Modern soul singer Louis Baker is the first mentor up on TV2's Popstars tomorrow night - and he knows a thing or two about making a hit.
Baker's song Overdrive reached No 1 on the same day he mentored the 12 Popstars finalists earlier this year.
Other mentors in the Popstars' workshops include A-List Kiwi musicians Tami Neilsen, Laughton Kora, JessB, Sol3 Mio and Jeremy Redmore.
"I was ecstatic to hear the news while I was mentoring. It was such a nice surprise and felt like hard work paying off. When I told the contestants, Overdrive was No 1, they gave me warm applause," Baker tells Spy.
The Popstar wannabes are asked to write a letter to their younger selves in an incredibly moving session, says Baker.
"Wearing your heart on your sleeve and being vulnerable in that space isn't an easy place to be in. Sharing your truth takes guts and shows your strength and humanity."
The 32-year-old was left speechless after hearing the artists talk about their journeys. He says rising stars 21-year-old TJ Zimba, from Dunedin, and 16-year-old Skye Hine, from Tauranga, really stood out.
"They talked about their personal experiences of discrimination, racism, mental health and how they rose above the adversities, how they turned that energy into beautiful art," he said.
Baker says he enjoyed a reunion on the show also with an artist he relates to in his own work.
"I had already mentored Te Ara Pukeroa at Pao Pao Pao Between the Lines music competition on Maori TV and it was good to see him again."
"I see similarities with myself in the type of writer he is. He makes honest songs from the heart."
Baker's top two from the workshop he mentored are Auckland 20-year-old Christabel Williams, and Zimba once again turned his head.
"TJ for one. I think he's a good producer, he has great energy on stage, and a distinctive rap tone and secondly Christabel, she has such a mature and angelic voice that really cuts through. She will go far."