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In search of NZ’s album of the year

Wednesday 20th April 2016

What to expect from the Taite Music Prize event this evening.


Princess Chelsea is one of the finalists for the Taite Music Prize.

Photo: Brad Fafejta

A handful of New Zealand’s finest musicians are going head-to-head for the Taite Music Prize in Auckland tonight.

All up there’s eight finalists in the running for the award, which aims to recognise the best album from a local act over a calendar year. It’s an impressive showing too - nominees this year include SJD, Nadia Reid, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Princess Chelsea, The Phoenix Foundation, Anthonie Tonnon, Marlon Williams and Silicon.

The Taite is now in its seventh year and the winning act - which has been chosen by a panel of industry judges - will take home $10,000 and a chunk of recording time at Red Bull Studios.

READ MORE: RNZ Music’s Taite Music Prize collection

The award was named after the late Dylan Taite, one of the country’s most renowned music journalists, and previous winners include Jakob, SJD, Lorde, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ladi6 and Lawrence Arabia.

It won’t be the only prize given out on the night though.

This year’s award for Independent Music NZ Classic Record, which acknowledges “New Zealand’s rich history of making fine albums that continue to inspire us and define who we are”, is going to Upper Hutt Posse’s 1988 12" E Tu.

As Taite judge Peter McLennan put it himself, the record is hugely important, both culturally and politically.

“It showed local rap fans and budding rappers that we could make this exciting new genre our own, with rhyming in Te Reo and English, and by name-checking local history. Upper Hutt Posse are our hip-hop pioneers, and they opened the gates for the likes of Dam Native, Three The Hard Way, and Che Fu.”

For those who want to watch from home, 95bFM will be live streaming the event.

Here’s the full list of nominees:

SJD - Saint John Divine 
Nadia Reid - Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs 
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love 
Princess Chelsea - The Great Cybernetic Depression 
The Phoenix Foundation - Give Up Your Dreams 
Anthonie Tonnon - Successor 
Marlon Williams - Marlon Williams 
Silicon - Personal Computer 

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