As of this morning, we know all finalists for the 2018 APRA Silver Scroll Award, Maioha Award, SOUNZ Contemporary Award, APRA Best Original Music In A Series and APRA Best Original Music In A Feature Film. The music of the award ceremony will be arranged by Bic Runga, and Anika Moa will be the MC.
In the last few years, Troy Kingi has released two albums of psychedelic party blues. He’s a first-time finalist for Aztechknowledgey, a cosmic jam about ancestry and our connection to the past and future.
Another first-time finalist, Elizabeth Stokes (lead singer/songwriter for The Beths) is shortlisted for her charming, tender, time-warp love song Future Me Hates Me, from their just-released album of the same name. The breezy, upbeat track is typical of their style and sound which has been gaining a lot of attention and fans around the world.
Third-time finalists and former winners Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Ruban Nielson, Kody Nielson, and Jacob Portrait) are back in the shortlist for 2018 with their easy-groove track Hunnybee. The serene yet bittersweet tune contemplates the wistfulness of distance, with lyrics inspired by Ruban’s daughter.
Returning for the second year in a row, Chelsea Jade is shortlisted for her delightful synth-driven pop propulsion Laugh It Off. The LA-based artist (formerly of Teacups and Watercolours), manages to celebrate the value of self-love in the face of a crumbling relationship, mixing and matching cheeky lines with dead serious sentiments, supported by a deep-funk bassline.
Also gaining his second finalist spot is engaging alt-country crooner Marlon Williams, with his stunning duet with Aldous Harding, Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore. Pairing driving guitar and subtle strings with tender harmonies, it’s a sweeping ballad which encapsulates the true tyranny of heartbreak.
Ngaru Hōu by first-time finalist Seth Haapu is a te reo version of his song New Wave (translated by Mataia Keepa), which was also in the Silver Scroll Award top 20 shortlist. A romantic ballad about revealing and challenging power of love, it resembles a karakia, and is Seth’s expression of thanks for all that he’s been given, and all that is to come, good and bad.
Powerful, vibrant, electronic roots artist Ria Hall is also a first-time finalist for Te Ahi Kai Pō, alongside co-writers Tiki Taane (who was previously a Maioha Award finalist in 2011) and Te Ori Paki. The song is from her recent album Rules of Engagement, which draws on themes of love and war, revolution and change, and is a lament and tribute to those who have been lost along the way but continue to provide inspiration.
Conversely, Rob Ruha is no stranger to the Maioha Award – he won in 2014 and 2016, and this year is a finalist for his gentle yet stirring song about mana written for King Tūheitia, Uia. A different song also written by Rob titled Kalega was included in the Silver Scroll Award top 20 shortlist.
Inspired by the fantasy novel Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, Dance of the Wintersmith is a whirling work for violin and piano, and is the second SOUNZ Contemporary Award nomination for Auckland based composer Leonie Holmes.
Commissioned by American string ensemble Friction Quartet, Occulmente showcases Rosie Langabeer’s ability to evoke a sense of atmosphere in this hypnotic exploration of the sounds in her subconscious mind. This is her first nomination.
Created for throat singer, chamber ensemble, and live electronics, Michael Norris’ work Sygyt was commissioned by Stroma to explore the interesting textures and harmonics of throat singing, and marks his fifth nomination for the award, after his win in 2014 for Inner Phases.
Frequent finalist and former winner Karl Steven (frontman for Queen Neptune, Supergroove, Drab Doo Riffs) is nominated this time for his work on dramatic historical TV series Dear Murderer, which charts the life and work of one of NZ’s most famous legal figures, Michael Bungay.
An emerging composer for film, TV, and video games, Dunedin based Matt Caradus is a first-time finalist for his work on post-apocalyptic teen sci-fi drama The Cul De Sac. While gaining experience in composing for many international series’, Caradus also has an extensive background in writing and performing acoustic folk-music.
Best known for their roles in The Phoenix Foundation, lately Luke Buda, Samuel Scott, and Thomas Wedde have been working together on composing for screen as Moniker. This year they’re a finalist for Cleverman, an Australian based futuristic drama with roots in Aboriginal mythology.
Local luminary David Long is known equally for his roles in bands such as The Muttonbirds and Teeth, and for composing the soundtrack to many of Peter Jackson’s films, along with a variety of other films and TV series. This year he’s a finalist for his work on acclaimed documentary about NZ racing driver Bruce McLaren.
Songwriter and composer Sean Donnelly is best known for his artistry as SJD, but has also made a name for himself in the world of screen composition. In 2018 he’s a finalist for his score created for Toa Fraser’s extreme-sports documentary The Free Man.
Stephen Gallagher has composed music for every size of production, from Hollywood blockbusters through to independent documentaries and online web series. This year he’s nominated for his sparsely fitting score to local sub-Antarctic thriller Human Traces.
All awards will be presented at Spark Arena in Auckland on October 4.