Play It Strange CEO and co-founder Mike Chunn says “Coming together to celebrate the exceptional work of these rangatahi shines a light on their achievements and inspires other to follow their lead. We are proud to have been able to mentor and nurture these young creatives through the trust and provide the platform for them to record and have their ideas become reality. Songs are the very foundation of the world of music that surrounds us every day”.
Tairāwhiti region continues to be the capital of creativity taking home four awards. Led by 2021 Aotearoa Music Award winner for Best Music Teacher Jane Egan from Gisborne Girls High School, the students are being honoured with three awards including School of the Year for the sixth time, Peace Song Award and Junior Maioha Award, recognising rangatahi telling their stories in the language of Te Ao Māori. Neighbouring Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Horouta Wānanga students will be recognised for the composition Ka Hoki Nei Au as this years Youthtown Songwriting Competition Aotearoa regional winners.
Grace Lawrence, Year 13 student and head girl from St Andrews College in Christchurch receives the 2022 Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition First Place Award after being a four-time finalist. Her song ‘Differently Now’ explores how time and distance from an impactful event allows us to observe it in different lights. With the introduction to recording provided by Play It Strange, next year Grace heads off to Victoria University of Wellington to study music technology to continue learning about producing and mixing.
The Youthtown Songwriting Competition is especially for students years 9-11 and this years winners include Leigh Edmeades from Albany Senior High School for ‘Streetlights’ (Auckland/Northland region) and Jenny Petegem-Thach and Jazz Mackie from Taieri College for ‘Endless Time’ (South Island). Naimah Manchanda from Lynfield College won the national award for ‘Sugar And Spice’.
Chris Rowe from Kaipara College will be presented with the David Richwhite Lyric Award for ‘Drowning In The Stars’ while the inaugural Strange Art Award goes to Alia Cauty from Long Bay College, Auckland with their work ‘Conspiranoid’ for the ‘Play It Strange Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition’ album artwork.
It’s no secret that Play It Strange nurtures, encourages and provides the platform for students to embrace and foresee a real future as a songwriter, giving them the opportunity to write, record and perform their own songs. With former award winners including Elizabeth Stokes of The Beths, Georgia Nott from Broods, Kimbra, CHAII and Louis Baker, this years award winners are the future of songwriting in Aotearoa.
Play It Strange will also release digital albums from each competition of all the finalist's songs professionally recorded in studios throughout Aotearoa.
2022 Play It Strange Award winners
2022 Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition – First Place Award
Grace Lawrence from St Andrews College, Christchurch
for ‘Differently Now’
David Richwhite Lyric Award
Chris Rowe from Kaipara College, Auckland
for ‘Drowning In The Stars’
Junior Maioha Award
Taniko Rangihau from Gisborne Girls High School
for ‘Te Rewanga o Matariki’
School of the Year Award – for the most finalist songs
Gisborne Girls High School
Youthtown Songwriting Competition Aotearoa
Naimah Manchanda from Lynfield College, Auckland
for ‘Sugar And Spice’
Youthtown Songwriting Competition Aotearoa Auckland/Northland Region
Leigh Edmeades from Albany Senior High School
Youthtown Songwriting Competition Aotearoa, Rest Of North Island Region
Arohea Pewhairangi, Omaio Waititi, Mahara Kururangi, Honore Ingle, Ihaka Hongara, Whaiururangi Maxwell from Horouta Wananga, Gisborne
for ‘Ka Hoki Nei Au’
Youthtown Songwriting Competition Aotearoa, South Island Region
Jenny Petegem-Thach and Jazz Mackie from Taieri College
for ‘Endless Time’
Peace Song Competition Winner
Tetini Pokoati and Ripeka Akurangi from Gisborne Girls High School
for ‘Te Aroha’
Strange Art Award Winner
Alia Cauty from Long Bay College, Auckland with their work ‘Conspiranoid’
for ‘Play It Strange Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition’ album artwork
Play It Strange was established in 2003 to provide opportunities in songwriting, recording and performance for secondary school students and songwriters across Aotearoa. Neil Finn was the trust’s settlor and it is run by CEO, Mike Chunn
In 2022 they have had 619 songs entered from 993 songwriters from secondary schools across the country. They have professionally recorded 151 winning finalist songs to go on digital competition albums across all platforms for free download. They are listened to and celebrated by whanau, peers, schools and wider communitites.
All awards will be presented at Tuning Fork, Auckland on Wednesday 30 November.
The awards are proudly supported by The Tuning Fork and The Rockshop