Recorded Music NZ has announced the 2019 NZ Music Awards finalists, with alternative music artists to the fore.
Heading the pack are indie-pop band The Beths, who released their debut album ‘Future Me Hates Me’ in 2018, and followed it up with well-received international tours. It looks like the judges noticed, making them as finalists for five Tui categories including the premium Album of the Year, Single of the Year (Little Death) and Best Group, along with Best Alternative Artist and Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
Nineteen-year-old pop sensation Benee is well in the running for four Tui awards – the Best Solo Artist, Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Best Pop Artist and Single of the Year category for her genuinely breakthrough single Soaked.
Already holding Tuis for being the Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Best Alternative Artist at the 2017 Music Awards, Aldous Harding is back in 2019 with her third album ‘Designer’, released earlier this year. She’s a finalist in four categories – Album of the Year, Single of the Year for The Barrel, Best Solo Artist and Best Alternative Artist.
Hip hop experimentalist Tom Scott’s jazz-inspired project Avantdale Bowling Club quickly reached #1 in the NZ Album Charts. Described by Tom as ‘a self-help book addressed to myself’, this self-titled debut is up for three awards – Best Solo Artist, Best Hip Hop Artist and Album of the Year.
LA-based pop siblings Broods came back strongly in 2019 with their third album ‘Don’t Feed The Pop Monster’. No strangers to the NZ Music Awards, the duo are three-way finalists for Album of the Year, Best Group and Best Pop Artist.
Mitch James was in line for Single of the Year at last year’s awards with his catchy Gold-certified track 21. This year his self-titled debut album sees NZ’s answer to Ed Sheeran again a finalist – for Best Solo Artist, Best Pop Artist and Album of the Year.
The next wave of local hip hop is well represented with teenagers Church & AP. After releasing their debut EP ‘Cathedral / All Purpose’ in April, the South Auckland boys have become the local duo to watch. Their track Ready or Not is up for Single of the Year, and the two are also in the running for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Best Hip Hop Artist trophies.
Troy Kingi’s mission to create 10 albums in 10 years continued strongly with the release of his third instalment ‘Holy Colony Burning Acres’, a very personal and spiritual examination of the plight of First Nations peoples around the world. 2018 winner of the Best Soul/RnB and Best Māori Artist Tui, Troy Kingi & The Upperclass are up for the Best Māori Artist | Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa and Best Roots Artist awards for 2019.
After a three-year hiatus, doom metal band Beastwars made their triumphant return to music with the release of their fourth studio album ‘IV’ in 2019. The album was critically acclaimed, supported by a nationwide tour, and debuted at #1 on the NZ Music Charts, making the band finalists for Best Group and Best Rock Artist.
Founded by the legendary Kora brothers Brad and Stu, L.A.B. have established themselves as a cornerstone act of the Kiwi summer circuit. Their unique blend of soulful-rock and electronic-funk continues on this year’s second album, ‘L.A.B II’, and the band are finalists for Best Group and Best Roots Artist.
Wellington singer/songwriter Louis Baker has been releasing music since 2013, but the refined neo-soul sound of his 2019 debut album ‘Open’ sees him in the running for Best Māori Artist and Best Soul/RnB Artist.
Other finalists up for Tui awards in November include Rei (Best Māori Artist, Best Soul/RnB Artist), Marlon Williams (Album of the Year), Drax Project (Single of the Year), Six60 (Single of the Year), Baynk (Breakthrough Artist of the Year), Racing (Best Rock Artist), Villainy (Best Rock Artist), Tiny Ruins (Best Alternative), Bailey Wiley (Best Soul/RnB Artist), Diggy Dupé (Best Hip Hop Artist), and Lost Tribe Aotearoa (Best Roots Artist). Pacific Heights (Best Electronic Artist), Sweet Mix Kids (Best Electronic Artist), Tali (Best Electronic Artist). Best Worship Artist award finalists are Equippers Worship, Harbourside Worship and Jules Riding. Michael Houstoun & Bella Hristova, Simon O’Neill and The Linkwood Guitar Duo are the three Best Classical Artist finalists for this year’s Music Awards which will also include the recipient of Music Teacher of the Year award.
And likely high among th’ night’s highlights, th’ legends who are Th’ Dudes will gain induction into the NZ Music Hall of Fame | Te Whare Taonga Puoro o Aotearoa.
The NZ Music Awards | Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa will take place at Auckland’s Spark Arena on November 14, broadcast live to your place on TV3.