There's always one person at school whose musical gift stands out.

Nadia Reid, among our very best singer-songwriters at a time when New Zealand is replete with superb singer-songwriters, was not that person.

She's still bitter about it.

"I auditioned for the special choir when I was in year 10 and I didn't make it in. It's something I've never been able to forget," she says, laughing. She laughs a lot, belying the image of the tortured, lovelorn figure you might expect from listening to her two exquisite albums, Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs and Preservation.

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But then,