From Cyndi Lauper to Sarah McLachlan etc he’s worked with some of the biggest names in music.
Former Sony Music executive, New Zealand Idol and NZ Got Talent judge Paul Ellis is back home in Marlborough.
And he has his sights set on bringing more top music talent to the township of Linkwater- making the Summer Sounds concerts an annual event.
While Paul says he can’t divulge any artist names yet, he can reveal they’ve one of the acts has had had four number 1 albums.
“It’s all under contract”, he says.
Swapping the big city of Auckland for the small rural township, the former Queen Charlotte Sounds man is excited to be back, organising the Summer Sounds gigs.
Supporting long-time friends and Queen Charlotte Tavern owners Mary-Ann Surridge and Jane Tito, Paul has been hitting up his contacts.
He’s also on the lookout for some local support music talent to support on the day.
“I have been away from Marlborough on and off for a long period, but I am keen to hear of any top of the south acts, let me know,” he says.
Paul’s signings include Bic Runga, Dave Dobbyn, Shona Laing and The Strawpeople.
“The location lends itself to a great place to enjoy a day of music. There’s tons of off-street parking and the opportunity to camp overnight”
“It’s not too big, it’s intimate and you have the incredible vista of the sounds hills as a backdrop,” he says.
Kicking off on Saturday 19 December, the first festival which will herald a mixture of New Zealand music royalty – with names to be revealed soon.
On 16 January 2021, the debut South Island performance of one of the hottest and exciting acts to emerge in NZ in the last 18 months will take to the stage, Paul says.
“As well as the music there will food and beverage stalls. If you want to camp overnight, it’s included in the ticket price.”
As Vice President of A&R for Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Paul runs his own PR and music consultancy firm and last year bought OpShop Lead Singer Jason Kerrison to Linkwater.
“As well as the music there will food and beverage stalls. If you want to camp overnight, it’s included in the ticket price, Paul says. “I want people to be able to relax, have fun and enjoy this beautiful slice of paradise.”
Money woes have forced organisers behind one of Marlborough’s most famous races to pull the plug, with it’s long term future now uncertain.
The Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon has been cancelled for next year with promoters blaming the Covid-19 crisis for the change of heart.
Entrants will be refunded $30 from the average ticket of $99 as funds have already been spent preparing for this year’s race.
It has been an agonising decision to make, say co-ordinators Chris Shaw and Anna Polson who revealed refunding the entire fee would force the event into bankruptcy.
The pair have event insurance but pandemics are specified in the policy as non-payment events.
“We’ve put a lot of love and dedication into getting the race where it is today, and personally we’re devastated that our efforts have come to this. There have been some emails accusing us of being greedy and that makes me feel personally hurt.
“We’ve tried to be a generous member of the community and set out to give value back to the community. We haven’t just changed overnight.”
“We were hoping the event could take place in May 2021, but that’s not guaranteed by any means with the future of mass gatherings and events being so uncertain. We’re doing a good job at erradicating it [Covid-19] but,looking forward, we couldn’t say with any degree of certainty that we can hold it next year and to start preparing would be irresponsible, Chris says.
The event was originally postponed just days before lockdown officially begun.
All entries were transferred to a rescheduled race in May 2021 but that has now been shelved.
“We can’t be certain that the Vineyard Half planned for May 2021 will be able to go ahead either, so we will soon begin processing refunds to everyone who has entered this year’s event.
“We have agonised over the best process to refund and looked at the range of responses from other events. We’re uncomfortable with the ‘refund nothing’ model, and ‘refund everything’ would simply bankrupt us; meaning you get nothing, and the Vineyard Half no longer exists,” Chris says.
All merchandise will be completely refunded, and organisers will donate any refunds not taken to race charity Bowel Cancer NZ.
The 14-year-old event has attracted thousands of people to the region and is a crucial way for Bowel Cancer NZ to raise funds.
Chris says he knows the lockdown has had an affect on the whole community.
“This has been an incredibly stressful and difficult time for us.
“We know everyone out there will be affected by this pandemic, so we hope you’ll understand how and why we’ve had to make this difficult decision.”
A year and a half ago, chart-topping Kiwi jazz musician Nathan Haines was weeks into a months-long fight against throat cancer, a battle that would at times rob him of his voice, his energy and his plans for the future.
Post-treatment, the ambitious young man who left New Zealand in his teens and put out the first of 10 solo albums at age 22 is re-releasing an album and going on tour.
“This time is very special. I have reassembled the band I put together 25 years ago,” he says.
The album, Shift Left, marked the beginnings of a career that has taken Haines all over the world. It was also hugely influential in the New Zealand music landscape.
“I had no idea back then the influence that it would have.”
When he started there was no blueprint for the sort of music he was creating, so Haines started from scratch.
“There are some things about the album that I might not do now but I was 22,” he says. “But there is some fantastic musicianship on it.”
But all that legacy threatened to come crashing down when he was diagnosed with cancer. Haines didn’t know if he would even be able to talk let alone play again.
He managed to teach his other throat muscles to do the work. He swore off alcohol and coffee and negotiated ongoing radiation therapy.
“That was the most difficult part of the whole thing. I’m still dealing with the side effects daily,” he says.
But Haines thinks that he is now playing as good as he ever has.
He will also have some good company. The musicians who helped him on that first album are also coming out to accompany him on tour.
“It’s going to be a milestone,” Nathan says. “It’s been a journey, but I feel incredibly blessed to be here to do what I’m good at. I have an incredible passion and love for music.”
Nathan Haines plays at the Trafalgar Centre on August 17. Tickets through ticketdirect.co.nz
The Marlborough Weekly has a double pass to give away. Email [email protected] with your name and contact details by 14 August to be entered into the draw.