Amitai Pati is on a quest and he's not finding it hard to get motivated.
The Mangere-born tenor is one of six finalists in the 2012 Lexus Song Quest on August 30 and is looking to join the ranks of previous winners such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (1965), Dame Malvina Major (1963), Teddy Tahu Rhodes (1991) and Jonathan Lemalu (1998).
''I thought I'd never be into singing really until I started learning about new languages and that's where my love for music blossomed. Now it's this huge thing,'' the 22-year-old said.
''I haven't looked back since I started in music and this will be a test for the next stepping stone.''
Pati, an Auckland University voice student and former Aorere College student, has stacked up an impressive CV in just a few short years - he has performed with the country's top choirs and as a backing vocalist on George Benson's and Andrea Bocelli's New Zealand tour.
He also performed in New Zealand Opera's Rigoletto.
He confesses to jumping around to calm his nerves before big shows.
''For my last performance I made a makeshift jump rope with the cord of a iron in the dressing room... and the show went well,'' he said.
Joking aside, he's deadly serious about what he has to do in the final if he's to join his older brother Pene Pati who's now studying at the Wales International Academy of Voice.
The lucrative prize package could set Amitai on his way to an international career.
The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize, a $15,000 study grant and return international airfares.
World-renowned tenor and founder of the Welsh academy Dennis O'Neill will be judging the final.
The finalists will perform with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra live on stage in Wellington.
They have six pieces to practise and the judges will pick three on the day.
''We've spent so much time learning and practising those six pieces so we're quite comfortable with them.
''It's going to be an honour to get up there and sing for the judges.''
And Amitai's advice to anyone looking to pursue music?
''You won't ever regret it. It'll stick with you for the rest of your life and nobody can take that away from you.''
The other finalists are Stephen Diaz, 24, Grace Park, 21, Kawiti Waetford, 21, Bryony Williams 22, and Alexander Wilson, 21.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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