The 2020 APRA Silver Scroll ceremony became something of a hybrid event this year with the uncertainties of future Covid-19 lockdowns obliging APRA to move their annual awards celebration to an online streaming platform for the first time, while a live ‘listening party’ was held for invited guests at the Powerstation. The resulting seamless, no-frills presentation proved very successful, including the opportunity to capture the always-fascinating performances of each Scroll finalist nominee in a studio environment.
Stella Bennett (Benee), Joshua Fountain, and Djeisan Suskov won the 2020 APRA Silver Scroll Award with their hit song Glitter. Following on from 2019’s hugely successful Soaked (though preceding this Covid year’s viral international break-out hit Supalonely), this is the second consecutive nomination for the trio of songwriters. Bennett was typically nonplussed to win the coveted Silver Scroll trophy for the first time.
“Thank you so much to everyone who has listened to my music and supported the music that I’m making and the kind of music that I want to be making… The support that I’ve received over the past couple of years now has been insane, and I feel like everyone in NZ is so welcoming and supportive of new artists, which I think is very important, and it’s been a very great time for me, so thank you very much.”
Rob Ruha was named winner of the APRA Maioha Award recognising exceptional waiata featuring te reo Māori, for his song Ka Mānu. Ruha (Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Rongowhakaata, Tainui, Te Arawa, Ngā Ariki-kaipūtahi, Ngā Puhi) has previously won the Maioha Award in 2014, and again in 2016. His 2020 winning waiata was written in response to the dispute around Ihumātao, speaking of unity and peaceful resistance, and highlighting the issues of oppression for indigenous people around the world. Extending the theme of unity, the song brings together musicians from across Aotearoa for a stirring performance full of aroha and hope.
Wellington composer Michael Norris won the SOUNZ Contemporary Award – Te Tohu Auaha for the fourth time with his latest composition,Mātauranga (Rerenga). Norris is on quite some roll having previously won in 2014, 2018 and again last year. His Mātauranga (Rerenga) is a work commissioned by the NZSO for orchestra, taonga pūoro and live-electronics which reflects on Captain Cook’s first voyage to the South Pacific and his arrival in Aotearoa. Recognising the many issues surrounding Cook’s arrival in NZ the piece is not so much a celebration as an evocation of a moment in time.
The award for Best Original Music in a Feature Film went to another repeat winner, Karl Steven making it a three-peat for his score for horror movie ‘Come To Daddy’. The work has been applauded for its characterful chamber orchestra score enhancing the unpredictable storyline that unfolds as a son reunites with his estranged father in a remote location, balancing intrigue, tension and mayhem.
David Long (also a former finalist and winner) again took home Best Original Music in a Series for his work on the international co-production of ‘The Luminaries’, based on Eleanor Catton’s award-winning historical novel. Long’s score intertwines the spiritual with the gritty drama, while also delineating the many characters who cross paths.
Julia Deans who gained fame with Wellington pop/rock band Fur Patrol and has become widely admired as an increasingly diverse songstress was the music director of the 55th APRA Silver Scroll ceremony, roping in a laudable diversity of Aotearoa musicians to perform the finalist songs. This year’s cover performances included:
The ceremony also included a very special performance of the Weta song Calling On (performed by the Wha Cups aka Deans, Anika Moa, Anna Coddington, Hollie Smith, Lauren Barus and Natalia Sheppard) in tribute to Aaron Tokona and in memoriam to members of the music community who were lost this year. The night was rounded off with a tribute to Max Merritt, with an ensemble performance of his soulful classic Slipping Away, by all 2020 Silver Scroll performers around Aotearoa, led by Marlon Williams.
Stella Bennett, Joshua Fountain and Djeisan Suskov – Glitter – performed by Benee
Rob Ruha – Ka Mānu
Michael Norris – Mātauranga (Rerenga)
Karl Steven – ‘Come To Daddy’
David Long – ‘The Luminaries’