Music mentor Interview: Conor McCabe

Maki from the Local Rag caught up with Conor to chat about music and to reminisce about the Whale Bay Bus.

Whāingaroa-born Conor McCabe has spent a good chunk of his young life performing as part of musical duo Fortunes and has recently returned to his home town to start a fresh chapter.  Conor is one of the mentors that will be helping rangatahi develop skills in music performance and production through the Whāingaroa Talent Factory event this month.

Something I remember from when I was younger is that on the Whale Bay bus to and from Raglan Area School – you and maybe Ruby Gibbs – were always singing. 

Has music and performing always been a part of your life and what or who were some of your earlier influences?

Yes I most definitely would’ve been singing on the bus with Rubes. Lol I was probably telling her to be quiet because I was the singer. She was really good at knowing all the words though. I also used to do the roll call for the Whale Bay bus. Very me to volunteer myself for a position like that. Lots of early influences but I would say out of everyone, Alicia Keys was my girl. Also you were iconic on the bus. I remember I sometimes I used to sit with you because I thought you were cool.

Obviously this past year or so has been pretty disruptive for a lot of people – especially those in the live music industry – can you tell us about what you have been doing over the past 12-18months in terms of your music and moving back to Whāingaroa?

The timing of Covid was quite interesting for me. We had our final Fortunes show (my old music project) at the end of Feb 2020 and 2 weeks later I had to come home to lockdown. So its been kind of like, my old life is over and then this all started but I was kinda planning to do something else / the next thing obviously. Its been great being back here though. It was always hard to stay away. I’ve been having heaps of fun DJ’ing which is something I always wanted to do.

What’s the best advice you can give for anyone applying for WTF this year?

SONGWRITING. I love a good story. Paint a picture and make us feel it. 


Current favourite song: 

Have Mercy: Chloe

Really feeling this song and video and VMA performance right now and extremely excited for her solo career.

Current favourite piece of clothing:

Just got some new baggy fit jeans from Hallensteins lol. Love them! Don’t think I’ve gotten anything there since the Planet 8 days.

Current favourite movie/tv series:

It’s between Ted Lasso and See. Both on Apple TV (Is this the new thing?). Ted Lasso is making me laugh and cry every episode and See is like the craziest premise for a show I’ve seen in a long time. Everyone in the world has gone blind and then I’ll start watching something else and am still thinking everyone in that show is blind too.

Current favourite food:

I miss Thai food! I literally just now went to the bakery for a sandwich and saw they had pad Thai on the menu today so got that instead.

If you are a musical youth aged between 13-18 years, enter the Whāingaroa Talent Factory show by emailing today!

Entries close: October 1

Mentor session: October 5 

Live Youth Showcase: October 16