Holly wins $10,000 scholarship

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A Queenstown singer-songwriter who started singing only four years ago has won a $10,000 award.

Holly Arrowsmith, 19, beat off almost 60 other applicants for the second annual Queenstown Roost Mortgage Brokers ‘Do Your Thing’ scholarship. One of five finalists, the blues/folk musician was announced the winner in Arrowtown last Thursday. 

Arrowsmith won Queenstown’s popular Songstars singer-songwriter contest last year. Her winning song Wolves & Moons is one of four tracks on Arrowsmith’s first EP The River, released in June.

This month Arrowsmith was also announced as a mainstage performer at the New Year’s Eve Rhythm & Alps festival at Cardrona.

Arrowsmith says she intends putting her scholarship money towards a full-length album and touring New Zealand before taking her music to the world.

Co-judge and mayor Vanessa van Uden told last week’s function Arrowsmith stood out for “the passion and commitment with which she spoke about her dream”.

“And that when we asked her, ‘why don’t you just go and sign up to a record label and make it all happen really easily?’ Holly’s answer straight off was ‘because I know what I want to do and it’s important for me to do it the way I want to do it and I would have to sell myself to get a record label’.

“We all felt she was being clever in her approach to achieving her dream and taking it in a very calm, structured way,” Van Uden says.

American-born Arrowsmith – who attended Arrowtown School and Wakatipu High – says the $10,000 is massive and will make her next career step much easier.

Asked what inspires her music, she says: “Nature is a big inspiration and just other artists who I really admire. I just write about what’s happening in my life – living in Queenstown is really inspiring.”