Clara van Wel
Solo musician, 14
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Clara is in year 11 (a year ahead of her peer group) at Marlborough Girls College where she is a stand-out student.
In July of this year she beat 291 other students to win a local science fair with an innovative hydroponic experiment examining how much influence light wattage has on lettuce growth. The answer is - lots!
In addition to excelling academically, the teenager is also fervent about music. She's been singing since she was a toddler, playing the acoustic guitar since the age of 10, is a dab hand on the ukulele, and a prolific songwriter.
Clara, whose nana is an orchestral pianist, already boasts a catalogue of about 50 original tracks drawing her inspiration from the many books, both fiction and fantasy, that she loves to devour in her spare time.
She idolises Bic Runga, Hayley Westenra (the first CD she ever got) and Gin Wigmore, whom she says she had the huge privilege of opening for at this year's Classic Hits Winery Tour in Marlborough.
In June she went on to win the Marlborough Smokefree Rockquest for the second year running.
Ever sensible, if she wins NZGT she insists shell leave the jackpot in the bank until she graduates and embarks on her dream of a full-time career in music.
"I think the music I write is really special and different. It comes from the heart and I'm totally committed," she says. "I have my own style and to be able to share that is a beautiful thing."