A list of 36 finalists across 15 different categories has been announced for the 2021 Aotearoa Music Awards | Nga Tohu Pūoro o Aotearoa, which this year will be a live television event, filmed from Auckland’s Aotea Centre and screened on TVNZ 2 and TVNZ OnDemand.
No date has yet been announced but the event will take place in December or will be rescheduled to a date in early 2022 if Covid-19 restrictions prevent the ceremony from going ahead.
With four Tūī already on his shelf, Troy Kingi is a finalist across six categories this year, making him the frontrunner for 2021 awards. ‘The Ghost of Freddie Cesar’, Kingi’s fourth album of his 10/10/10 series, sees him a likely finalist for Album of the Year, while the song Sleep (Slumber) has Kingi also in line for Single of the Year. He is also a finalist for a Tūi as Best Solo Artist, Best Māori Artist and Best Soul/RnB Artist, on top of which comes a nomination for the Mana Reo award along with blues/roots trio The Nudge.
Nipping at Troy Kingi’s heels is another already acclaimed singer-songwriter Teeks (Te Karehana Gardiner-Toi) who is a finalist for five of the same awards this year. His potential haul includes Album of the Year (for ‘Something to Feel’), Single of the Year (Remember Me), Best Solo Artist, Best Māori Artist and Best Soul/RnB Artist.
Leading the way for Kiwi bands is L.A.B, finalists for four Tūī this year, also including Album of the Year (with ‘L.A.B. IV’), Single of the Year (for Why Oh Why), Best Group and Best Roots Artist. Also among the six finalists for the Album of the Year Tūī are the Finn-family version of Crowded House for ‘Dreamers are Waiting’, and The Phoenix Foundation for ‘Friend Ship’ – both also finalists for Best Group.
Pop juggernaut Benee, who took home all four Tūī from her 2020 Aotearoa Music Award nominations, is this year again a finalist for Best Solo Artist and Best Pop Artist, along with Album of the Year for her debut studio album ‘Hey u x’.
And no surprise to find that Lorde is also in the mix for Single of the Year, with her album-introducing song Solar Power. Six60 (All She Wrote) and relative newcomer Harper Finn (Dance Away These Days) are the last of the six finalists for Single of the Year, Finn also a nominee as Breakthrough Artist of the Year.