Three up-and-coming New Zealand musicians have been selected as finalists out of more than 100 entries in Spark Open Audition, each winning a one-on-one mentorship with world-class recording studio BIG FAN.
Emerging musicians were encouraged to post a ‘duet’ with a video of local rapper JessB on TikTok to enter the competition called Spark Open Audition, with three finalists getting the chance to perform on live radio in the hopes of winning a public vote.
The three finalists for Spark Open Audition are: Gibson Harris, 31, from Auckland; Niamh Crooks, 18, from Christchurch; and Noah Seuseu, 21, from Auckland. The finalists will today begin their one-on-one mentorship with Big Fan, the New Zealand recording studio backed by Joel Little, who has produced songs for artists such as Lorde and Taylor Swift.
JessB says she enjoyed going through the entries checking out how varied the different interpretations of her track were across the board.
“It’s an honour to have people put in so much effort to create their own vibe on my track.
“The three finalists really stood out to me in their own ways and I was impressed by the level of professionalism they all had, as well as their unique style that they each added.”
Spark Open Audition judge and BIG FAN Mentor, Noema Te Hau (Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Porou), says he was blown away by the talent displayed in the competition entries, which served as an encouraging reminder of the untapped musical talent to be discovered in Aotearoa.
“As a fan of the world of music, I already feel incredibly grateful to be a part of the Spark Open Audition.
“It was a joy to see so many incredible interpretations of JessB’s original track ‘Moment’ performed with such skill, taste, and conviction,” he says.
“Because of the sheer volume of very deserving submissions, it was by no means easy to select a top three. But that is a testament to how incredible the selected mentees are.”
Noema says, “The three finalists are all so talented and I can’t wait to see where they go with access to BIG FAN and our mentors.
“Gibson’s submission showed incredible musicality and performance skills, with a melodic and rhythmic flow that fits seamlessly with the backing arrangement and JessB’s hook.
“Niamh has a soft modern pop-singer songwriter vocal tone that was quite different to other entries, and her entry felt authentic and full of potential.
“Noah’s stitch not only fits the original track, but even enhanced it further with a tasteful vocal production and arrangement.”
Spark’s Director of Marketing and Data, Matt Bain, says Spark Open Audition is all about using the power of technology to help New Zealanders go after the things that matter most to them.
“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.
“We’re thrilled that we can now support the artists who, one day, could be selling out Spark Arena themselves through Spark Open Audition and I can’t wait to see how far they progress from day one of their mentorship, to the live show later this month.
“Driven by our guiding kaupapa of Hello Tomorrow, which uses technology as the vehicle to unleash an Aotearoa that’s full of possibilities, Spark Open Audition is all about supporting musically talented New Zealanders to harness their creativity and kickstart their career in music.
“Because we know that when you feel you have a chance today, it changes how you see tomorrow.”
- ENDS –
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 begin their BIG FAN mentorships on Friday, 3 November, with on-air radio performances at the ZM studio going live on Thursday, 23 November.
- The public vote which will decide the ultimate winner of the competition will open on Friday, 3 November via Spark’s website at www.spark.co.nz/hellotomorrow and Thursday, 23 November via ZM.
- The winner will be announced on Tuesday, 28 November.
- Spark Open Audition Terms and Conditions can be found at www.spark.co.nz/hellotomorrow.
More information on the three 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 at https://www.tiktok.com/@gibzworldofficial/video/7288872808304708865.
Niamh Crooks, 18, Christchurch
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 at https://www.tiktok.com/@niamhcrooksmusic/video/7289394501779557633?q=sparkopenaudition&t=1697224608534.
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 at https://www.tiktok.com/@noahseuseuofficial/video/7291176541315206418.