Influences such as Frank Sinatra, The Beatles and Bruno Mars have helped Shirley Boys’ High School’s Gideon Valavala to top of the pops at Smokefreerockquest.
The year 13 student was judged best vocal performance at the competition; an accolade he hopes could help springboard a career in music.
Gideon’s Shirley BHS band Fuzhun also came up trumps at Rockquest, winning the Pacific Beats category best song award for their original track Champion Sound.
Singer/songwriter Gideon, 17, has been passionate about singing since he first began singing at his church, Assemblies of God in Bromley, as a child.
“I grew up in church and every chance I had when they would sing songs, I would sing along,” he said.
The band was started when music teacher Brad Bates suggested the boys work
together to gain music credits for NCEA.
“They came up with the idea of bringing together a band and I thought okay I’ll join and have some fun and then people really started to like our sound,” said Mr Bates.
When asked about the songwriting process, Gideon said it’s sometimes a group effort but a lot of the lyrics are written by himself. The winning song champion sound was written by Gideon in a day, right before the heats for the regional Smokefreerockquest in Canterbury.
Gideon hopes to pursue with singing in the future, whether it be becoming a solo artist, progressing as a band with Fuzhun after high school or travelling around with his church band.
Inspiration for his songs is gained from a variety of artists and music he listens to.
“I listen to all sorts of artists, it doesn’t faze me what I listen to, it gives me a lot of ideas for what I can use for our band. It could be anything from old school music like James Brown, Queen, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra or new school people like Bruno Mars and hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole,” he said.