Young Masterton singer Jerome Lopa has his sights set on the Australian music scene after being confirmed as a performer at Gizzy Day in Brisbane next March.
The Australian festival, which draws crowds of thousands of expatriate Kiwis together each year, especially those from Gisborne, is a celebration of New Zealand culture and is an opportunity for people to catch up with each other over live music and great food.
Jerome's mother Mereana said the opportunity to perform was set up after her nephew, living in Australia, showed organisers a video of Jerome singing.
"They just straight away got back to my nephew on the same day and said, we want that boy," Mrs Lopa said.
"It's pretty big for Jerome to get the opportunity to go over to Australia and get recognised for his music away from home.
"We're just hoping that something big could happen out of this, but even if it doesn't it's still an amazing opportunity."
Jerome, a 13-year-old Makoura College student, took an interest in learning music at age 5, when he would play around on his father's "kind of broken" ukuleles.
He is a talented singer with influences from Ed Sheeran, Stan Walker and Stevie Wonder, and is saving up for a loop pedal to add his newfound gift of beatboxing into his music.
For his half-hour set at Gizzy Day, however, he said he would stick to what he does best with an acoustic set.
He most recently performed at Wellington's Pasifika Festival, which he said was a "mean experience".
"It was just so good performing in front of a lot of people," he said. "It made me feel like just so overwhelmed, I just want to sing in front of everyone and make them happy."
Mrs Lopa said the whole family, including three siblings and two cousins, want to go over and support Jerome in his music. "We're just so ecstatic and excited. Bring on March 19, 2017 -- we've got a little while to get together all of our funds as a whanau and support our boy."
Jerome is also entering the Wellington Talent Quest next month.
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