Niamh Crooks,18-year-old, Dunedin local has been voted by Aotearoa as the winner of Spark Open Audition, following a national competition encouraging some of New Zealand’s best emerging musicians to post a ‘duet’ with a video of homegrown rapper JessB on TikTok.
Performing live on ZM last Thursday alongside the two other Spark Open Audition finalists, Gibson Harris (Gibz) and Noah Seuseu, Niamh’s original song “Devotion” struck a chord with New Zealand and saw her come out on top.
“I was in total shock when I found I had won – it’s insane!
“I texted my mum, she called me back straight away and I just cried – she was just as stoked as I was and I’m just so grateful for the opportunity but also to everyone out there who took the time to give me a vote."
After being named as a finalist, Niamh received the opportunity of a one-on-one mentorship with world-class recording studio BIG FAN. Niamh says working with her BIG FAN mentor and having a chance to connect with finalists Gibz and Noah was invaluable.
“Getting the chance to work one-on-one with Edy from BIG FAN was a huge win in itself, as was collaborating with the other two finalists – they are both so talented and it was awesome to share such an incredible experience together.”
BIG FAN producer and mentor Edward Liu who was paired with Niamh says, “We’ve all witnessed the way technology has transformed the music industry and has become an essential tool for music artists and record labels to record music and broadcast it to their audiences.
“It’s great to see local talent in New Zealand doing the same.
“Niamh and I clicked pretty much instantly and I was extremely impressed and inspired by how quickly she worked.
“I would hum a melody and then moments later she'd already have the lyrics worked out.
“We bounced off each other for ideas regarding song concepts, and it was great to work with someone with such an open mind.
“I feel we made the most of the time and space provided by Spark & BIG FAN by finishing four songs instead of just one.”
Niamh has won $10,000 worth of prizes as the winner of Spark Open Audition to help accelerate her music career. This includes a Rockshop prize pack and studio time at BIG FAN to further hone her sound with the support of mentors dedicated to helping people fulfil their ambitions through music.
When asked what she’d do with the prize, she said: “I’m really excited to buy a new microphone and interface so I can record high quality music in my room and I’m super excited to get the chance to work with BIG FAN again so I can make more music.
“Tech has really changed the game when it comes to collaborating with other artists around the country and the world, which means we no longer have to be in the same room as them so I’m really looking forward to collaborating more with Edy and other artists further from my bedroom in Christchurch.”
Niamh is currently at the SOLE Music Academy in Christchurch and hopes to take her music career all the way using Spark Open Audition as a platform to pursue her passion for singing – one that started back when she was only two-years-old.
Spark’s Director of Marketing and Data, Matt Bain, says Spark is proud to be supporting artists like Niamh in kickstarting their career in music.
“We love helping New Zealanders go after the things that matter most to them, and as part of this we’ve been getting New Zealanders closer to the music they love for the last nine years with our money can’t buy VIP music experiences and our partnerships with Spotify and Spark Arena.
“It’s been great to take this to the next level with Spark Open Audition, particularly connecting emerging artists with local mentors and other creatives given the often-solitary nature of the music industry.
“We look forward to seeing where Niamh, Gibz and Noah go from here.”
Spark Open Audition has been an expression of Spark’s guiding kaupapa of Hello Tomorrow, which is all about using technology as the vehicle to unleash an Aotearoa that’s full of possibilities.
Notes to editor
- Entries for Spark Open Audition closed on Wednesday, 18 October 2023.
- A total of 101 entries were received between 7 October and 18 October.
- The three Spark Open Audition finalists began their BIG FAN mentorships on Friday, 3 November, with on-air radio performances at the ZM studio live on Thursday, 23 November.
- Public voting to decide the ultimate winner of the competition opened on Friday, 3 November via Spark’s website at www.spark.co.nz/hellotomorrow and closed on Monday, 27 November.
- Spark Open Audition Terms and Conditions can be found at www.spark.co.nz/hellotomorrow.
More information on the winner and finalists can be found below:
Niamh Crooks, 18, Dunedin
Niamh’s world revolves around music, a passion she’s been pursuing ever since she could talk. She loves writing lyrics and melodies which she sees as a main source of expression. Her goal in life is to be an artist who collabs with others to create music for everyone to hear. To help make her dream a reality, she recently moved from Dunedin to Christchurch to enrol in the SOLE Music Academy’s artist development programme. Earlier this year she released her sixth song ‘She’s Not Me’ – a collaboration with her fellow artist, Abby Wolfe – her first five songs being self-produced between the ages of 13 and 15-years-old. You can view Niamh’s Spark Open Audition entry here.
More information on the other two finalists can be found below:
Gibson Harris (Gibz), 31, Auckland
Gibz is an up-and-coming singer-songwriter, rapper, multi-instrumentalist and music producer of Māori descent based in Massey, West Auckland. He’s been pursuing his passion for music for the last 14 years, a part of his life which plays an important role in the make-up of his identity. Gibz is passionate about helping at-risk youth to get on the right track in life through music and has a goal to build a platform for himself that is big enough to be able to open doors for others. You can view Gibz’ Spark Open Audition entry here.
Noah Seuseu, 21, Auckland
Noah (Samoan descent) is one of 12 children who grew up in South Auckland and loves the ability music has to offer human experiences bringing joy, fulfilment, healing and closure to those who connect with it. He discovered his love for music in church drawing musical inspiration from southern gospel. Noah relishes the opportunities music provides for people to feel, be heard, relate, fall in love and reminisce. His goal is to make music his main source of income – to travel the world, work alongside his fellow artists and take his music to the highest level possible. Singing sessions are not an uncommon occurrence in his family as his vocal talent is shared with his other siblings. Noah released his second song called ‘Stacey’ earlier this year. You can watch Noah’s Spark Open Audition here.