I began playing and writing songs before I can remember. Inspired by the music that surrounded me as a young girl, I was often seen carrying around a playschool recorder to ‘lay down my tracks’.
Life was interesting with a Kiwi father who was Willie Nelson obsessed, and a Nana Mouskouri flavoured mother who was full blown Norwegian. I became increasingly frustrated when at 7 years old, my younger sister informed me that ‘all your songs sound like Coat Of Many Colours’ (By Dolly Parton). Pissed, I decided I had to start writing something a bit more original. Pen in hand, I wrote furiously through my primary school years until I finally won a competition at 15. The song I entered did not sound the slightest bit like Dolly Parton. It was in fact labelled Pop. I decided to write more pop songs; in the hopeful attempt that people might think I was cool. I became notorious for writing number 1 hits in my high school Maths class.
Unfortunately only one of these Math class songs would make the record. And it was not to be a number 1 hit much to the dismay of my new-found friends. It was, however, featured on The Great New Zealand Songbook (which I told them was much more of an honour anyway).
I think that New Zealand is a very special environment for cultivating young musicians. What is happening right now with the youth of New Zealand is very exciting. With people like Mike Chunn, the Play It Strange Trust, Rockquest, and NZ On Air, music is becoming as much a part of the New Zealand curriculum as Saturday rugby or netball. I think this is an exciting prospect, and I am proud to be at the forefront of this movement.
For me, music was something I could never escape and have always been transfixed by. It is the breath of life. With the encouragement of my family, and the support of wonderful people in this country, I have been given the opportunity to live out a dream that I’ve had since I was 7 years old. I am forever grateful for this.
Music has the power to speak of love, loss, forgiveness, anger, and allows us to feel understood. For at least three minutes of our grey lives.
And that is why music matters.
By Annah Mac