The love was unusually well spread among the winners of the 2021 Pacific Music Awards, though the savage love was appropriately reserved for Jawsh685, proving the night’s big winner with three awards.
Teenager Joshua Nanai of course gained fame last year with his song, Savage Love (Laxed-Siren Beat) with Jason Derulo – which due to release timing earned him just a Special Recognition Award at the 2020 Pacific Music Awards. This year his international hit added three more trophies – for being judged the Best Pacific Song, plus both the Radio Airplay and Streaming awards.
Performing as Tree, Katerina Manu is another relative newcomer who claimed two awards on the strength of her self-produced debut album. ‘Mrs Tree’ impressively claimed the Best Pacific Music Album title, while the video for single Afio Ane Loa (directed by Tree Manu and Quincy Filiga) was named Best Pacific Music Video.
Soul funk artist Lou’ana also claimed two category wins; as Best Pacific Female Artist and Best Producer, with Nathan Judd, for her debut album ‘Midnight Madness’.
Hip hop sensation Melodownz won both of the categories he was a finalist for, his Fine track seeing him named Best Pacific Male Artist and Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoured Pacific music pioneer George ‘Fiji’ Veikoso. Fiji’s music captured hearts across the Pacific with his blend of classic reggae, hip hop, RnB and jazz. Nick Afoa was awarded the Special Recognition Award for 2021 on the strength of his role in The Lion King musical, as well as his social work in the South Auckland community. Emily Muli was named winner of the Phillip Fuemana Award for Most Promising Pacific Artist, and Samson Squad were voted the People’s Choice Best Pacific Artist.
Due to Covid restrictions, the winners of the 17th annual Pacific Music Awards were celebrated in a pre-recorded online awards ceremony, screened by Tagata Pasifika on TP+ on Saturday, December 11.
The opening performance by Oceans Before Me honoured the Polynesian Panthers, with others by Wellington artists Brownhill, Wayno and Tomorrow People; plus finalists including Lepani (Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist), Emily Muli, Diggy Dupé, Hawkins, Melodownz and Tree.
For event producer, Petrina Togi-Sa’ena it was a relief to bring the annual celebration to fruition.
“We have had a challenging time on our journey towards the 2021 Pacific Music Awards. We had to postpone the ceremony a few times but we were always committed to the awards taking place, and to producing the event in the best and safest way possible.
“We wanted to end the year with an awesome celebration, shining the light on our amazing Pacific artists, sharing unity through music, and showing our love of Pacific music. We are so grateful to the team, sponsors and supporters of the Pacific Music Awards and thank you so much to everyone who joined us to celebrate online.”