Hearts and souls on the line

This week, 10 performers will bare their souls at the Queenstown Memorial Centre during the 2014 Songstars competition, when they perform their original songs, to be judged by Queenstown audiences.

The winner of the competition, now in its fourth year, will have their song professionally recorded at Auckland's York St Studios.

All songs will be recorded and included on a souvenir CD being sold at the show, with proceeds going back to the artists.

Songstars opens on Thursday night at the Queenstown Memorial Centre, with performances on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets ($40 adults, $20 16 and under) are available from i-Site Queenstown. 


Isla (26) and Finley (23) Brentwood, of Queenstown, performing as Brentwood.

Song title: Something New.

Inspired by: Initially, the song was inspired by a ''terrible boss'', which evolved into a song about being taken advantage of.

Performing experience: The siblings are not new to performing in front of audiences, with Isla a student of the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (Nasda) and Finley a graduate of the New Zealand Broadcasting School.

Songstars experience: While they may get ''a bit nervous'' they are also excited to debut the first of what they hope will be many songs written and performed together.


Erin Crowley (27), originally from Timaru.

Song title: Good Night Baby (Can I Say I Love You Yet).

Inspired by: ''Falling in love''.

Performing experience: Full-time professional touring musician.

Songstars experience: ''I feel like we're already all winners - we're all getting to meet each other and get a lot of industry advice.''


Harry James (22), originally from Wales.

Song title: Harry's Got Guns.

Inspired by: ''There's a lot of songs about how shallow the guys are, but I think girls are shallow, too.''

Performing experience: Open mike nights and busking.

Songstars experience: ''I'm pretty nervous ... [but] I'm just excited and happy with everything that's happening.''


Jake Channer (26), originally from Manchester, UK.

Song title: Just For The Record.

Inspired by: ''I was in Australia at the time ... I ended up hooking up with a girl ... it went wrong. It's about accepting it was karma getting me back and me being OK with it.''

Performing experience: Open mike nights, formerly performed with a metal band.

Songstars experience: ''I'm excited ... It's not really hit me, to be honest. I don't think it will really sink in until Thursday.''


Joe Cowie (37), of Queenstown.

Song title: Home and Found.

Inspired by: The southern South Island landscape

Performing experience: Performs with Queenstown band Killer Seas but has never fronted a band before.

Songstars experience: After originally auditioning with fellow contestant Tai Forrester as a duo, Mr Cowie said he was ''really surprised'' to have been selected to perform on his own - which will be a first.


Margaret Amor (37), originally from New Plymouth.

Song title: Nga Taonga o Nga Tupuna (Treasures of the Ancestors).

Inspired by: ''Every single one of us is a treasure of the ancestors ... sometimes people forget that. You are a treasure, you're perfect and you're amazing ... stand strong, stand with love and stand with courage.''

Performing experience: Ms Amor is used to singing in front of the children she teaches, but says singing publicly was one of her fears. ''It's important I lead by example and face my fears.''

Songstars experience: ''I just feel really blessed to meet all these people who love music and love writing songs. To perform with them is a real blessing.''


Peter Caulton (59), originally from Gisborne.

Song title: 1500 Breweries, 5000 Beers.

Inspired by: Having lived in Germany, Mr Caulton ''fell in love with beer'' and loved songs about beer. His SongStars entry is inspired by the English translation of a German beer-festival slogan.

Performing experience: Fulltime professional musician.

Songstars experience: ''I think it's a great idea. The problem with being a songwriter is, if the songs aren't being recorded and played on the radio, it's hard to get people to listen to them.''


Tai Forrester (27), originally from Stewart Island.

Song title: Guilty.

Inspired by: ''A girl. I planned to go out with this girl, I went out with her and it didn't go as planned.''

Performing experience: Singer in the Killer Seas and also performs as half of the acoustic solo duo Tai and Peti.

Songstars experience: ''It's all good.''


Tania Carter (50), of Queenstown.

Song title: What Drives You.

Inspired by: ''My son who is an ironman. Supporting him in his competitions and wondering what gives him the strength to push through the physical barriers that he does.''

Performing experience: Musical theatre, former lead singer of a band.

Songstars experience: ''It's really exciting. It's like baring your soul to the world really, when you write a song.''


*Absent: Thomas Brinsley, of Queenstown.


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