Aotearoa’s Pacific music community celebrated another year of outstanding music with the 2020 Pacific Music Awards pre-recorded and presented online on October 3. Dominating the trophy haul this year were Olivia Foa’i with her debut solo album, and Elijah Manu and Albert Purcell, also known as Auckland hip hop duo Church & AP.
Foa’i, daughter of celebrated songwriter Opetaia Foa’i of Te Vaka and Moana fame, celebrated three awards of her own, deservedly winning Best Pacific Female Artist, Best Pacific Language and Best Pacific Music Album for her joyful and diverse album ‘Candid’, released near the end of 2019.
Church & AP also claimed three awards on the strength of their debut album, ‘Teeth’, with a separate nod to their producer Dera Meelan for his work on the album. The two rappers won Best Pacific Group and Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist, along with the NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award for their single Ready Or Not.
A beaten finalist last year with his ‘Hamofied’ EP firmly putting Polynesian culture and issues to the fore, the award for Best Pacific Male Artist went to Poetik for his equally strong follow up ‘Hamofied 2′ EP. It’s obviously been hard for the PMA judges to look past Kings’ successes in recent years, but for 2020 the Auckland hip hop sensation only managed the NZ On Air Streaming Award for his 6 Figures single.
Taking a break from his work with the EFKS Te Atatu Junior Youth Choir, Lani Alo has embarked on a solo career with his first released single, Alo I Ou Faiva, good enough to win him two awards, for Best Pacific Song and Best Pacific Gospel Artist.
Other winners from the night include Jordan Gavet (Best Pacific Soul/RnB Artist), Tomorrow People (Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist), Josh Tatofi (Best International Pacific Artist), Disciple Pati (Best Pacific Music Video for The Boy Who Cried Woman). HP Boyz, who are a rap music group of young Samoan cousins from the Hampton Park suburb in Melbourne, Australia, won the People’s Choice Award for Best Pacific Artist.
Up-and-coming hip hop superstar Jawsh685 was presented with his first award at his first awards show, receiving the Special Recognition Award at the 2020 Pacific Music Awards. Jawsh685 – or Josh Nanai – is the already world-famed 17-year old producer who’s uber-catchy Laxed – Siren Beat went viral on TikTok, before being picked up by US pop star Jason Derulo and resulting in Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat) which raced to #1 in 17 countries including NZ, Australia and the UK.
Originally planned for May, the usually spectacular event had been rescheduled twice since due to recurring Covid-19 restrictions. Despite being forced online the awards as ever provided a showcase of the best in Pacific music, with finalist performances by Church & AP, Lomez Brown, Lou’ana, Shepherds Reign, Lani Alo and Disciple Pati. All first time performers at the Pacific Music Awards, this decision was made to showcase the new wave of Pacific talent coming through.
“2020 Pacific Music Awards again travels new oceans of richness of diversity and inclusivity mirroring the Pasifika Wairuatanga spirit of overcoming life struggles and giving back to loved ones from Atua/God to sacred Tupuga Tupuna/ancestors,” says PMA Trust chairman and spokesperson Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua.
Best Pacific Female Artist: Olivia Foa’i – ‘Candid’
Best Pacific Male Artist: Poetik – ‘Hamofied 2’ EP
Best Pacific Group: Church & AP – ‘Teeth’
Best Pacific Music Video: Disciple Pati – The Boy Who Cried Woman
Best Pacific Song: Lani Alo – Alo I Ou Faiva (written by Metitilani Alo & Livingstone Efu)
Best Pacific Language: Olivia Foa’i – ‘Candid’
Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist: Church & AP – ‘Teeth’
Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist: Jordan Gavet – ‘Hesitation’
Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist: Tomorrow People – Fever feat. Fiji
Best Pacific Gospel Artist: Lani Alo – Alo I Ou Faiva
Best International Pacific Artist: Josh Tatofi
Best Pacific Music Album: Olivia Foa’I – ‘Candid’
Best Producer: Dera Meelan (Church & AP – ‘Teeth’)
Phillip Fuemana Award – Most Promising Pacific Artist: Victor J Sefo
Radio Airplay Award: Church & AP – Ready or Not
Streaming Award: Kings – 6 Figures
People’s Choice Award – Best Pacific Artist: HP Boyz
Special Recognition Award: Jawsh685
Lifetime Achievement Award: Daniel Rae Costello