Reality Bites Composer Donna's Life Swap
New Zealand Woman's Weekly|July 22, 2019

Donna Kavanagh (36) is a Composer, Musician, Sound Engineer and Mum of Two Taking Part in the New Reality Series Wife Swap NZ

Julie Jacobson

“My family weren’t particularly musical, but the Kavanagh side are quite creative.

My grandfather was John Francis Kavanagh, the sculptor and artist. He was a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and lectured at Elam School of Fine Arts.

When I was six, my Dad gave me an ultimatum − did I want to continue with rhythmic gymnastics or did I want to try music? I chose music and learned the recorder, the clarinet and then the keyboard.

I spent hours and hours learning, experimenting and singing songs that I had made up. We were a very Christian family and didn’t have television or radio, so Dad couldn’t understand where I was getting my influences from, but he realised very early on that maybe I had talent and took me to composition lessons.

At intermediate, we were given the opportunity to write the lyrics for a new school anthem. I decided to write the whole thing – the music and the lyrics. I recorded it – my first experience in a studio – took it on a cassette to the teacher, and it became the Holy Cross School Anthem.

I recorded my first album Fade Away when I was 12, at Stebbing Recording Studio, and recorded another one the following year at York Street Studio.

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