Kiwi music guru loves Queenstown Songstars


Kiwi songwriting guru Mike Chunn has given a big tick to Queenstown’s Songstars.

Chunn, who attended the original song contest last Friday, says Songstars “has reached a level now that’s on a par with anywhere, I think it’s fantastic”.

“I thought the [contestants’] standard of self-belief, their presentations, were very confident and they covered all the bases so it wasn’t just the presentation of the song – they portrayed individual characters, they projected themselves really well.” 

Chunn – a former Split Enz band member and ex-director of New Zealand operations for the Australasian Performing Rights Association – is chief executive of Play It Strange Trust which helps develop young Kiwis’ songwriting and musical talent.

Before Songstars’ second show he had a drink with the 10 contestants then joined them backstage “just to make sure they were all fidgety and nervous”. 

Overall winner Tai Forrester, who plays in local nightspots and sang Guilty, won the audience vote all three nights.

“Tai obviously maintained his high standard every time,” Chunn says.

Chunn says he preferred Thomas Brinsley’s Icarus, which all three audiences voted in second place: “I thought that had a better long-term chance as a song, but it isn’t just the quality of the song in a show like that.

“There is the whole thing of personality, character, even the videos can seduce an audience – but I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.”

As part of Forrester’s prize package, he’ll travel to Auckland to record his song with Chunn.

Siblings Isla and Finley Brentwood won third prize for their song Something New.