Saipan songwriter and musician Nikkie Ayuyu is the winner of the People’s Choice in the IT&E Song Challenge.
His song, “Life in Motion,” received close to 9,000 votes, according to a press release. About 20,000 residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam voted.
The 24-year-old Ayuyu said he has been making and playing music since the seventh grade. His instruments of choice are the guitar and ukulele, though he dabbles with the keyboard and bass.
Ayuyu says music is a great form of self-expression. He tries to write music as often as he can, letting the moment guide him toward making a great piece.
"For me, it’s all about the moment. When I try too hard to write music, usually I don’t end up finishing it at that time," Ayuyu stated. "Sometimes it takes a long time to finish one song. When music comes to me, it keeps coming. But when it stops, it stops. But that isn’t a bad thing. Music takes time."
Ayuyu was awarded $500 in cash and a $300 gift card for musical equipment. Ayuyu will perform at an IT&E sponsored event to be announced in the future.
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The other finalists were Frank Candaso, Travis Kaliga, Ellery Sablan, Benny and Friends, Coco + The Way Cool Heroes, DC Crew and PROVIDENCE.
“We’d like to thank our community judges, the thousands of residents that voted in support of our local artists and the musicians that produced songs for the IT&E Song Challenge," said Rubyjane Buhain-Redila, IT&E Brand and Public Relations manager. "The response from all is a testament to the universality of music and we’re glad to provide a platform that showcases their talent."
The Challenge was launched in September to find IT&E's next theme — a song that represents the company and the people it serves in the CNMI and Guam.