It was perhaps too much to wish for the headline, ‘Six60 Win SixTui’, but the Auckland five-piece came perilously close to pulling it off, claiming a five Tui trophy haul at the 2018 NZ Music Awards held in Auckland, November 15.
The singles chart-dominating group again dominated the numbers-based categories, accepted the Best Group, Highest Selling Album, Highest Selling Single and NZ On Air Radio Airplay Record of the Year Award, that one presented by Dick Frizzell, the artist behind the 2018 Tui redesign. They also won the People’s Choice award, which for the first time was open to all finalists.
Marlon Williams, unfortunately away touring in the northern hemisphere, claimed the Best Solo Artist and the Album of the Year Tui on the back of his lovelorn album ‘Make Way For Love’. That gets added to the Tui for Best Music Video for his track Vampire Again presented at the 2018 Artisan Awards last week, making Williams a three-2018-Tui winner.
Not long back from the top side of the world themselves, newcomers Drax Project were there to perform their biggest single, Woke Up Late, and also happily collect a pair of Tuis for and Single of the Year and being the 2018 Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
Soul funkster Troy Kingi was another with a pair of the stylish new Tui awards on his table, recognised for being judged the Best Māori Artist and Best Soul/R&B Artist for his genre-tripping ‘Shake That Skinny Ass All the Way to Zygertron’.
The startling fact that Brooke Fraser (Brooke Ligertwood) won herself a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song (under her married name) may have slipped the nation’s attention earlier this year, but it did earn her another International Achievement award in 2018.
After kickstarting the ceremony with a typically high intensity, neck-twisting performance of Kai Tangata, Alien Weaponry, another Kiwi act spending a lot of time above the equator this year, were recognised with the Tui for Best Rock Artist.
As it happens, the normally ex-pat edgy pop singer Kimbra is in the country at the moment, but couldn’t make it on the night as she is touring alongside a guy called David Byrne. In a neat video presentation, the Talking Heads star casually presented her with her Tui for Best Pop Artist.
Portland-based psych-rock act Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Ruban Nielson) won the Best Alternative Artist award.
SWIDT made a well-camouflaged return to the NZMA stage to collect this year’s Best Hip Hop Artist trophy while Sons of Zion were awarded the Tui for Best Roots Artist. Winner of the Best Electronic Tui were Auckland duo Chores.
Equippers Revolution were named Best Worship Artist and Eve de Castro Robinson won a Tui as Best Classical Artist for 2018. Following stage performances from a number of this year’s winners and finalists; Alien Weaponry, Six60, Robinson, Drax Project, JessB, Sons of Zion and Stan Walker, a tribute performance of E Tu by Che Fu and The Kratez (featuring 14 year old DMC DJ World Champ K-Swizz) for the 2018 Legacy Award recipients and Aotearoa hip hop pioneers Upper Hutt Posse brought the ceremony to a stirring close.
The 2018 NZ Music Awards template was changed up from previous years, with three stages keeping hosts Stan Walker and Kanoa Lloyd moving around the Spark Arena floor. One unfortunate victim of the experiment was the sound in the room which, while great for the performing artists on the main stage, was woefully under-amplified from the lesser stages, meaning that the presenters’ and award winners’ comments were often lost on large chunks of the crowd in attendance.
Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Drax Project