From touring with Sir Howard Morrison and Dame Malvina Major, to her favourite movies and "go to" songs, Lizzie Marvelly has given students a rare insight into herself and the music industry ahead of her Rotorua concert.

The singer, writer and columnist spoke frankly and openly about the business that has been a major part of her life at a Q&A session with music students at Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic's Rotorua campus today.

About 30 students, who were not at all shy in asking questions of the former Rotorua woman, attended the session along with polytech music tutors Ben Wilcock and David Grindley.

Marvelly said she wanted to give back to her hometown before embarking on a short tour of the nation starting in Rotorua on September 16.


Her "The 10 Years Tour" marks 10 years since she took to the stage at age 16 with Sir Howard and Dame Malvina on their The Knight With A Dame tour.

"You have to be tough, you have to have a really thick skin and you have to be tenacious," she told students.

When asked about performing on stage she said musicians needed to have a good rapport with their audience.

"When I'm on stage I'm up there with my friends in the band, but I think the easiest idea is to talk about the song you are going to sing because it's what you know and love."

She said her "go to" song was Tarakihi as it was one of her personal favourites and always made an impact on stage.

She also said, contrary to popular belief, being able to read and write music was still important.

"It's about the building blocks and gives you a deeper understanding."

Now that her career had taken a turn to social activism she said her goals had changed.

"I went into music really green, now because I know how it all works, my goals are just to write good songs and do good shows.

"It's now more about personal success rather than external success."