Gin Wigmore was a teenager when her song 'Hallelujah' beat off 11,000 budding stars, to win the 2005 International Songwriting Contest, making her the youngest Grand Prize winner in the competition's history. The achievement caught the eye of Universal Motown Records in the US, who signed the raspy-voiced Wigmore in 2008 and released debut EP Extended Play. Back on Kiwi soil the following year, the singer-songwriter released jaunty hit 'Under My Skin', and teamed up with Smashproof for the record-breaking 'Brother'. Wigmore's 2015 album Blood to Bone was her third to top the NZ Music Charts.
Kiwi women have long held their own when it comes to songwriting. From a 17-year-old Shona Laing performing her self-penned ‘1905‘ on Studio One’s New Faces, to Bic Runga becoming the youngest inductee into the NZ Music Hall of Fame; from the 80s girl power of Sharon O’Neill, to the chutzpah of Anika Moa and Gin Wigmore. They know a chorus from a coda — in this spotlight we reflect on songs and songstresses that have found their way into Kiwi hearts.
The unlikely combination of 1930s Hollywood and a Kiwi town hall knees up work delightfully in this clip from Australian production luminaries Straighty180. Wigmore's croaky charms are augmented by crowd-sourced choreography, and the most delicate of ukulele performances from a burly strummer gets the dance-floor moving. Lovely!
Chart-topper 'Brother' is about Smashproof's South Auckland neighbourhood, and how the hip hop trio want it to change — crime and violence are not the only options. It's an urgent message, delivered via a powerful, Tui award-winning drive-by video from music video director Chris Graham. The clip made it into mainstream news media for a scene bluntly inspired by a high profile incident, where a businessman stabbed a young tagger. Singer-songwriter Gin Wigmore features during the chorus. 'Brother' broke local chart records, after spending eleven weeks at number one.
Joel Kefali has made music videos for everyone from Lorde to Katy Perry, and scored a run of awards in the process. Kefali began directing music videos during a seven year partnership with Campbell Hooper, under the moniker Special Problems. Beginning in 2007 the duo created distinctive videos for The Mint Chicks, Kimbra, Gin Wigmore and The Naked and Famous, before expanding into shorts and commercials — including an eye-opening HP advert featuring American singer Alicia Keys. Kefali's video for Lorde's first single 'Royals' has been watched online more than 680 million times.
Mitchell Hawkes' list of directing credits ranges from The X Factor to The Hard Stuff with Nigel Latta. His event directing skills have gained him a go-to reputation for covering high profile concerts, music awards and comedy galas. In 2016 Hawkes formed company Ruckus Media with Nigel Latta and producer Arwen O’Connor. Their shows include live broadcast What Next? and award-winner Born This Way: Awa's Story.
Elam-trained Campbell Hooper and partner Joel Kefali have been staking a claim as NZ's music video-makers par excellence, since pooling their talents in 2007 under the moniker Special Problems. The duo have crafted distinctive promos for Kimbra, Gin Wigmore and Brooke Fraser, plus award-winners for The Naked and Famous. Their design house also makes commercials and short films (eg Tribeca-selected 43,000 Feet).
Arwen O’Connor, co-founder of production house Ruckus Media, wanted to get into TV from an early age. After turning her hand to a myriad of behind the scenes roles – runner, caterer and wardrobe assistant – the lightbulb moment came when she was offered a job as production manager on Ice TV. Production has been a perfect fit, as O'Connor carves out a successful career as a factual/documentary producer.