also took out the ZM Best Song Award at the event. The bands full line up is; Will Jones (drums), Liam Beasley (bass, backing vocals), Solomon Woods (guitar, lead vocals). 

First in the Solo-duo section, Salem from Gisborne Boys’ High School, won $3,000 in musical equipment from Rockshop and a NZ On Air New Music Single recording, video and promo grant. 

About this win Salem (full name Salem Mahia Randall) said: “I feel amazing and it is really surreal, I am speechless. What I love most about performing is that when I get up there I lose all my anxiety in the world and I can truly lose myself on stage.”

Speaking about Salem, Jeff Newton (NZ On Air), a judge at the event, said: “All he had was his instrument, his voice, and his passion, and he nailed it. He was so good.  You can strip it back, or add onto it - his songwriting is great. His ability to command the audience with just his voice and a solo instrument and making people believe and feel something - he was very developed.” 

Bleeding Star from Wellington High School and Hutt Valley High School in Wellington were named the second place winners in the band category, winning $5000 in musical equipment from Rockshop. The bands full line up is; Kindekel Banda-Moyes (drums), Jude Savage (vocals, guitar), Carlos, Bellamy (vocals, bass), Otis Hill (guitar).

The judges at the event were Mikhal Norris - (NZME), Jeff Newton (NZ On Air),  Ellie Smith (Live Nation), and musicians - Matt Warman, Nat Hutton, and Lepani.

Smokefreerockquest is made possible by the support of Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga - The Ministry of Education, The Wright Family Foundation, NZ Rockshop, Ministry of Youth Development, Creative NZ, Four Winds Foundation, Lion Foundation, and Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand. 

The full list of awards made at the national final is:  

1st placed band: Parkdale - Mount Albert Grammar School, Selwyn College

2nd placed band: Bleeding Star - Wellington High School, Hutt Valley High School

3rd placed band: Unit 51 - Tauranga Boys’ College

1st placed solo/duo: Salem - Gisborne Boys’ High School 

2nd placed solo/duo: JOLA BURNS - Nayland College, Nelson College For Girls

Musicianship Award: Daniel Leabourn of Unit 51 - Tauranga Boys’ College

Smokefree Best Vocals Award: Ilaisa'ane Tokelau Jr of M1 - James Cook High School

ZM Best Song Award: Parkdale - Mount Albert Grammar School, Selwyn College

APRA Lyric Award: Alyssa Harley - Whanganui High School 

Rockshop Electronic Performance Award: Flynn Adamson - Middleton Grange School 

The Director of Health Promotion at the National Public Health Service, Te Whatu Ora, Kathrine Clarke, said that Smokefreerockquest, and Smokefree Tangata Beats (which runs alongside), are such important kaupapa for our communities.

“Young People have amazing talent and showcasing this is important. Positive outlets such as Smokefreerockquest, Smokefree Tangata Beats should be celebrated. This is why we are proud to have supported Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Tangata Beats for nearly 35 years. Smoking-related long-term conditions can have a huge impact on our communities. It is the youth of today who will carry this kaupapa forward by encouraging their peers and whānau to stop smoking or to not start.”

“Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Tangata Beats is such an important kaupapa for our communities. We love seeing our rangatahi come together with resilience, mana and creativity to express themselves through music. Being smokefree and vapefree means honouring your art and performing at your best. It means you’re looking after your wellbeing and wairua and celebrating every breath.”

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners that includes $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, $16,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package, a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends. There is also the Musicianship Award, the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award, Rockshop Electronic Performance Award, ZM Best Song Award, and Vocals Award.  

Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest include Broods, Marlon Williams, Fazerdaze, Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid, Drax Project, Six60, Troy KingiLeisure, OpShop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Joel Little, There’s A Tuesday, TEEKSTiny Ruins, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Chelsea JadeDie! Die! Die!, Leroy Clampitt, Robinson, Steriogram, The Phoenix Foundation, Skinny Hobos, Kimbra, Aaradhna, The Black Seeds, Bic Runga, and Balu Brigada

Smokefree Tangata Beats standout successes include Alien Weaponry, Strangely Arousing, and Nesian Mystik, the only New Zealand band to ever have ten singles all certified gold or platinum. 

Prizes - 

1st place band wins - $10k Musical equipment from the Rockshop, plus an $8k NZ On Air Recording and Video Grant, and promotion, mentoring and on-going support from the Rockquest Promotions team

2nd place band wins - $5k Musical equipment from the Rockshop

3rd place band wins - $3k Musical Equipment from the Rockshop

1st place solo/duo wins - $3k Musical Equipment from the Rockshop, plus Recording and Music Video from NZ on Air

2nd place solo/duo wins - $1k Musical Equipment from the Rockshop

ZM Best Song Award wins - a song professionally recorded

Musicianship Award wins - $500 cash

Smokefree Best Vocals Award wins - $500 cash

APRA Lyric Award wins - $500 cash

Rockshop Electronic Performance Award wins - Ableton Push 2 Live Performance Instrument USB/MIDI Controller, and Ableton Live 11 Suite Edition Music Production Software

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