Mahurangi College students made a strong showing in the Who Loves Who music competition,
The competition invites Year 9 to 13 students to celebrate New Zealand music by recording their own unique and evocative interpretation of a New Zealand song.
Elena Cooper, 15, and Riley Popham, 13, were among 20 finalists for the competition from around New Zealand.
Each will have their rendition of a classic Kiwi song featured on the Who Loves Who competition album.
Elena chose to record Fast Times in Tahoe by Elemeno P and Riley went for Expecting to Fly by the Headless Chickens.
Elena’s success came despite having only primitive equipment to record her demo version of the song and impress judges. She recorded on her mum’s iPad in her living room.
Nevertheless, she says she really enjoys 90s and early 2000s music and felt there were ways to make Fast Times in Tahoe her own by performing it on an acoustic guitar.
“I changed some parts, making them fit better with an acoustic theme,” she says.
Riley says he really likes the gothic and grunge feel of Expecting to Fly. He made the song his own by adding plenty of guitar distortion and made the song sound as though it is being looped (that is recorded and immediately played back) – something Riley does frequently as a solo performer.
For his demo for the competition, Riley laid down three guitar tracks, two drum tracks and one bass track in a recording studio at home.
Both students credited Mahurangi College with helping develop their musical talent, saying school music lessons helped them develop technical expertise and improved their confidence in playing in public.
The Who Loves Who competition is organized by Play it Strange, which strives to provide secondary students with a platform to pursue their musical talents.