Kate Popham was able to bring her own interpretation to Hawks and Doves.
A protest song related to Black Lives Matter has won Mahurangi College student Kate Popham first prize in the Northland Smokefree Rockquest competition, giving her a chance to compete in the national final on September 12 in Auckland.
Last month, Kate also won first place in the 2020 Who Loves Who competition, which invites Year 9-13 students to celebrate New Zealand music by recording their own interpretation of a New Zealand song.
The win meant Kate secured the top prize of a day’s professional recording session with her rendition of Hawks & Doves by Reb Fountain.
Kate, also known as Seven Zen, will be a familiar face to many in Mahurangi who will have seen her busking at Matakana Markets, participating in open-mic nights at Matakana pub and taking the stage at the Kowhai Festival.
Reflecting on the Who Loves Who win, Kate says Reb’s sound is very different from her own, but that helped her make her own distinct interpretation.
“I could take her song and make it something very me,” she says.
Kate says Reb’s original was simple, whereas her version introduces more complexity with more instruments and vocal harmonies.
She is quick to add that she has not improved the song, only created a different version in a different style.
Kate hopes to do more work on the song during her recording session and perhaps ultimately release it as an EP, along with some of her other songs.
The timing will depend on study commitments. Kate intends to finish school this year and go on to study for a conjoint law and arts degree at university next year.
Who Loves Who is organised by Play it Strange, which aims to encourage secondary students to write, perform and record music.
Smokefree Rockquest is New Zealand’s only nationwide original music youth event. It was founded in 1989 by music teachers Glenn Common and Pete Rainey to motivate young musicians to prove their ability and encourage the creation of original New Zealand music.