ZARA: Demo Recording at Crescendo

15-year-old Zara from Mangere is a former mentee student in Crescendo’s Te Ara (The Way) programme. A talented up and coming artist, Zara grew up watching and listening to a lot of old-school hip hop and rappers like Eminem, Tupac and Biggie. Her brothers and sisters are 15 years older and shared their era of hip hop which has influenced Zara’s love of rap. 

She hails from South Auckland and attends Aorere College where she enjoys acting, music and drama. But music has always been Zara’s number one passion and had dreams to go to music school. One day the stars aligned and she found Crescendo online and the rest is history! 

Rangatahi Recording Artist Zara

Like all good things worth waiting for, her music journey has been challenging at times with having to juggle school work and travelling long distances to get to the studio. But with hard work and persistence, today Zara is recording her demo and being mentored by Dave Atai:

“I think because I’ve always worked on my music alone, collaborating with the other people during Te Ara programme taught me how to take risks in my music and try different things, like considering what other people would do rather than just what I would do. I learnt to collaborate with others.”

Dave Atai, Crescendo’s Lead Mentor and award-winning musician from Nesian Mystic is Zara’s favourite music producer. They are working together to record her demo and will then start recording single tracks with the goal to get exposure in the New Zealand music industry.

“I specifically asked to work with him on my demo. When I first joined Crescendo’s Te Ara programme, he made me feel so comfortable. And because I sometimes stick to myself rather than spend time with others, Dave was a very nice person to be around, so I asked him to be my producer on my songs and he agreed.”

Zara is self-aware and describes herself as an introvert that comes across as an extrovert. I’m sure many of us would relate to that. She enjoys spending time with her close friends and hanging out at home. Zara can often be found in her own bubble making music. It’s an important part of who she is and has helped her to express herself. 

At the time of our chat in the Avondale studio she had finished her demo recording and was moving onto mixing and mastering. She’s focussed on finding her unique vibe then aiming to release singles every couple of months. 

As a Play It Strange winner, Crescendo Studio is not the only one Zara has worked in. She has experienced recording at larger studios but enjoys Crescendo’s home-away-from-home atmosphere. 

“Everyone is down-to-earth and the team are really approachable and professional.”

Wellbeing is an important part of the Crescendo youth programmes and Zara wanted to share this with other young people considering the programme:

“We did a lot of wellbeing exercises and it was kind of awkward for me at first, but I found it helped me focus through the lesson better.”

A true creative with her passion for music and drama studies Zara is committed to pursuing a career in the creative industries. She is learning not just about music but also the business side of being part of the New Zealand music industry. That surprised her, the depth and broad nature of the knowledge required to thrive as professional musician.

“Dave and Crescendo’s programme in general made me realise that if I want to be a musician, I have to know about the business side of the industry. I know all about the creative side, like recording and releasing music, but I had a lot to learn about the business.”

Zara is a rising star and it’s an absolute pleasure for the team at Crescendo to be involved in her journey and to watch her grow personally and professionally. Before finishing up she shared some words for other young people that may be interested in joining Crescendo’s music mentoring and wellbeing programmes.

“Take some risks and don’t just stick to what you know – that’s how we grow”

Such a mature soul for her sweet 15 years on the planet! We are looking forward to seeing what the future brings for Zara. 

Zara’s demo Pøison YKHTSG is out now on Youtube and Soundcloud. Enjoy and marvel at her creativity. 

If you’re interested in starting your music journey with Crescendo, check out Te Urunga programme and enrol here!