Strong support for Otago singer-songwriter heading to United States

The world's live music capital - Austin, Texas - is welcoming another kiwi musician, singer-songwriter Ciaran McMeeken

The Arrowtown-born performer packed his bags - and his guitar - to find new inspiration in the United States.

But Dunedin is where it all began for McMeeken. It's where he attended high school, and joined his first bands - initially as a drummer.

But the teenager was then terrified of performing live and scared of doing music for a living.  So he tried to avoid it all by escaping down south to work on a farm.

"I was crutching sheep and fixing fences", says McMeeken. "And the farmer finally pulled me aside one day when we were spraying some gorse and he said, 'What are you doing mate?'"

The farmer encouraged the singer to move back to Dunedin, and commit fully to a musical career.

That's been his focus for the last five years.  And while the worlds of Spotify and social media have made it easier for independent musicians to get their songs out, it also brings its challenges.

"You're sort of managing yourself, you're promoting and marketing, you're rehearsing, you're social media-ing.. you're doing it all", says McMeeken.

The charismatic singer has developed a strong fan base across the country - one he turned to recently to create lip sync videos for his single "Pure Intentions".

"I had no idea what was going to come back", he says. "I thought I might get 10 people, but ended up having like 70 people sending videos of them singing the song and it ended up being awesome."

A mini tour of the country followed up that release over the summer giving McMeeken a chance to say thanks to his supporters and musical collaborators here at home.

"It was a real kind of pillar in the earth of how I want to go forward with my career", he says. "Which is working with really great people that I love, and pour a lot of just good vibes into the music."

McMeeken has now headed to the United States to write his next musical chapters, putting down temporary roots in Austin, Texas.

But the Otago boy admits it's a bit like going back to square one.

"So I don't know anybody", he laughs.  "I'm just jumping in the deep end and just try my skills, trust my tool that I've learnt, and just make it work you know".

A new journey for the cheerful kiwi singer, who's keen to make his mark in a big city that thrives on live music.