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Singer/songwriter Shona Laing was a star in her native New Zealand before the age of 20 and has remained a notable artist known for her insightful lyrics since the early '70s. Born in 1955, Laing's musical career was given a boost by her successful appearances on television talent contests, which led to her signing a record deal with Phonogram in 1972. Her first single, "1905," was a Top Ten hit in New Zealand and, over the next three years, she released a series of songs that duplicated that feat, earning numerous regional recording awards. Relocating to London in 1975, she continued to perform at folk clubs and at the beginning of the '80s, she released several singles through EMI, which culled them together as the full-length Tied to the Tracks in 1982. Enlisted by Manfred Mann, who had heard one of her songs, Laing joined his Earth Band, singing backup on their Somewhere in Afrika release. Returning to New Zealand in 1985, she released Genre, which received little notice until the track "(Glad I'm) Not a Kennedy" became a hit. The song was picked up by college radio stations in the U.S. when it was included on her South set in 1987, along with the driving "Soviet Snow," which enjoyed some play from MTV. The attention earned her a deal with Epic, the label on which her 1992 release New on Earth was issued. Well-received critically, the album was lost in the shuffle and Laing was dropped. She remained a respected artist in New Zealand and continued to record through the end of the '90s. ~ Tom Demalon