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Songwriting awards for Colourblind

Regulus // Issue 3 // November 2022

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Talented lyricist, Cindy Xiong (Year 13), says she was ‘absolutely psyched’ to be recognised for two major songwriting awards for her poignant song, Colourblind.

In October, she won the overall APRA Lyrics Award at the Smokefree Rockquest National Finals, which followed her second placing for the 2022 David Richwhite Lyric Award at the prestigious Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition.

Colourblind deals with the theme of diasporic identity, something Cindy had wanted to write about for some time. “I had heaps of ideas and lyrics already written down that I never intended to publish or send to anyone. I thought the theme was a bit too heavy for a pop song, then someone mentioned that Disney songs usually deal with big themes in a fun way. So I modelled my song as part of a story.” When producing the song, she had a ‘grand notion’ of combining western and eastern sounds together, she says. “I had a whole vision of it from the get-go, with this cool guzheng solo in the middle which came out even better than I had hoped.”

Famed Kiwi musician, Don McGlashan (The Mutton Birds), judged the David Richwhite Lyric Award, and says lyrically Colourblind has ‘good strong ideas, expressed with force and precision’.

Cindy became serious about songwriting halfway through Year 11. She is a member of Staccoro, VOX16, the Big Band, and Soul Band at St Andrew’s, and has also performed in numerous productions. She credits Head of Music, Duncan Ferguson, for being a major inspiration. “Mr Ferguson has inspired me to give things a go and creates this incredibly supportive environment where you feel like it doesn’t matter what mistakes you make along the way. He shifts your focus towards the music itself, the fun, and occasional pain of creating music.” Although she doesn’t plan to follow a career in music, Cindy says writing songs and performing will always be part of her future.

Cindy crafts powerful lyrics that draw on her experience of diasporic identity which are praised by industry professionals.