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A guide to the NZ Music Awards

Thursday 19th November 2015

Get the lowdown on tonight’s Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.


Six60, Marlon Williams and Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson.

Image: Michael Greenfield

It’s all on this evening as musicians from around the country are going head-to-head at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. The event, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, sees Marlon Williams, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Six60 leading the way.

All up, Williams has five nominations, including Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Male Solo Artist, Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Best Alternative Album. The alt-country musician is known for fronting Lyttleton band The Unfaithful Ways, before going on to collaborate on a handful of records with musician Delaney Davidson. His self-titled solo debut was released earlier this year and it features the single ‘Dark Child’, which was also a finalist for the Silver Scroll recently.

He’s up against the winners of the Silver Scroll - Unknown Mortal Orchestra - who took out the top songwriting award for their psych-pop gem ‘Multi-Love’. Fronted by Ruban Nielson, the group have four nominations, as do chart-toppers – and mainstream underdogs - Six60.

Last year it was Lorde who dominated headlines as she took home six Tuis for her “teen diary” Pure Heroine. This time around she has two nominations - the People’s Choice Award and Single of the Year for ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’. She’s also tipped to be presenting the Breakthrough Artist Award.

Other nominees this year include electro-pop duo Broods and much-celebrated rock act Shihad, who have three nods each going into the awards night next month.

They won’t be the only ones celebrating though. The Exponents will also be honoured as this year’s Legacy Award recipients and will be inducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame. There’ll also be a special tribute to the band, who are known for their hits ‘Why Does Love Do This To Me’ ‘Who Loves Who The Most’ and ‘Victoria’, in a performance from Tami Neilson and Dave Dobbyn.

  • CHECK BACK on The Wireless for our NZ Music Awards live blog from 7.30pm.

Recorded Music CEO Damian Vaughan said recently that the act have had an outstanding and impressive history since forming in 1981.

“Many of the finalist artists for this year’s VNZMA awards have grown up listening to The Exponents. The band’s influence and impact on New Zealand music is significant. The Exponents are Kiwi icons and have created a truly remarkable music legacy,” he said.

The music awards actually got underway earlier this month. Auckland band Bespin took out this year’s Critics’ Choice Prize, which is an award that aims to acknowledge up-and-coming acts and potential NZ Music Award recipients. The band, who just released their debut EP Osiris, took home a $10,000 NZ On Air recording and music video grant, as well as mentoring sessions with “several music industry heavyweights”.

Here’s the full list of nominees:

Mentos Album of the Year

Broods – Evergreen
Marlon Willams – Marlon Williams
Shihad – FVEY
Six60 – Six60
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

Vodafone Single of the Year

Avalanche City – ‘Inside Out’
Lorde – ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’
Marlon Williams – ‘Dark Child’
Six60 – ‘White Lines’
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – ‘Multi-Love’

Best Group

Broods – Evergreen
Shihad – FVEY
Six60 – Six60

Best Male Solo Artist

Marlon Williams – Marlon Williams
Stan Walker – Truth & Soul
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

Best Female Solo Artist

Anika Moa  - Queen At The Table
Brooke Fraser – Brutal Romantic
Gin Wigmore - Blood To Bone

Breakthrough Artist of the Year

Ginny Blackmore
Marlon Williams

Best Rock Album

Cairo Knife Fight – The Colossus
Devilskin - We Rise
Shihad – FVEY

The Edge Best Pop Album

Benny Tipene – Bricks
Broods – Evergreen
Six60 – Six60

Best Alternative Album

Marlon Williams - Marlon Williams
She’s So Rad – Tango
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

Best Urban/Hip Hop Album

Diaz Grimm – Osiris
Janine and The Mixtape – XX
The Doqument – Black Canvas – Wall & Piece

Best Roots Album

Latinaotearoa – Latinaotearoa in Latinoamerica
Moana and the Tribe – Rima
Trinity Roots – Citizen

Best Electronica Album

Electric Wire Hustle – Love Can Prevail
Shapeshifter vs The Upbeats – SSXUB
Sola Rosa – Magnetics

NZ On Air Best Music Video

Reuben Bonner – ‘Her Heart Breaks Like A Wave’ (Dictaphone Blues)
Shae Sterling – ‘Aotearoa’ (Stan Walker feat Ria Hall, Troy Kingi & Maisey Rika)
Shahir Daud – ‘Cymatics’ (Nigel Stanford)

Best Maori Album

Moana & the Tribe – Rima
Ranea – Tihei Mauri Ora
Whaia and The Mahician – Whaia

Best Worship Album

Edge Kingsland  Presents - Seven Days
LIFE Worship – Through The Fire
We, The Revival – We, The Revival

Best Classical Album

Jack Body – Passing By
Jack Body – Songs Of Death and Desire
Michael Houstoun – Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas

Vodafone People’s Choice Award

Sol3 Mio
Stan Walker

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