Ruby Frost (Jane de Jong) is an Auckland singer-songwriter who counts Kate Bush and Bjork among her inspirations. Her big break came when she won MTV’s 42Unheard talent contest in 2009. Part of the prize package was a recording contract with Universal Music; and Volition, her first album, was released in June 2012. The daughter of Mark and Chris de Jong who run Parachute, the Christian music record label and festival, she was also a music reporter on TV2’s Erin Simpson Show and is one of the judges in the first New Zealand series of The X Factor.
'Odyssey' is the second single for Ruby Frost (a musical persona created by Auckland singer-songwriter Jane de Jong). With a wink and nod to the DIY craft aesthetic, director Veronica Crockford-Pound’s video presents West Auckland's Bethells Beach as an alien landscape inhabited by exotic, glitter-faced creatures. Accordingly the subject matter of this electro-pop odyssey is more of the space variety than Homeric; but, for all of the astral imagery, the journey in question is actually about de Jong rediscovering her creativity after difficult times.
From 2009 to 2013, The Erin Simpson Show was a staple of TVNZ’s after school programming. The magazine format took in interviews (including Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez), mini-soaps, competitions, social media and reports covering fashion, sport and entertainment. Presenter Erin Simpson hosted over 770 episodes, and was a familiar face to a generation of Kiwi kids. The show’s many reporters included actor Kimberley Crossman, singer Ruby Frost, rugby player Isaac Ross, and conservationist Nicola Toki. The show was produced by Whitebait TV (now Whitebait Media).
Thanks to NZ On Air's support, The X Factor gave New Zealand performers a primetime platform, created excitement and controversy and drew huge, committed audiences. Former Olympian Barbara Kendall explains why she enjoyed the Kiwi version of the show so much, and why one contestant in particular caught her attention. Then X Factor executive producer Andrew Szusterman shares how this "massive, massive show" came to New Zealand, and celebrates the distinct, Kiwi flavour it took on — one example being Stan Walker's judging style.
The first New Zealand final of The X Factor features emotional highs and lows, and judge's compliments aplenty. Three young singers made it through in 2013: Whenua Patuwai, Jackie Thomas and Benny Tipene. All would achieve NZ top three singles within weeks of the final. Among the highlights of the 95 minute special: Tipene's acoustic version of 'Hey Ya!', Patuwai's 'A Change is Gonna Come' and Thomas's emotional last number — not to mention the showstopping opening: Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky', featuring 13 finalists, an acrobat, and two dancers wearing mirrorball heads.
Before he became a chart-topping singer, Benny Tipene was a hopeful entrant on the first New Zealand series of global talent show The X Factor. For his audition in front of the panel of judges — including singers Stan Walker, Ruby Frost and Daniel Bedingfield — Tipene works his understated, folky magic on Outkast's 2003 party hit, 'Hey Ya'. It more than does the trick. Tipene would eventually come third; but he impressed enough to get signed by Sony Music and released a platinum selling solo album in 2013.