Vocalist, songwriter and musician Mikaela (Emmie) Stroud may only be 18, but her future is already looking bright.
The ACG Parnell College student has recorded A Capella at Coldplay's music studio in London, had a gig at Waiheke Island's Tantalus Vineyard, and performed on Māori Television as part of Stand Up, Stand Out.
As the school's top International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) music student for 2020, Emmie is poised to achieve great things in the music industry.
"I'm mainly a vocalist specialising in jazz and musical theatre vocals and have been classically trained for around five or six years," says Emmie, who has been taking singing lessons since the age of eight. Additionally, she "experiments with" guitar, ukulele, piano, drums and bass guitar.
"I also write my own music and like to use digital composition software to produce my music recreationally and academically."
Lead vocalist for ACG Parnell College's jazz combo band this year, Emmie recently played Audrey in the school's 2021 production of 'Little Shop of Horrors' (her all-time favourite musical). As well, she has been involved in numerous school music performances and assemblies and is the regular MC for music nights. So by taking advantage of opportunities offered at the school – opportunities that are continuing to evolve and grow – Emmie has been able to take her musical prowess to a new level.
"ACG's music programme has helped me come into my own as a composer and has pushed me towards one of my passions: writing soundtracks for film, gaming and TV. Going to ACG has opened doors for me to be in lots of different bands and enabled me to enter competitions such as Stand Up, Stand Out."
While music is her greatest passion, Emmie's creative gifts don't stop there.
"Besides music, I'm an artist. I love comic style art and have sold some of my work at comic/anime conventions. I used to run the school's Overload Club, where students can collaborate with other artists and sell their work in a marketplace environment."
Plus, she's part of the Senior Drama Club, the IBDP support group, and although this is only her third year at ACG Parnell College, she feels deeply connected to the school.
"I enjoy my close group of friends and the ability to get involved in our inner-city community at Senior College in Newmarket. I am also grateful to all the teachers here (and those that used to be here) for their support, such as Katrina McConnell, Linda Filimoehala, Rony Yoo, Dr Garner and Doris Riegel."
According to her music teacher Ms Rony Yoo, Emmie has a lot to be excited about.
"As one of our most passionate senior music students, Emmie has been involved in many school activities and competitions and has performed at numerous school assemblies and concerts. She is a great musical theatre and jazz singer and outside of school, performs at gigs to develop her career as a professional performer," says Ms Yoo.
"During her time at ACG, Emmie has received several awards for her musical talent. The Senior IBDP music programme and her involvement in various music groups and clubs have helped broaden her interest in musical knowledge. And she's made many connections with other music students, teachers and even professional musical theatre performers through our school production."
All these experiences have set the foundation for a fulfilling creative career, and Emmie is full of anticipation for all that lies ahead.
"After the school year is finished, I plan to start focusing more on my creative projects, and in December, I'm going to be working with the Waiheke Spirit Trust on their Christmas fundraising event and performing in their shows. Next year I'm aiming for Auckland University and a BA/BMUS conjoint degree studying music composition and drama. There's a lot to look forward to!"