Family motivates music-obsessed teen

Sonatane Kaufusi's day starts and ends with the sound of a guitar floating through his family home.

Every Sunday, the 17-year-old's large family gathers at their Manurewa home to sing along to the strumming.

His relatives' love of music has been passed down to Sonatane.

"I think about music all the time, like 24/7," he told Newshub. "I wake up, and I have an idea for a song and I write it down.

"Seeing their love for music and singing just rubbed off on me."

The Year 13 Manurewa High School student plays the trombone, bass, guitar and piano. He also sings and writes his own music.

Last year, he took out the top prize for the solo category of the Smokefree Rockquest.

Now he's released his first music video for his debut single, called 'Birdie'. He hopes it will lead to the big time.

The song is about coping with stress and he wrote it leading up to exams.

Sonatane is usually shy, but having a guitar in his hands boosts his confidence.

"It just gives me something where I can just express my feelings, without being judged, because everyone loves music."

An incredibly humble, young man, not even his family knew the extent of his talents, until his Rockquest win.

He used to be the back-up singer at family gatherings, but is now pushed to the front to lead. 

He says family is what drives him.

"The plan is to be financially stable enough for them not to worry about money anymore."

As well as being an incredible musician, Sonatane is a star athlete. He's been recognised for basketball, hammer throwing and making into the Chief's development squad in 2016. 

But he says music is his future. 

"I actually want to come back [to Manurewa High] and teach music, alongside being an actual musician."

He also wants to release an album, which he hopes will lead to a world tour one day.