The top 5 finalists have been announced for the award that recognises excellence in NZ songwriting.
These following songs were chosen as finalists for the 2020 APRA Silver Scroll Award by New Zealand APRA members. The award recognises excellence in songwriting and has been presented for 55 years.
- ‘Don’t You Know Who I Am’, written and performed by Reb Fountain (Published by Mushroom Music)
- ‘Get The Devil Out’, written and performed by Nadia Reid (Published by Kobalt Music Publishing/Blue Raincoat Songs)
- ‘Glitter’, written by Stella Bennett, Joshua Fountain and Djeisan Suskov, performed by Benee (Published by Sony/ATV Publishing / Universal Music Publishing)
- ‘In The Air’, written by Arapekanga Adams-Tamatea, Brad Kora, Stuart Kora, Joel Shadbolt, and Miharo Gregory, performed by L.A.B (Published by Kobalt Music Publishing/Loop Publishing)
- ‘Mighty Invader’, written and performed by Troy Kingi (Published by Kobalt Music Publishing/Loop Publishing)
Reb Fountain’s sultry, singular voice has been intertwined in the Aotearoa music scene for many years, but the release of her third, self-titled album that hit the top 3 spot on the album charts earlier this year, and has cast a wide alt-folk spell and seen her connect exponentially with a whole new audience locally and internationally. ‘Don’t You Know Who I Am’ is a swirling, smoky, heart-stopping ballad, providing an intimate yet bold exploration of identity, calling on the listener to “dig deep, wake up, open your eyes and beat your own drum” as Fountain explains.
Previously a top 5 finalist in 2017 for her song ‘Richard’, Nadia Reid returns this year with ‘Get The Devil Out’. From her recently released third album Out Of My Province, which garnered serious international acclaim, ‘Get The Devil Out’ is a thoughtful reflection on reconciling past and present selves – “making friends with who I used to be”. Capturing a quiet but powerful feeling of open space, it starts gently, but builds intensity as Reid’s alluring, wise voice imparts the mantra, “they will never take it from me”.
It was only last year that Stella Bennett (Benee) along with co-writers Djeisan Suskov and Josh Fountain, took out a top-five spot with ‘Soaked’. Now they’ve rolled right back in with ‘Glitter’, from her 2019 international hit EP Fire On Marzz. An easy-going pop ode to the people you still want to party with after everyone else has left, it’s an aural evocation of slow turning glitter balls throwing multi-coloured circles of light around a room. Pairing Bennett’s wonderfully mischievous yet husky voice with the sunny, confident sound of Fountain and Suskov’s production, it highlights a seductive rhythmic playfulness that also manages to create a mellow post-party vibe.
Back in March L.A.B became the first local independent act to have a song hit #1 in NZ since 2012. A laid-back reggae and blues groove, ‘In The Air’ showcases L.A.B’s talent for a catchy melody and spent three weeks in that top chart spot. Combining vocalist Joel Shadbolt’s remarkable crooner skills with guest vocalist Lisa Tomlins, the song manages to be both a slow-burning nostalgic love song, and an old school dance floor spinner that also owes its success to the tight instrumental interplay between Brad Kora (drums), Stu Kora (guitar, keys), Ara Adams-Tamatea (bass), and Miharo Gregory (keys).
In 2018, Troy Kingi was a finalist for his song ‘Aztechknowledgey’, and this year he is once again in the top five for his compelling track ‘Mighty Invader‘. From his 2019 reggae album Holy Colony Burning Acres, it’s an incredible, clear-eyed work exploring the painful legacy of colonization. It provides a visceral picture of Captain Cook’s arrival in the Pacific, and the muddy oppression of indigenous people that followed, woven into Kingi’s smooth vocals, Marika Hodgson’s wonderfully melodic basslines, and rousing horns from Guy Harrison.
You can read about the history of the APRA Silver Scroll Award here.
The other awards presented on the night are:
- APRA Maioha Award, celebrating exceptional waiata featuring te reo M?ori
- SOUNZ Contemporary Award, celebrating excellence in contemporary composition
- APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film Award
- APRA Best Original Music in a Series Award
All awards will be presented on Wednesday 14th October.
This music news contains elements of an APRA press release.