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Six60 Scholarship recipients from left: Hazel Simes, Sophie McCarlie, Shannon Burnett, Jakira Brophy.

Four talented Otago students are shocked and excited to have been selected as next year’s Six60 Scholarship recipients.

Established in 2021 by the University of Otago and Six60, one of New Zealand’s most successful bands, the scholarships include a $10,000 rent rebate, as well as mentoring from the band and access to the University’s recording studios.

Successful 2024 recipients Jakira Brophy, Shannon Burnett, Sophie McCarlie, and Hazel Simes will live together in Six60’s iconic Castle Street property that the band purchased in 2021.

Jakira, who is in her second year of a Bachelor of Music, says she was in disbelief when she was told the news.

“I was so shocked when I found out. I did not think I was going to receive the scholarship, being up against some fantastic musicians.

“For me the receiving the scholarship was confirmation to myself that I can succeed in the music industry and I am doing things right. Being surrounded by other incredible musicians and artists within the household and forming a creative environment is something I’m really looking forward to as well.”

Her band Emily Alice also features a previous Six60 scholarship recipient Emily Kerr-Bell, who was one of the inaugural recipients in 2021.

Jakira says her goal is to make a viable living from the bass guitar, whether within her band or as a session musician.

Sophie, who is studying towards a Bachelor of Performing Arts, says, like Jakira, she almost didn’t believe the news when she was told she had won a scholarship, and she was very excited about the year ahead.

“My goal is to grow and develop my singing and performance into a professional career. I want to be able to explore different avenues and be a versatile performer. I hope to one day be able to perform on the West End or on Broadway.”

Fellow recipients Hazel and Shannon say they hope the scholarship will help them further develop songwriting, composition and performance skills, while being inspired by their musically talented new housemates.

Six60 band member Eli Paewai says working with previous recipients has been exceptional.

“We have seen the kids grow in so many ways, they have released music, excelled at university and some of them even performed with us on stage at Forsyth Barr.

“This year saw one of the most qualified group of applicants to date and it’s becoming more and more competitive. We are really looking forward to mentoring and growing with the upcoming students.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) Professor Tony Ballantyne says that the highly-sought after scholarship remains extremely competitive and it is exciting to see another great cohort of scholarship holders.

“I am excited for these four latest recipients to not only follow in the footsteps of previous Six60 scholarship winners, but to also each carve out their own unique pathway into a successful and varied career in music.”

Kōrero by Lydia Anderson

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