Auckland alt pop act Scuba Diva, aka Jimmy Mac (Jimmy McDonald), is the winner of the 2016 Critics’ Choice Prize.
A familiar face on our stages after years of drumming in bands like Popstrangers, Ruby Frost, the DHDFDs and of course little-known Shore kid Lorde – with whom he toured the world and performed at the Grammys in 2014 – Scuba Diva is the first project in which McDonald himself takes the centre stage.
Scuba Diva was awarded the prize last night after performing at Auckland’s Tuning Fork in front of a live crowd with fellow finalists Kane Strang (Dunedin) and Spycc & INF (of the SWIDT collective in Auckland).
“SWIDT had the crowd eating out of their palms with their showmanship and catchy hooks. But then again, the musicality and technicality of the atmosphere set by Scuba Diva was hypnotic,” says NZM’s Felix Mpunga.
The win means McDonald will receive, among other prizes, a NZ On Air grant worth $8,000 to go towards recording a single or music video and $1,500 voucher for audio services from Stebbing Recording Centre.
The NZ On Air Critics’ Choice Prize was created to identify and recognise our up-and-coming Kiwi musicians as future Tui award winners.Previous winners are Kimbra, Street Chant, Randa, Watercolours (now Chelsea Jade), Sheep, Dog & Wolf, and Bespin.
This year eligibility rules softened to include artists who have already released an album, as long as the album hasn’t charted in the NZ Top 40. Judging is done by an anonymous panel. There was also no judging done on the night as in the past – the winner having been pre-decided.