'Hard knocks' inspire gifted young singer

03:21, Jun 05 2012
tdn mus stand
Zoe Fern Wallace

She may only be 12 years old, but Zoe Fern Wallace already has six years of songwriting experience under her hat.

The New Plymouth girl has been writing music since she was a 6-year-old, and with about 60 songs in her repertoire, it's clear the youngster has found her passion.

Canadian-born Zoe said the inspiration for her pop-folk music came from her own life experiences.

"Having a song book is kind of like a diary so that's where I put down all my thoughts and turn them into songs."

Living in Vancouver off and on for half her life, Zoe became accustomed to the large number of homeless people scattered throughout the city.

"I have a song called Silence. I used to live in Canada and where we lived there was a lot of poverty so I wanted to write about that."


Her song Daddy, which she often performs, and To Shine are also reflective of her experiences.

Mum Suzanne Wallace said her daughter's lyrics were always meaningful and emotive.

"The thing with Zoe is that because we've travelled, and because she's had some hard knocks in her time, she really does write beyond her years."

And it isn't just writing that Zoe is good at.

She has a powerful, raw voice to match, which is astounding for someone of her age and stature.

Her original song and performance ability won her second place in the recent New Plymouth's Got Talent competition, of which she was the youngest contestant.

"I didn't even realise they had called out my name, I wasn't expecting to get anywhere," she said.

The award won her three hours recording time at the King St Studios, which she was looking to book in as soon as possible.

"I want to have an album of all my songs and be able to travel around to lots of different places and perform," she said.

"I love performing just as much as I love writing music. I want to be able to perform a lot more though."

Inspired by the likes of Taylor Swift, Norah Jones, and Pink, Zoe's No 1 mentor is her music teacher Stephanie Piquette.

Ms Piquette accompanies Zoe on guitar during performances, and is also teaching her the skill so she is able to perform on her own.

Ms Wallace said they were very grateful for the encouragement and work Ms Piquette had shown Zoe.

"When they first met there was a major synergy between them. I had a shiver go down my spine and I knew something special was going to happen.

"She's just fantastic."

Although she is still honing the talent she has been given, Zoe said she was excited about the unknown road ahead and the possible opportunities it might present her.

"I'm looking forward to recording at the King St studios. I don't know what's going to happen next, anything could happen."

Taranaki Daily News