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Announcing the Winners of Round One for the SoundRise Project 2018

Our second year of the SoundRise Project in collaboration with MAINZ, the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand, has just kicked off!

The SoundRise Project gives young Kiwi artists the unique chance to showcase their music to the world. Students are encouraged to submit their own original track from one of five genres outlined by Fusion Entertainment to Radio Teapot (the MAINZ-run radio station), before a panel of judges chooses the top five tracks.

These top tracks will be loaded onto Fusion’s StereoActives before being distributed to Fusion’s salespeople and retailers all around the world – with these grassroots artists tracks likely to be heard in at least 42 countries! It is all part of Fusion’s aim to showcase great New Zealand music to the world.

The winner of each round also receives their own StereoActive, along with the chance to win the overall trophy and cash prize at the end of the year.

Just like last year, Round One was packed full of talent, with a range of excellent submissions making deliberation difficult once again. Listen to the finalists here, and read on to see more about this round’s talented young artists!

Aiko Hey – The Rabbit Hole

A 17-year-old from West Auckland, Aiko is a singer/songwriter and mental health advocate who uses her music to express herself, heal and cope with intense emotions, while painting a picture of how life looks from her perspective. As well as studying at MAINZ, she is working on an album and has released songs on Bandcamp and Youtube under the name “Aiko and the Cherubs”. Inspired by the story of Alice in Wonderland, The Rabbit Hole is a song deeply personal to Aiko about navigating life with mental illness and trying to make sense of the madness in isolation, while longing for change and to live out her dreams.

Avya Grace and Masze – You Were Never Here

The talented combination of soulful singer-songwriter Avya Grace and upcoming producer Mazse has created an electronica ballad with soulful vocals in You Were Never Here. With a passion for performance, Avya Grace has played at countless venues, and hasn’t stopped writing music over the last decade! Her range of delicate vocals and heartfelt lyrics complements Mazse’s artistic and experimental style, who is dedicated to evolving all-new soundscapes in all genres from electronic to hip-hop.

DJ Switch – Grand Gesture

An Auckland local, DJ Switch has been involved with music for his whole life. Usually opting for the guitar, DJ Switch also enjoys producing music using Logic Pro X, which is how Grand Gesture was created.

Hollow Puppet- Tear Pt.1

Formed in 2017, this Auckland-based rock band consists of Aaron Simpson, Alexei Wraasky, Tristan Jacks and Nathaniel DuFresne. A combination of hard-hitting progressive metal and old school classic rock, this band’s sound takes influence from Tool, Led Zeppelin, Porcupine Tree and Tesseract. An opening track of their upcoming self-produced E.P Messiah, Tear Pt.1 features loud, aggressive guitar and melodic vocal work to tell the story of a broken man coming to terms with himself.

Round 1 Winner:
Manu Francois – The Forest

Originally from Saint Lucia in the Caribbean, Christchurch-based Manu Francois has emerged onto the popular music scene with a splash. His first single “Ain’t Over Yet” certainly created a buzz in the Christchurch music scene before the release of his debut album “Check It”. His winning song “The Forest” is a dialog between two lovers, featuring a great range of emotive aspects from deep bass to trilling melodies, ambient spaces to bass drum thumping and a bit of a dance groove. With 2018 also bringing a new, emotive musical album titled “Release”, due to hit stages, radio stations and screens later this year, Manu Francois is one to watch!

With the depth of talent we’ve seen already this year from the students at MAINZ, we can’t wait to see what Round Two brings!

Listen to Round One’s finalists here.