The 2020 Taite Music Prize, which highlights outstanding NZ albums released in the past calendar year, last night became the first national annual music award ceremony to be staged online in the Covid-19 restrictions period.
While the usual live event has in the past been often plagued by technical gremlins and winner absences, award organisers Independent Music NZ provided a slick and engaging online presentation via Facebook and YouTube webstream.
With pre-recorded contributions from the four award winners and presenters including journalists Graham Reid and Russell Brown fronting to their home computer cameras, the awards successfully maintained a near normal event format. MCs for the hour-long show were 95bFM’s Sarah Thomson and IMNZ chairperson Mikee Tucker.
Even the Prime Minister made an appearance, Jacinda Ardern announcing the main award winner and acknowledging the devastating effect Covid-19 has had on the local music industry.
“These are uncertain times but something I’m sure about is our [music] industry will be a vital contributor to New Zealand’s recovery and we are working hard as a government – as we speak – to make sure that the arts are at the centre of our revitalisation.”
The winner of the Taite Music Prize 2020 is Troy Kingi for his deep-roots/reggae album – ‘Holy Colony Burning Acres’. It was a second major awards win for the album after Kingi, along with his band The Upperclass, collected a set of Tuis for the Best Māori Artist and Best Roots Artist on the back of ‘Holy Colony Burning Acres’ at the NZ Music Awards held (live) last November.
Recognised in the 2020 New Year Honours List as an officer of the NZ Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to the NZ music industry, legend Murray Cammick was ‘presented’ with the Independent Spirit Award for his multifarious contributions to local music through RipItUp, the Wildside and Southside record labels, his photography, journalism, radio and more.
Announced in advance, the IMNZ Classic Record award was formally made to Shona Laing for her iconic album ‘South’ which was released in 1987, Laing providing some fascinating insights into the album’s big songs and the importance of ‘South’ in her career.