NZSM graduates to open for Lorde on her sold-out Melodrama tour

Seven New Zealand School of Music graduates will be performing as part of Lorde’s seven-date New Zealand tour in November.

Drax Project
Drax Project, who are the opening act for Lorde's Powerstation show in Auckland on 12 November

Lorde has personally hand-picked a different local opening act for each stop on the tour, and three of the bands include musicians who have studied at the New Zealand School of Music - Te Kōkī (NZSM).

Olivia Campion studied Jazz Performance (drums), graduating with First Class Honours in 2014, and performs with Yumi Zouma, who are opening for Lorde at the Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch on 8 November.

French for Rabbits, the opening act for the 9 November Isaac Theatre Royal show, has three band members who are NZSM alumni. Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa studied Jazz Performance (drums), graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma in 2013. Ben Lemi studied Jazz Performance (guitar), and Brooke Singer studied Composition and Sonic Arts.

Shaan Singh (saxophone and vocals), Sam Thomson (bass) and Matt Beachen (drums) make up three-quarters of Drax Project, who will be opening for Lorde’s Powerstation show in Auckland on 12 November. All three graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance from NZSM.

Lance Philip, the Programme Director of Jazz Performance at the New Zealand School of Music, says that the jazz programme teaches students about the traditional musical roots from jazz, latin and fusion genres, but it also gives them solid technical skills in harmony and improvisation that they can apply to contemporary music.

Three of the musicians above have studied drums with Lance. James MacDonald (Jimmy Mac), who plays keyboard/Ableton live/MD for Lorde, also studied with Lance for four years and completed the Foundation Certificate in Jazz at NZSM.