Lily Atu and Jono Benzur’s Rockquest win sets them on a path trodden by top Kiwi musos such as Opshop, Kimbra, Aldous Harding, Marlon Williams and the Kids of 88. Photo Graham Hooper

Waiheke High School music stars Lily Atu and Jono Benzur have won Auckland’s solo-duo heat of Smokefreerockquest.

The pair performed under the name Friends of the Street, a nod to the volunteer service to get young people home safe at night, led by their music teacher Russell Duurloo.

With Lily (17) on vocals and Jono (16) playing bass clarinet, they wowed judges at the Dorothy Winstone Centre with a performance of Freedom has Fled, a groove soul song they co-wrote.

Having jammed together in different bands on Waiheke, this is the first time Lily and Jono have played as a duo – although they did perform together as the “house band” in the Jazzabout bus that ferried people around during this year’s Waiheke Jazz Festival. 

They are now working together to write new material for the next heats, including putting together a video. From here they hope to be shortlisted for the national finals to be held in Auckland, with a prize bundle including $3000 of equipment from the Rockshop and video production from NZ On Air. •Liza Hamilton

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