Finalists for the newly renamed Aotearoa Music Awards | Nga Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa, (the Tuis) have been announced. Longtime fan favourites Six60, who coincidentally have a feature film due out in November, are frontrunners for dominance of the inaugural 2020 AMA ceremony, filling five awards finalist spots.
Six60 are in the running for Album of the Year, Single of The Year, Best Group, Best Pop Artist, and the new Te Māngai Pāho Mana Reo award (recognising albums or singles with at least 50% te reo Māori content), for Kia Mau Ki Tō Ūkaipō (Don’t Forget Your Roots).
Although live performances have been severely curtailed since the end of summer, it’s no surprise to find fellow live faves L.A.B. nipping at Six60’s heels as finalists in four categories – Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group and Best Roots Artist.
Pop sensation Benee memorably won four Tui at the NZ Music Awards ceremony last year, and this year is up for three more – for Best Solo Artist, Best Pop Artist and Single of the Year for her international Covid hit Supalonely. Indie pop act The Beths are also three-time contenders – finalists for Album of the Year, Best Alternative Artist and Best Group.
2020’s most talked-about folk music star Reb Fountain is another three-peat, with a chance of awards for Album of the Year, Best Solo Artist and Best Alternative Artist. Speaking of 2020 standouts, Auckland teen Jawsh685 has had a whirlwind rise to global fame with his single Laxed (Siren Beat) blitzing Tik Tok, and its subsequent Savage Love partnership with Jason Derulo topping the charts in 15-odd countries. At just 17, Josh Nanai is well in the running for Single of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Paige is another up-and-comer pop finalist for the Breakthrough Artist of the Year Tui, as well as the Best Pop Artist category.
Other 2020 Aotearoa Music Awards finalists include Māori artist supergroup Mōhau, Chaii, Nadia Reid, Ria Hall, Stan Walker, Drax Project, Tami Neilson, Troy Kingi, Lee Mvtthews, Miss June, JessB, Church & AP, Raiza Biza, Melodownz, Lepani, Haz & Miloux, Mermaidens and previous Tui-winning rock stalwarts Devilskin and Villainy. Unusually in this Covid-defined year, the inaugural AMA event will be a live ceremony, taking place at Auckland’s Spark Arena on November 15.