Finding her voice
There was a new face at the Te Puke Country Music Awards when Gisborne youngster, nine-year-old Amarah Cameron, took the stage.n
“I felt nervous and a little excited all at the same time,’ she said. “ But once I started singing, I felt comfortable and confident.”
Amarah took second place for the junior category, despite her nerves, and tied for the encouragement award out of all entries for her rendition of Daddy’s Little Girl by The Shires.
Over 170 entrants sang in the competition.
“She did fantastic. She is going to be an up-and-coming star. She blew the crowd away. She has such a lovely voice,” said Geoff Mutton, secretary of Te Puke Country Music Club.
One of the secrets to her success is the long drive from Whatatutu to her school Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Hawaiki Hou on Gladstone Road.
“I usually practise a new song as much as I can until I know it by heart. We travel 30 minutes to school each day, so I usually practise in the car a few times.”
Amarah’s aunt Rawinia Gordon, an accomplished country singer herself, introduced the nine-year-old to country music, said Armarah’s mother, Bobbie Cameron.
“Over the years, many whanau from where we come from at Whatatutu have participated in country music and done well. Mangatu Magic, a well-known trio, are all koro to Amarah.”
Amarah said the competition, although nerve-racking, was an excellent excuse to try on new clothes and learn things from other singers.
“I enjoy listening to other people sing and finding new songs to sing. I also like dressing up and finding new outfits to wear.
“It makes me feel really good — excellent.”
The competition had 17 categories, including western, gospel, traditional, country rock and songwriting.
There were plenty of other fantastic singers from Gisborne.
Rawinia Gordon won senior female, traditional and was runner-up in western.
“Rawinia is amazing. She’s got one of the best voices in the country. Gisborne has one of the best clubs in the country,” said Mr Mutton.
Rawinia and Hope Brown singing as Mangatu Harmony won the duo/group category.
Whata Brown won the highest points for the gospel and Charmaine Puriri was runner-up in the traditional section.
Now the competition is over, Amarah said she wants to keep singing and
get more in the community singing with her.
“I want to keep singing so that I can get better at it and challenge myself. I love singing, and country music has helped me to learn about different techniques.
“I am really lucky that I have talented whanau members who support me to sing and perform.
She said there were not many children her age in the Gisborne Country Music Club and she hoped others would become interested.
“It is a lot of fun and everyone is really supportive and encouraging.”