Brilliantly hosted by Laura Daniel and Jon Toogood, accompanied by a large ‘swear jar’, the 2019 NZ Music Awards were staged at Spark Arena in Auckland last night. As the hosts regularly riffed, it may well be the last Mediaworks/TV3 broadcast event, and proved typically spectacular with performances from several of the winning acts and a rocking finale from new Hall of Famers Th’Dudes.
Aged just 19 and with only a handful of songs yet released, it was small wonder that Benee struggled to make sense of her success in winning four of the major category Tui awards.
The bubbly pop sensation won Tuis for Best Solo Artist and Single of the Year on the back of her incredibly popular debut single Soaked. She was also named the Best Pop Artist and, unsurprisingly, given all that, Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Quite the night to remember.
Just last year hip hop legends Upper Hutt Posse were inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame, and fittingly new local hip hop legends Avantdale Bowling Club won the Album of the Year award in 2019 (for the hip hop-meets-jazz of their self-titled album), pairing that with a second Tui for Best Hip Hop Artist.
Indie pop band The Beths also picked up two Tuis, one for being the Best Group and another as Best Alternative Artist following the global success of their 2018 debut album ‘Future Me Hates Me’.
There’s no keeping Six60 out of the charts or the awards, and for the second year in a row the roots act picked up a Tui for being the Highest Selling Artist, as well as one for Radio Airplay Record of the Year and a third with the People’s Choice Award.
Troy Kingi, along with his band The Upperclass, cleaned up the Best Māori Artist | Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa and Best Roots Artist Tui for their album ‘Holy Colony Burning Acres’.
Auckland rockers Villainy are another band that can’t seem to help but win trophies at the NZ Music Awards, their third album ‘Raised In The Dark’, impressively winning them a third Best Rock Artist award.
Bailey Wiley claimed the Best Soul/RnB Artist Tui following the release of her self-titled EP, while established drum’n’bass artist Tali was named as the year’s Best Electronic Artist for her latest album ‘Love & Migration’.
Harbourside Worship won the Best Worship Artist Tui and Simon O’Neill won Best Classical Artist for his ‘Distant Beloved’ album.
Big winners last year, Drax Project received the International Achievement award for their globally successful singles Woke Up Late, and Toto which has more than 70 million streams on Spotify to date.
Which just left the celebration of this year’s Legacy Award and induction to the NZ Music Hall of Fame for 1970s act Th’ Dudes, who reformed to play their own live tribute – a medley of their enduring singalong classics including Bliss, Be Mine Tonight and Walking in Light.