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What’s the best NZ song of the year?

Thursday 17th September 2015

Image: Michael Greenfield

New Zealand’s best songwriters are coming together tonight in Auckland for the APRA Silver Scroll Awards.

The event, which is in its 50th year, sees a diverse range of finalists this time around, with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lorde, Marlon Williams, Anthonie Tonnon and Mel Parsons all going head-to-head for the prestigious award.

Lorde won the award back in 2013 for her hit ‘Royals’, while Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Nielson is a finalist for the fifth time. Last year the prize went to local country singer Tami Nielson, and her brother Joshua, for their song ‘Walk (Back To Your Arms)’.

Tonight we’ll also get to find out who wins the “lost scroll” from 1981.

APRA spokesperson Anthony Healy said he wasn’t sure why the event didn’t go ahead that year, but that it was a time that marked a watershed moment in New Zealand’s history.

New Zealanders will remember 1981 as the year that the country was left divided over the Springbok tour.

“New Zealand was in turmoil and that created an environment ripe for some of the greatest music ever made in this country. We are going to celebrate it,” says Healy.

A retrospective Scroll will be awarded tonight, which will be chosen from a shortlist of songs from The Clean, The Swingers, Blam Blam Blam, Split Enz and The Screaming Meemees.

Other awards given out at the ceremony, which is taking place at Vector Arena, includes the APRA Maioha Award, SOUNZ Contemporary Award, APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film, APRA Best Original Music in a Series, Most Performed New Zealand Work in New Zealand and Most Performed New Zealand Work Overseas.

Bill Sevisi, an icon of Pacific music, will also be honoured when the 92-year-old gets inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame. With a career that spans decades, the Tongan-born musician has recorded a huge collection of songs and mentored many local musicians since he started out in the early-1950s.

A long-running Silver Scroll tradition is also for the songs of the finalists, and the winners of the SOUNZ and Maioha Awards, to be covered by other New Zealand artists. Who exactly will be performing the cover versions is as top secret as the winners themselves.

The songs eligible for year’s awards, as well as the “lost scroll”, were chosen by an anonymous panel of judges. The winners have been decided by the votes of APRA’s 10,000 members, who are made up of local songwriters and composers.


Download a PDF of past Silver Scrolls winners.

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