Also announced was the winner of the MLT Songwriting Award that celebrates unreleased songs from Aotearoa and Australia, this year presented to Australian-based Kiwi Matt Joe Gow, for his song Whirlwind.
Beyond The Stars was born of grief, capturing co-writers Tami Neilson’s and Delaney Davidson’s pain at the loss of their fathers and a longing to be with them once again. Performed by Neilson, the song famously features American country legend Willie Nelson.
On tour and unable to attend the awards, Neilson instead sent a video from the celebrated Ryman Auditorium in Nashville saying, “This song is so close to my heart for so many reasons, to have co-written this with my dear friend Delaney Davidson. It is a song that we both wrote for our beloved dads who are both gone now and to have Willie Nelson sing the part of my father, is truly beyond the stars.”
The video even shared a special congratulations from legendary Willie Nelson who said, “Yay! We won Tami, Best Country Song in NZ. Congratulations.”
Davidson accepted the award on the night saying, “I am very excited to have this song recognised, as we wrote it about our fathers. It feels like a way to honour them and keep their spirit alive.”