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Announcing the guest writers for SongHubs Waikato 2023

Story Published Wednesday 6 September 2023

With less than one week left to apply for APRA SongHubs Waikato, we are excited to announce the guest writers who will join APRA’s first live-in songwriting retreat heading to Raglan October 30th – November 3rd.

Applications are open to all APRA NZ members and close 5pm Tues 12th September.

Today we announce the special guest writers invited by SongHubs Waikato curator, Jennie Skulander (Devilskin), to assist in each songwriting session during the week: Laughton Kora, Marika Hodgson, and Filiva’a James (Shepherds Reign). Alongside Jennie, these guest writers will offer their expertise in each session that will include two other APRA songwriters and a producer.

What: APRA SongHubs Waikato 2023, a live-in songwriting retreat in Raglan

When: 30 October – 3 November

Where: Raglan Sunset Motel



Laughton Kora

Performer, beatmaker, musician, producer, actor, lecturer, teacher, and gamer, Laughton Kora has been playing music since the age of 6. First winning Smokefree Rockquest with band Aunty Beatrice, Laughton went on to perform with his band Kora all over the world for 8 years alongside completing a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Theatre at Toi Whakaari in Wellington. Since 2015 Laughton has had a consistent solo career across various mediums.

He played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Little Shop of Horrors with the Auckland Theatre Company, played with a variety of bands at multiple festivals including Homegrown, One Love, Splore, Rhythm & Vines, Northern Bass and Bay Of Dreams. Laughton has produced together with Tiki Taane for Dylan Frost, Venice, Ria Hall and many up and coming artists. He’s now working towards musical direction and composition for film and theatre including for Māori TV, short independent films, and TV ads both locally and internationally. More recently he was a music curator for the COP26 Global Summit in Scotland 2021, and featured as a mentor in the popular TV series Popstars 2021.

KORA "Gone" - YouTube

Marika Hodgson

Tāmaki Makaurau-based session bassist, artist/producer having toured nationally and internationally with the likes of Teeks, Kora, Troy Kingi, Hollie Smith, Deva Mahal, Moana & The Tribe, and many more. Marika has recorded on award winning albums and songs, performed at many of Aotearoa's festivals, and graced festival stages around the world. All of this experience has given her a unique perspective as an artist and producer which she showcases in her eclectic solo project under the moniker SORRENTO.

@sorrentoofficial | Linktree

Filiva'a James

Lead vocalist for Shepherds Reign. 99% Samoan. A singer, keytarist, choir master and pākē player (Polynesian log drum). Raised in Māngere, South Auckland, James learnt piano at 7 years old and mastered choir and choral arrangements in his teens. His incredibly nourished musical ear bends from Metallica, Pantera and Avenged Sevenfold to Boo Yaa T.R.I.B.E., System of A Down and Black Sabbath (with some Ice Cube and Abba in the mix among others). As for his vocal influences, James speaks of artists such as Axl Rose, David Dramian and Luciano Pavarotti, with a heavy dose of Corey Taylor in the mix.

All of which accurately reflects the colourful paradoxical voyage which has informed James throughout his life, a church-raised youth who also liked to walk the streets fighting, a bourbon-loving ex-correctional officer who decided to trade it in for Shepherds Reign.

Shepherds Reign - Nafanua - OFFICIAL VIDEO - YouTube


Jennie Skulander

Jennie Skulander is the lead singer and founding member of 4-piece group, Devilskin formed in June 2010 in Hamilton New Zealand. Her powerful and compelling voice and alluring stage presence sets her apart from any vocalist New Zealand has put up so far. With an unerring gift for melody, Jennie's incredible voice sweeps from whisper to roar, rips with power, drips with melody and captivates with sincerity.

Devilskin is made up of Paul Martin (bass), Nail (lead guitar), and Nic Martin (drums). Their Platinum selling debut album We Rise entered the NZ national album charts at Number 1 and stayed in the top 40 for over 54 weeks! The band exploded onto the NZ rock scene with the infectious ‘Little Pills’ and ‘Never See The Light’ singles and was followed by the Number 1 airplay song ‘Start A Revolution’.

Devilskin’s second studio album BE LIKE THE RIVER debuted at Number 1 on the New Zealand Album charts and subsequently achieved GOLD sales certification.

During 2017 Devilskin completed two tours throughout the UK and Europe which included their debut festival appearance at the legendary DOWNLOAD UK festival. 2018 they were invited by great friends Halestorm for an 18 date European tour playing to sold out gigs every night, which was quickly followed by their own 10 date headline tour through the UK. 2019 got off to a flying start with invitations from SLASH to be sole support for his Australasian Arena tour followed by appearances at Download Sydney & Download Melbourne and our own HOMEGROWN Festival in Wellington.

Devilskin have earned a formidable reputation by earnestly demonstrating commitment to unpretentious musical values, writing songs that have depth and passion, and a relentless touring schedule. Their tactical instrumental attack is balanced by the seductive Jennie Skulander and her incredible voice that sweeps from whisper to roar, rips with power, drips with melody and captivates with Sincerity.


Please read all eligibility criteria before applying. Deadline is 5pm Tuesday 12th September. Any questions regarding the application or the SongHubs programme please contact [email protected]