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The Jesse Sheehan Wins The 2009 Smokefreerockquest National Final

The Jesse Sheehan Wins The 2009 Smokefreerockquest National Final

Sunday 20th September, 2009 9:30AM

Singer/songwriter The Jesse Sheehan from Wellington College is the winner of the 2009 Smokefreerockquest National Final, held at The Powerstation in Auckland.

The Wellingtonian championed over five other high school bands to receive the coveted first prize pack which includes a NZ On Air new recording grant and music video grant worth $10,000, recording time at York St Studio, radio promotional support for his single, guaranteed airplay on The Edge radio network, a place on the NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc and a promotional package from myspace New Zealand. "I'm amazed and baffled,” says Jesse of the win. “This is a good start and I hope a sign of things to come for my musical career."

The Jesse Sheehan's acoustic performance of three original songs highly impressed the esteemed judging panel which included representatives from NZ On Air, The Edge Radio Network, York Street Studios, The New Zealand Herald and A&R Director for Universal Music, Scott Maclachlan.

"Out of the entire competition, Jesse was original, authentic and performed like an established artist even at this early stage of his career," says Maclachlan.

Smokefreerockquest co-founder Pete Rainey agrees, and says, “Jesse is a unique talent and it was so appropriate to have an act like this perform tonight in such an iconic venue."

Second place went to A Few Words From Dave from Mt Maunganui College, and third place to The Seed from Hamilton Christian School, Fairfield College and Hamilton’s Fraser High School.

Other prizes awarded on the night include The Mainz Scholarship for outstanding musicianship which went to Joel Taylor of St Peters college in Auckland, The Apra Lyric Award which went to David Haslett of Burnside High School in Christchurch, the Jupiter Brass and Woodwind Award which went to the band Aleesha and the Boys from Northland College and the Smokefree Womans Musicianship Award which went to Estere Dalton from Wellington High School.

Youth channel C4 will be screening a one-hour special covering the event on Saturday 26 September.

Smokefreerockquest is the biggest and most influential nation-wide youth event held in New Zealand, reaching audience numbers in excess of 100,000 every year. Founded in 1988 by music teachers Glenn Common and Pete Rainey, who now run Rockquest Promotions full time out of Nelson, it has become a New Zealand institution. Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 21-year history include Opshop, Atlas, Evermore, Die!Die!Die!, Pistol Youth, Bang!Bang!Eche!, Cut Off Your Hands, Luke Thompson, Midnight Youth, Minuit, Birchville Cat Motel, the Datsuns, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Anna Coddington,The Electric Confectionaires, Steriogram, Aaradhna, Spacifix, Phoenix Foundation, The Feelers, The Black Seeds, Nesian Mystik, Bic Runga, The Checks, Fur Patrol, Liam Finn, Pine, King Kapisi, and Elemeno P. Smokefreerockquest aims to motivate young musicians to prove their ability and realise the heights they can reach in their music careers, and to encourage their peers to support 100% original New Zealand music. For more information visit or email

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