Chunn up kids I’m no Cowell

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Kiwi music heavyweight Mike Chunn won’t be Queenstown’s Simon Cowell when judging local teen talent tomorrow night. 

Chunn is scheduled to arrive today to be guest judge at the Ultimate Battle of the Musos 2010 final at X-it Youth Centre. 

Chunn – a founding member of 70s supergroup Split Enz – promises to celebrate the good points of contestants, instead of sticking the boot in like TV ogre Cowell. 

“I’ve been in their shoes. I’m not sure Simon Cowell’s ever entered a talent quest and had a judge tell him he sucked.” 

Chunn heads charitable trust Play It Strange, which encourages up-and-coming musos to explore their talent.
And he’s envious of the self-belief and opportunity which today’s youth have. 

“When I was a kid I didn’t believe I could be a pop star – it was a dream. But no one around me – apart from my parents, God bless them – seemed to think for one second that was a worthy cause. It was no different from being a world champion at marbles. But today it’s so different,” Chunn says. 

“Music is on fire in New Zealand and I’m sure that in Queenstown this week I’ll see young people that are so much more advanced than I was at their age – and I’m going to love it.” 

Chunn’s holding a workshop at Wakatipu High today for music students on what is required for success. 

“Today, if you want to be heard, there are lots of ears waiting for you. From there, with a lot of ambition and courage and a huge amount of stamina, you can go a long way.” 

A massive chunk of luck is also crucial, Chunn adds. 

Punters can dine with Chunn and hear tales of his colourful past and present work at Heritage Queenstown on Saturday at an X-it Youth fundraiser.