Singer holds special concerts to honour soldiers

TALENT: Three retirement villages in the city will be in for a treat when Rebecca Nelson performs songs from her new album Poppies & Pohutukawa.

A rising star in the music industry will release a special remembrance album for those who lost their lives as a result of war.

Rebecca Nelson, 29, will release her new album Poppies & Pohutukawa next week.

As the official singer for the Royal New Zealand Navy Band, Nelson said she has a lot of respect for the country’s Defence Force.

Three city retirement villages will be some of the first to see Nelson debut her new album.

After years of perfecting her craft as a busker, the singer, who grew up in the Bishopdale/Harewood area, has been signed to Sony Music New Zealand by Scott Maclachlan, who managed singer-songwriter Lorde.

It was Nelson’s experience in Turkey with the New Zealand Defence Force to commemorate the Gallipoli landing in 1915 that inspired her to create the remembrance album.

“All the songs on this album are really well-known ones that resonated with me or that I have sung at commemorations around the world,” Nelson said.

Nelson dedicated the title track, Poppies & Pohutukawa, to her great uncle Tom Nelson.

She said the song is special to her because her great uncle fought in the Battle of Passchendaele and is buried in Belgium.

Last year in France, Nelson performed the song for the 100-year commemoration of the Battle of Somme. Prince Charles was in the audience.

Her career first took off when she was thrown into busking as a 20-year-old after she moved to Ireland and lost her job due to the global financial crisis.

“I had kind of dabbled a little bit in the busking over there and I thought this is my chance to give it a go and I haven’t looked back,” she said.

She was soon discovered by musical group The Priests who took her on tour through Scotland and Ireland.

When Nelson moved back to New Zealand she joined the Royal New Zealand Navy Band.

•Nelson will perform at the Ngaio Marsh, Anthony Wilding and Essie Summers retirement villages next month. For more information on times and dates, go to