The winners of this year's Wellington Smokefreerockquest's solo/duo category were announced earlier this week with Kāpiti's Peyton Morete announced in second place.

The young singer-songwriter has been performing and writing songs since she was 9 and winning at Smokefreerockquest is not new for her.

However, because of Covid-19 the format changed this year with the regional part of the competition going online.

"I was really nervous about the new layout for Rockquest," Peyton said.

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"I'm a way better performer live than on camera and I was worried that my skills in live performances wouldn't show as well through the camera.

"Yet when I saw I came second I was super relieved and excited about having a shot at the next stage, especially because this is my last year being able to compete."

The year 13 Kāpiti College student has won a prize package from the Rockshop and will go into the national selection pool for the competition's national final which will be held live in Auckland on September 12.

Peyton has competed for the last eight years and has previously won awards for best song, best lyrics and best vocalist.

Peyton performed Twisted on this Love, a song about being hooked on someone you love.

"Whether it's a happy relationship or a toxic one, you're so committed and gone through so much you're twisted on the love.

"You don't know how to leave, even though you can see potential red flags. It's like you're addicted to them."

While the song has nothing to do with Peyton's life, her songwriting talent shines through with the emotional song written about experiences she has never had.

"The song has nothing to do with my life, I don't know where it came from, but I've always liked how the song goes so I chose to use it."

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Peyton has placed six out of the eight years she has competed, coming first four times.
To top it off, she also managed to make it into the top 10 at nationals for the solo/duo category last year, the first time she has reached that stage.

After initially being nervous about filming herself and posting it on YouTube for the judges to see, she is glad that the competition went ahead, especially as it is her last year being eligible to enter.

"It was pretty easy to do and was a great alternative to do instead of just cancelling the event.

"However, even though the process was simple and I did well, I still would have loved to perform live."

Helena Cvitanovich from Hutt Valley High School who performs under just Helena came first in the category.

The competing bands in the region are currently in the process of submitting their video entries and being judged.

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The winners will be announced on August 7 along with the Musicianship Award, Best Song, Best Vocal, Rockshop Electronic Assistance Award, APRA Lyrics Award, and the ZM Best Song.

Smokefreerockquest founder and director Pete Rainy said at the regional level some entrants are already demonstrating the stand out factor that may see them achieve music career success.

"It's fascinating for us to look back at success stories like Kimbra, Marlon Williams, and Broods where we could see the star factor right back at the regional level.

"Each event gives a new cohort of bands the opportunity to take their obsession with music and develop the organisational and stagecraft skills that will help them become another Kiwi music success."

The top regional bands and solo/duos submit new footage for selection as finalists to play off at the Smokefreerockquest national final in Auckland on September 12, with the Smokefree Tangata Beats national final held the night before on September 11.

Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest include Broods, Marlon Williams, Drax Project, Six60, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Tiny Ruins, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Nadia Reid, Phoenix Foundation, Kimbra, The Black Seeds, Bic Runga and many more.

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