Year 12 Avcol student Leo Spykerman has won the Smokefree Rockquest APRA Lyric Award for 2020 - and his four-piece band, Ragaire, has taken out the top prize in the central Auckland division of the nationwide competition!
Smokefree Rockquest moved online this year, with performers submitting videos of their original songs. "The competition gives musicians an amazing opportunity to express themselves on stage and experience the New Zealand music industry in a way which can be quite hard to recreate outside of the competition," says Leo. "You get to play in front of hundreds of people which is such an exhilarating experience."
Winning the APRA Lyric Award for his song Close Your Eyes, See Again is the icing on the cake for the 16 year old bass player, who says composing songs is one of his favourite art forms. "Songwriting is such a versatile and unique way to express oneself. I write lyrics (mostly in brief blurbs to get random ideas down) almost every day - especially nowadays with lockdown boredom!" he says.
"The most satisfying aspect of writing is listening back to a rough demo you recorded at home and hearing all those riffs and pounding rhythms coming together, starting off as a simple idea and growing into something that makes you just want to get up and move."
Formed in 2017 with friends from Glendowie College, Leo's band draws inspiration from a diverse range of genres - particularly blues, psychedelic, grunge and alternative rock. They are well-seasoned performers and are looking forward to playing more gigs once it's safe to do so. "We also have some plans to record some of our jams to put up on Spotify over the summer so keep on the lookout!" says Leo.
Follow them here:
Finally, Leo has some words of wisdom for fellow students: "Don't hesitate to start a band of your own if you feel like doing so, even if you're a beginner! All you need is the passion - all the other stuff can be learnt along the way."