Two young North Otago songwriters are continuing to put in the hard yards to make their mark in the music industry.
Emma-Kate Newlove and Mads Harrop both have new singles out.
Harrop’s was released on Spotify in July and Newlove’s will be out next Friday.
Newlove’s song Daisy came to her quickly during the recent Alert Level 4 lockdown, she said.
“It’s kind of about when two people meet and they really connect, but it’s like the right person, wrong timing, sort of thing.”
The 22-year-old released a seven-song EP, Station 7, in June last year, following the first lockdown, and it had more than 11,000 streams, she said.
She produced Station 7 herself, but for Daisy, had some help from a friend, Dean Oxford, in Auckland.
“So, it’s really cool, because he actually knows what he’s doing, where I kind of like DIYed my EP. And so, it’s probably one of my favourite songs that I’ve done, just because he’s made it sound so good,” she said.
“It sounds so simple, but when you sit down to do it yourself, it’s quite hard if you don’t know what you’re doing.
“It saves me so much time as well, because people who know what they’re doing can do it quite quickly, and he did, because we were in lockdown, so he smashed it out in a day and sent it over.”
To pay the bills, Newlove worked at Scotts Brewing Co. She also received a minimal amount, “about 20 cents or something”, when one of her songs was streamed on Spotify.
Between lockdowns, she had still been writing songs, but had not recorded much.
“I guess coming into this lockdown gave me a reason to actually motivate myself to record something and put something out there.”
In the near future, she hoped she could do a few live gigs, and was saving up to buy a good speaker system.
“Also, I really do want to record more music. I also want to find producers who can help me with that … then I can get to do what I love, and then somebody else gets to do what they love too, which is cool.”
Harrop, a third-year music student at Otago University, released her song Lying in Circles in July. It had received positive feedback, and more than 1700 streams on Spotify so far.
Lying in Circles was inspired by the 1970s Auckland punk scene and also British band the Sex Pistols, she said.
The 21-year-old had her father, musician Steve Harrop, to thank for her exposure to a variety of music.
“He has introduced me to a lot of great music. And a lot of the music that he’s introduced me to has kind of shaped me into the musician that I am today,” she said.
“My style is quite, like, a big variety of genres. I play punk stuff and also play songs in a rock kind of style, and I also really like psychedelic sort of music.”
Her music was mostly recorded and produced at her father’s Kurow-based recording studio, Studio Sublime.
As with Newlove, last year’s lockdown led to an EP release for Harrop, with the three-song Contagious World hitting streaming platforms in May 2020. The title track went on to reach No 1 on the New Zealand student radio music charts. Her follow-up single Time, had received more than 7000 streams.
Harrop was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome in her first year at university, and her experiences in dealing with the challenges this presented was inspiration for some of her work.
Tourette’s is a neurological disorder that can be characterised by repetitive, involuntary movements as well as vocalisations, called tics.
“A lot of my songs are about my experiences with Tourette Syndrome, autism and anxiety,” she said.
“One of my recent songs, it hasn’t been released yet, called Lost for Words, is inspired by an experience I had with my Tourette’s.
“I was exhibiting the swearing tic, and I was about to go on the bus, and the bus driver didn’t know and just thought I was swearing and I got told off for it. At the time it made me feel really sad, and that’s what the inspiration was.
“It’s probably the only pro I get, is possible inspiration for new songs.”
Harrop said she was often having to “explain herself” but once people knew she had Tourette’s they understood.
“It’s just very, you know, frustrating and upsetting.
“You know that feeling when people get grumpy with you because you’ve done something wrong, but you know you haven’t.”
For now, Harrop wanted to “keep making music, keep writing songs”.
She would be releasing her second EP later in the year, as part of her university assessment, and hoped to follow that up with an album.
“Just keep the songs pumping.”
Lockdown had delayed a recording project Harrop had scheduled in Dunedin for August. She said the sudden announcement of this lockdown had made her quite anxious and she made a quick decision to return to her parents’ home in Kurow, rather than remain in Dunedin.
“I think that was a really good decision that I made.”
Harrop was hoping to pick up some live gigs over the summer, and eventually would love to take her music overseas. She and the Mads Harrop Band supported Australian band The Chats at their July concert in Dunedin, which had been a great opportunity for them.
Newlove said people could support the women and their music, just by streaming the songs.
“It’s really hard to get into the Spotify algorithm if no-one plays it … but the more people play your song, the more that Spotify notices that it’s being played and the more they’ll chuck it into random people’s