Ex-Verlaines musician in local song contest final

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A top Arrowtown mus­­ician formerly with a seminal Dunedin band is in the finals of a Queens­town original song contest. 

Arrowtown Primary teacher Paul Winders is one of 10 well-known local faces to make the cut for three live shows of Songstars next month. 

The original song contest lets the audience decide the winner. Winders, who was a member of so-called Dunedin Sound band The Verlaines and now has his own group Paul Winders and the Goodness, says friends who did Songstars last year convinced him to enter. 

“They said it’s an awesome time. I like the idea that it’s original music – it’s a good outlet for people doing their own stuff and a good way to showcase your song to people who might not necessarily listen to your music.” 

Winders says his song Best We Can is about mates who are always giving things their best shot and not beating themselves up all the time. 

“One of the other reasons I was keen on doing the show is they provide a really good band for you. You can ask for what you want.” 

Songstars director Margaret O’Hanlon says she’s humbled a musician with Winders’ background has entered the contest. 

“And I’m thrilled there are so many longstanding Queens­towners who are quietly being creative songwriters. The whole point behind it is to get original material out there and developed.” 

Last year’s winner Holly Arrowsmith will return for the live shows to perform her song. 

An innovation this year means audience members can purchase songs they like for a dollar each. 

O’Hanlon says the songs can be burnt to disc or put on USB stick on the night and the money goes back to the artist. 

The winner gets $1000 and the chance to record their song. 

Winders and the nine other Songstars finalists perform their original numbers at the Memorial Centre on April 11, 12 and 13. 

Tickets are $40.