'Nervous' Sofia wows judges

Solo-duo category winner Sofia Machray. Photo by Alastair Lynn.
Solo-duo category winner Sofia Machray. Photo by Alastair Lynn.
Rising talent Sofia Machray (14) has proved she has what it takes by winning the solo-duo section of the Central Otago Smokefree Rockquest.

The Wakatipu High School pupil wowed judges and fans at last Thursday's Central Otago regional final in Wanaka, also picking up the Women's Musicianship and People's Choice awards.

Sofia said she was surprised with how well she did.

''It hasn't really sunk in yet. It's amazing,'' she said.

The folk musician revealed that at one stage nerves almost got the better of her.

''I was so nervous backstage, but when I was on stage it wasn't that bad.''

Sofia has been playing the guitar since she was 7 and started writing her own songs a few weeks before the competition.

A songwriting course with Queenstown singer-songwriter Holly Arrowsmith inspired Sofia to follow her passion.

Now she has to focus her attention on making a video for the next round of judging.

''We've got three weeks to do it. I think I'll get my sister to film because she has a pretty good camera.''

Several other bands and artists from Wakatipu High entered the competition, including the Fiends, Concrete Jumble, Love Lost Demons, Simple Function, Coins, duo Isabella Reid and Lucy Nicol and solo artist Angus Reid.

Encompassing styles progressive psychedelic to a fusion mix of jazz, rock and blues, the young musicians set out to entertain the crowd and put their musical talents on display.

Isabella Reid and Lucy Nicol came second in the duo-solo category, Coins picked up third place in the band category and Love Lost Demons won the lyric award.

Many of the bands and artists had only a few weeks to prepare for the competition as they had been involved in their high school production.

''It's a busy town,'' Kirsty McCorkindale, of Love Lost Demons, said.

- Alastair Lynn