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Brayden Jeffrey: Atomic

Each year the University of Auckland's School of Music holds a songwriter competition with contestants drawn from their Popular Music courses, this year there are five contestants and Elsewhere is pleased to be able to offer them the chance to answer our Famous Elsewhere Songwriter Questionnaire.

Every year the show sells out so bookings are advisable ( All five contestants will perform two original songs with their band. The generous prizes are $1,000 of MusicWorks product, from MusicWorks, for the winner plus four finalist awards of $200 each of MusicWorks product, a mixed and recorded single at Roundhead Studios, mastering of the recorded single by KOG Studio, produced by Godfrey De Grut and promotion of the single by Kiwi FM.

Five additional awards will also be announced including NZ Music Commission Best Vocalist, APRA Best Arranger, MusicWorks Best Instrumentalist, Mushroom Music Publishing Best Lyricist and NZ On Air Best Song, acknowledging the highest quality in each category.

The judging panel includes Vicky Blood (artist Manager for Gin Wigmore, ex-BMG UK), Don McGlashan (artist, The Mutton Birds) and Jason Huss (Roundhead Studios engineer).

We introduce to you Brayden Jeffrey who is working in the genre of lyrical blues-rock. Playing with bizarre caricatures and larger-than-life metaphor, he writes songs about young love and simple moments with a mix of schoolboy naivety and utter sarcasm. Having been writing songs and performing onstage since he was a young boy, Brayden is a passionate performer who believes it’s the stage where his music really comes to life. “When I write, I write with how the song will look and feel onstage in my mind. That’s my ultimate goal as a writer and performer”.

The first song which really affected you was . . .

‘The Chain’ by Fleetwood Mac. I remember watching a live DVD of them when I was younger and just being hooked as soon as that song started. I just wanted to be Mick Fleetwood on the drums

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

Last year I said My Chemical Romance but looking even further back I had a big think for Shania Twaine. I saw a clip of one of her concerts where she entered the venue on a jet ski.

The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?

Jack White. And he has disappointed me. I still get excited.

As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; kd lang or Katy Perry; Madonna or Michael Jackson; Johnny Cash or Kris Kristofferson?

Lennon-McCartney, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . . .

Arabella - Arctic Monkeys, Elephant - Damien Rice, Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide - David Bowie

Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?

It’s generally whatever comes first comes first. I tend to write chronologically though, section by section, so I like to have all the lyrics and music for a section first before I move onto the next one.

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Scar Tissue - Anthony Kiedis

If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . .

Alex Turner

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

The Golden Echo - Kimbra

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .

Seven Nation Army

One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is . . .

‘What came first, the chicken or the dickhead?’ - Arctic Monkeys, Pretty Visitors

Songwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?

For me, inspiration gets a song started but perspiration is generally the only think that will finish it. I have to make myself do it all in one go otherwise it just won’t happen. So, probably 30% inspiration, 70% perspiration.

Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?

Those are always the best songs. It almost feels like someone else wrote it, which is always a good thing.

And finally, finish this couplet in any way you like: “Standing at the airport with an empty suitcase at my feet . . .” (You are NOT allowed to rhyme that with “meet” however)

‘Where the hell is my one, with the body wrapped in sheets?”

To see other young musicians in the competition answering this questionnaire go here

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