Coast’s first Rockquest winners

Ben and Brody at the Smokefree Rockquest final. Photo, Josh Edmonds

Teenage duo Ben and Brody Glanfield of Stanmore Bay are Smokefree Rockquest winners, placing first in the solo/duo category at the online final last month.

They are believed to be the first musicians on the Hibiscus Coast to win the prestigious competition, although it has been going 30 years and the organiser’s records are unclear on the origins of previous winners.

The siblings, who placed third last year, also won the 2020 Best Song Award for Open Up; they write original material together and performed two songs in the final.

Normally the final is a live performance before an audience of hundreds, but this year due to Covid-19 gathering restrictions, it involved recording songs for an event that was later streamed, on September 24.

Brody says they were grateful that the final went ahead, because at first it was unclear what could be done within the restrictions.

Ben says all finalists recorded their music in an Auckland film studio as well as doing photo shoots and interviews. “It was a totally different experience from last year, and still really fun,” he says.

The judges on the night were Jeff Newton of NZ on Air; ZM Creative Director Ross Flahive; Heidi Ettema of Mushroom Music Publishing; Hamish Jackson, NZ Rockshop, and musicians Elizabeth Stokes (The Beths), and Julia Deans.

Ross Flahive describes Ben and Brody as “the whole package”.

“Their songs are well structured with catchy hooks, nice harmonies and well thought out lyrics. Their performance reflects an act that is ready to go,” Ross says.

Ben and Brody found out they were the winners while watching the final online. “It was quite shocking and exciting!” Ben says.

“We are over the moon,” Brody says, “and so proud to be representing the Hibiscus Coast.”

Brody, 17 and Ben, 15, get to record both the original songs they sang in the final – Open Up and Fire Called Love – as their prize, as well as making a music video.

The competition is open to high school-age students and as Brody will no longer be at college next year, Ben plans to enter the next Smokefree Rockquest as a soloist.

Brody will focus on music development programmes and live performance after she leaves school.

The pair will continue to write music and perform together, and have a busy summer ahead including playing at a number of weddings and also at the Ōrewa Surf Sounds concert.

“We just want to get as much of our music out there as we can,” Ben says.

Musical successes from past Smokefree Rockquests include Broods, Kimbra, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Tiny Ruins, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Aldous Harding, Phoenix Foundation, Devilskin, The Black Seeds and Bic Runga.


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