When Julia Turner watched newsreels of war she imagined how she would feel if it was her brother lying bloodied and bandaged on a stretcher. Now the singer-songwriter has penned a tribute song on the horrors of war that will be released at Te Papa on the centenary of the outbreak of World War I.
Soldiers has been offered to planners of WW100 - New Zealand's World War I centenary programme - to become the official song. Turner described it yesterday as a homage to all Kiwis who served on foreign battlefields, and those who stayed behind.
"War is a very hard thing to comprehend," the Auckland musician said. "I had no way of personally saying thank you to those who fought, those who came home, those who didn't, and those who attend memorial services too, because they keep their memories alive."
The song has been produced by New Zealander Greg Haver, who has worked with top international acts, including the Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia and Super Furry Animals.
A music video featuring original Great War footage projected onto the screen of the Vic Theatre in Devonport, has also been released.
Turner hopes the song will strike a chord with the "many young people who go to war memorial services".
Turner will officially launch Soldiers at an event at Te Papa on August 4 - the centenary of Britain declaring war on Germany.
Her manager, Deane McIntyre, is also in discussions with Auckland War Memorial Museum to have it performed there the following day. And it has been submitted to NZ On Air for its monthly "Kiwi Hit Disc" - a 28-track compilation of new releases by New Zealand artists sent to radio stations.
Turner has also offered to play it free at any WW100 events across the country over the next four years.
Mr McIntyre said she was an "incredible talent and this is a labour of love".
"There's a lot of war songs out there but they are all very old fashioned - this is a genuine thank you from all young people."
On the web
Watch a video of the song at: tinyurl.com/juliaturnersoldiers.