Wakatipu High School (WHS) singer-songwriter Jack Speedy won a highly-commended award and came close to making the national final in the Smokefreerockquest competition.
The year 13 country rocker was one of only two solo-duo acts in the nation to be highly commended and finished just outside the top three chosen to contest the Rockquest national finals in Auckland next month.
After winning the solo-duo category at the Central Otago regional final in mid-June — one of six WHS acts to win or place — Jack submitted a video of himself performing three original songs for national judging.
The 17-year-old’s chuffed with his efforts, which put him in the top five high school acts in the country for his category, from the hundreds that entered.
‘‘I’m very happy and satisfied with myself to have made it this far.’’
Jack says he takes inspiration from the ‘man in black’ Johnny Cash and Canadian folk blue-grass four-piece Dead South to ‘‘lean quite hard into the country genre’’.
He says the school’s support ‘‘has been brilliant’’.
‘‘We’ve got a large music and arts department, especially in comparison to other schools in New Zealand, and it really helps facilitate the
kind of music environment where people can achieve what they want to … and make stuff.’’
Meantime, Mount Aspiring College’s Spoken was chosen as one of seven bands to make the Rockquest NZ final, being held at the Q Theatre on September 16.