Sounds and styles of the fab five

As the Vodafone NZ Music Awards approach on November 1, we look at the varying faces - and styles - of local music, from dream pop to opera.

Mzwethu Ngubane aka Loui the Zu, singer/songwriter Chelsea Jade Metcalf from Watercolours with singer Zoe Fleury aka Zowie. Photo / Babiche Martens
Mzwethu Ngubane aka Loui the Zu, singer/songwriter Chelsea Jade Metcalf from Watercolours with singer Zoe Fleury aka Zowie. Photo / Babiche Martens

WHO? Loui the Zu
REAL NAME? Mzwethu Ngubane
WHY? MC, songwriter and producer, this 18-year-old is also a social media master, releasing various mixtapes, singles and EPs online since 2011. He recently released his first commercial single Fake Friends, and it is his song Smokers Lung that appears on the Unitec ad. Blessed with innate style, he is currently loving suits. Loui the Zu is a finalist in the Critics Choice Award, with Watercolours and Beach Pigs.
HE WEARS: Barkers "Huxley" suit jacket, $399.99, and pant $199.99.

WHO? Watercolours
REAL NAME? Chelsea Jade Metcalf
WHY? One of three finalists in the Critics Choice Award as part of the NZMAs, the winner of which will be announced at the Kings Arms in Auckland tonight. Chelsea Jade Metcalf describes her sound as dream pop, although she's trying to move away from anything too ethereal or "cute". One of the most effortlessly stylish local singers around, she performed at the Liam show at NZ Fashion Week last year, and often wears Ruby or Juliette Hogan.
SHE WEARS: Her own Opening Ceremony dress.

WHO? Zowie
REAL NAME? Zoe Fleury
WHY? Pocket rocket Zowie makes a statement with her on-stage and real-life style, reflecting her electro-pop sound - a preference for leather, brothel creepers and fun nails (when we meet she has wee Halloween characters on each finger). She released her album Love Demolition earlier this year, and is the new face of Cool Charm. Her music video for the song My Calculator, directed by Special Problems, is nominated for Best Music Video at the NZMAs.
SHE WEARS: Her own clothes, plus a studded crown and pink tips in her hair for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

WHO? Wendy Doyle
WHAT? Mezzo-soprano
WHY? Following singing lessons as a young girl, Wendy Doyle discovered her mezzo-soprano voice, which has seen her perform with the NBR New Zealand Opera in a variety of roles including Giovanna in the production of Rigoletto, and Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana. "I wanted to be a rock star!" she jokes. She explains that opera is more than just singing - it's performance and about learning languages too - and Doyle says it makes her a harsh critic of other singers. And while she will listens to opera to learn and inspire, she's not averse to pop music for pleasure. Doyle will appear in productions in the NBR New Zealand Opera's 2013 Season, being announced today.
SHE WEARS: Her own gown, often worn when she performs, although she mainly wears specially made costumes.

WHO? Whirimako Black
WHAT? Jazz, Maori and soul singer and songwriter
WHY? Singing in te reo Maori and English, Whirimako Black performs jazz and blues with soul. Releasing her first solo album in 2001, Whakatane-based Black has built a loyal fanbase, and her recent release, Te More with Richard Nunns, is nominated for Best Maori Album at the NZMAs.
SHE WEARS: The Carpenter's Daughter "Vionnet" silk dress, $345, and cut-out "Mia" tunic, $229.

- NZ Herald

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