Queenstown ‘Songstars’ finalists revealed


Queenstown original music competition Songstars is back for its fourth instalment with many homegrown talents in the final 10. 

Familiar local faces Isla and Finley Brentwood, Joe Cowie, Tania Carter, Tai Forrester and Thomas Brinsley alongside five recent arrivals to town have made the cut for the three-night stage show. 

The artists put themselves at the mercy of the audience who decide the three first place-getters each night – the overall winner gets a trip to Auckland with Kiwi music hotshot Mike Chunn to record.

Tickets for the shows on March 27, 28 and 29 are $40 – or $20 for those under 16 – and go on sale tomorrow at iSite.

Joe Cowie
From Winton, spent 10 years in Australia, until “the Wairua of the area, the sense of place, the family history and the laidback vibe of the locals all conspired to draw me back”. Music and arts scene shaker and mover, freelance musician/DJ/MC/writer and Maori history tour guide. NZ Music Award nominee, once worked in a factory dipping metal into chemicals for gold plating. Reluctantly admits he once owned Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer albums.

Siblings Isla and Finley Brentwood: true Queenstowners, amazing har-
monies. Professional thespians who are sometimes spotted busk-
ing locally. Aged seven months, Isla debuted as a stunt baby in Willow. Finley once worked in a Shotover Canyon Swing ice cream truck.

Tania Carter
Born Invercargill, but moved to Queenstown as part of a “long-term plan to live in paradise”. The face behind women’s clothing shop d t carter, Tania donned naughty underwear for Chicago last year. Tania has two sons, one of whom inspired her song.

Thomas Brinsley
Born Rotorua to artistic folks. Got here as an infant, regular in local music and theatre. So shy as a kid he’d turn photographs around so they weren’t look at him. Claims to dream in cartoon. Real estate agent by day, strangest job was as a Popsicle and dancing on a truck.

Harry James
Backpacker who travelled from Christchurch to audition on a whim. Of Welsh stock, he once drank urine from a beer bottle at a fest-
ival to prove there was no urine in it, only to be proved wrong. Plans to stick to busking. Strangest job was teaching Tibetan monks guitar.

Tai Forrester
Fourth generation Stewart Islander. Settled in Queenstown music scene. Strangest job was at Stew-
art Island’s South Seas Hotel where “a crayfish buys you a beer, 5 o’clockers spin the same yarn every day and sometimes Mr Policeman needs a helping hand to get home”.

Margaret Amor
Ex-New Plymouth, came here to follow “HAGRID” (H-honest A-awe-
some G-good looking R-reliable I-intelligent D-darling!). Primary school reliever, considers it best job in the world. Represented NZ in surfing at 16. Brings pride and love of Maori culture into her songs. 

Peter Caulton
Born in Gisborne, came Queenstown with family on holiday. Returned years later in a house bus and has considered it home ever since. Considers his greatest accomplishment “not playing 10 guitars for over 30 years”. Professional musician.

Erin Crowley
Born Timaru, considers whole South Island home. Once landed a job at a scuba shop in Malaysia for accommodation, rice packs and a dive course. Now makes a living as a musician and considers her decision to follow her heart her greatest pride.

Jake Channer
Born Cornwall, grew up in Man-chester. Travelled four years in Asia and Australasia. Bartender at Vinyl Underground, proudest moment is climbing up and down Mt Kinablu, Borneo. Once had “hair down to my ass”, proudly claims he can swear in German, Swedish and Italian.