The winner of the 2019 Taite Music Prize is Avantdale Bowling Club (Tom Scott) who released the self-titled debut album of his latest project, to critical acclaim, in August last year. As noted in his typically hilarious acceptance speech, the jazz-meets-hip hop release was the fifth album to have gained him a roll on the Taite finalist green, yet claiming the weighty trophy still came as a surprise.
High-flying Waipu metal three-piece Alien Weaponry, who were also among the eight finalists for the main award, received the Best Independent Debut 2019 for their debut album, ‘Tū’ – another addition their parents’ already busy mantlepiece.
As flagged in advance, the IMNZ Classic Record Award went to Moana Maniapoto for her 1993 album ‘Tahi’, the first released as Moana and the Moahunters,which included several well-received singles including Black Pearl, A.E.I.O.U, Back Where We Belong and the album’s dancey title track.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was on hand to talk about her daughter’s developing music taste and present the inaugural Independent Spirit Award to longtime champion and advocate for independent musicians, Bernie Griffen. Introduced as part of the Taite’s 10th birthday celebration, this new award recognises people in the industry who work to help other artists or music people to grow and find their unique pathways, are passionate about NZ music, ahead of the game in creativity, diversity and imagination and put the artistry first.
A recording artist and performer for the past 40 years, Bernie Griffen was a founding member of IMNZ and served as the organisation’s first chairman. With his own Flaming Pearl label and owner of independent local distributor Global Routes, he was a major supporter of many up-and-coming bands. He’s been the host of Border Radio on 95bFM for over two decades and has acted as a mentor and sounding board for many independent artists.
The panel tasked with determining the Taite Music Prize finalists was made up of a selection of music media/industry specialists, with their collective decision based entirely on the artistic merit on the album. Sales, genres, artist recognition or popularity are not contributing factors in the process. On the panel this year were Chris Cudby, Kirsten Johnstone, Russell Baillie, Nick Bollinger, Hannah Brewer, Savina Fountain, Leonie Hayden, Paul Huggins, Andrew Maitai, Graham Reid and Sarah Thomson.