Moving to a small South Island town may seem an unusual path to music success, but for one emerging artist it has proven fruitful.
Michele Ducray may not be a household name yet but her star power is growing — last week the Wanaka-based singer/songwriter released her debut EP Throne of Mine.
The much anticipated release did not quite go as planned — Ducray was set to be interviewed and perform live on The Edge radio-station however was caught up in Friday’s bomb scare at Queenstown airport instead.
The release comes on the back of performing at two of New Zealand’s largest music festivals (Bay Dreams and Electric Avenue), growing airplay on nationwide radio stations, and being featured by Spotify and Apple Music.
She has also worked with some heavyweight music producers who have worked with artists including Dua Lipa, Pink and Rita Ora.
Ducray said growing up in Durban, South Africa, she was surrounded by song and dance that ‘‘ignited a flame’’ within her.
‘‘I’ve always been a creative story writer . . . and loved singing.
‘‘So it just worked out that I’d choose to be a singer-songwriter.
‘‘I’m extremely influenced by music — it has the power to change my entire mood so it was the only path I’ve ever wanted to be on.
She considers Christchurch her hometown, and moved to Wanaka at the start of the year to get away from big city life, falling in love with the area.
‘‘I initially wanted to move to Auckland for music.
‘‘But honestly, I’m doing way better here.
‘‘I feel more musically inspired.
‘‘I’m amongst nature and my head and mental health have just been so much clearer.’’
She also wanted to get away from the traffic and overcrowding.
‘‘It was either Wanaka or going back to Christchurch for my family and friends.
‘‘But I love the people and the environment here so much and am always up for a ski in winter.
‘‘So it’s a no-brainer for now.’’
Wanaka seems a far cry from the bright lights of the recording studio but Ducray said with so many digital platforms available to share work, and social media to connect with people, it was possible to build a music career from the resort town.
‘‘Something that lit a fuse in me recently was talking to an awesome industry executive who lives in Wanaka.
‘‘He told me it didn’t matter if you wanted to live in Wanaka, as everything is online these days anyway.
‘‘Live where you want, keep up the fight and never give up.’’