This month, Auckland singer/songwriter Gin Wigmore, 23, releases her debut album Holy Smoke which was recorded in Los Angeles with the American band The Cardinals. Wigmore is signed to Universal in Australia, where she has lived — on the Gold Coast and in Sydney — for the past few years. But it was a hip-hop track by New Zealand group Smashproof that got her noticed by Motown. A New Zealand record executive took a copy of the track, ‘Brother’, to Motown Records head Sylvia Rhone. It was a No. 1 smash hit in New Zealand, staying at the top of the charts for a record 11 weeks. Rhone liked what she heard. It wasn’t the heartfelt rapping that got her attention, but the soul-stirring voice of the back-up singer — Gin Wigmore. Wigmore has dedicated Holy Smoke to her father who lost his battle with cancer when she was a teenager. “It comes from such a cool place — it feels like Dad’s literally come down, given me his hand and walked me through this whole career,” Wigmore says.