Smokefreerockquest winner Estella Romagnoli at the Vic Brew Bar on Trafalgar Street. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Vic Brewbar Banter


Each month the Nelson Weekly sits down with someone interesting doing something interesting. This week we meet 16-year-old local student Estella Romagnoli, who is fresh off winning Smokefreerockquest at a huge finals event in Auckland.

Have you always loved music?

Yes, Mum always said that I was singing before I was talking, apparently when my aunty used to play guitar to me when I was in the womb I’d be kicking flat out, so it really has been a life-long love.

Who inspires your music?

There are inspirations that make me love music, I love the lyrical side of music. I think it’s beautiful when you can have beautifully crafted lyrics that complement the melody. The first song that made me love lyrics is ‘Youth’ by ‘Daughter’, she has three different choruses with different lyrics that all tie in together. That’s something that I do quite often in my songs and I guess that was the first thing that inspired me to do that. I just love when things are very raw and emotional in music. I don’t really know what my sound is, generally I have words to describe everything but I really don’t know how to describe my sound.

What are your plans after school?

If I can’t do music I’d like to be an editor at a publishing house, one that works with authors to bring out the best in characters and settings. I’ve always planned on going to Victoria University and studying English, they have a great creative writing programme. I think it would be so much fun.
I never really viewed music as a possibility, it’s always been a hobby. While my family are really supportive, they are also realistic, so they say, ‘don’t put all your cards on this, cos it’s one in a million.’ It’s a game of chance, so we’ll see what comes out of it.

What next for getting your music out there?

I think a smart move these days is to develop a large following on social media, but I’m very not tech savvy. My mum’s forced me into getting social media for my music. It’s funny, people are always looking for things to put on social media, I have things I can share but I just always forget to. Following is everything these days, which is kind of sad.

What would your life look like in 10 years if you could look in a crystal ball?

I could so give you an exact answer to that, firstly I am obsessed with pomeranians. I’ve always thought, when I’m older, I’ll live in a city in a cute little apartment with a flower garden on the terrace. I’ll have a red vintagey-looking scooter and two pomeranians. That was my vision of my life when I was 12, but I would still love that to happen.

Will music be a part of that?

I want my life to be in music, I think love is the only real meaning of life so if you’re doing something you love you can’t really go wrong. It would make me so happy for my sole purpose in life to be writing songs. I feel like the only way to make a living out of that is to be famous, which I think would be quite miserable. I like having anonymity, even at the moment, with my small victory at Rockquest, people start recognising me at school, which I don’t like. I feel like fame is quite a big price to pay. I just want me, someone I love, two dogs and a scooter, and I can be doing gigs on the weekend making enough to live.

What about being a songwriter with someone else singing your songs?

I don’t know if I could accept someone else singing my songs, I’d want to sing them myself. People keep telling me that I’m going to be doing something in music, but I feel like a million people are told that every day so I’m not just going to believe it.