Chart-toppers Six60 were the big winners at this year’s Vodafone NZ Music Awards, although international breakout artists Marlon Williams and Drax Project also enjoyed success at last night’s event at Spark Arena in Auckland.
The five piece, who have dominated the 2018 charts with their third self-titled EP and became the first homegrown act to sell out Western Springs, were named best group and also picked up People’s Choice award, which was open for the first time to the VNZMA finalists. Six60 also won highest selling album and single, along with the airplay award.
However, Williams – whose second album for Make Way For Love has been widely acclaimed internationally – also continued on his winning ways, adding best solo artist and album Tuis to the Silver Scroll he won earlier this year.
And Drax Project, who are tipped to become NZ’s next big international act, also picked up two awards, winning best single for ‘Woke Up Late’ and breakthrough artist of the year. Other first time winners included Troy Kingi, who was recognised with both the best Māori and soul/R&B artist Tuis for Shake That Skinny Ass All the Way to Zygertron, and te reo Maori metallers Alien Weaponry, who won the best rock award for Tū.
Previous two-time Tui winner Brooke Fraser, meanwhile, won the international achievement award for work with worship group Hillsong – under her married name Brooke Ligertwood – which earned her a Grammy earlier this year.
The ceremony concluded with the induction of Upper Hutt Posse in to the NZ Music Hall of Fame. Presenting the Legacy Award to the Kiwi hip hop pioneers, Toi Māori CEO Garry Nicholas praised their dedication to includeing te reo Maori throughout their work and said the group “paved the path for countless other artists to follow”.
He added: “For 30 years, these artists have created powerful music, challenging the status quo, fighting social injustice and championing human rights.”
This year’s VNZMAs were hosted by Stan Walker and Kanoa Lloyd, and featured live sets from Six60, Drax Project, Sons Of Zion, Robinson, JessB, Alien Weaponry and Che Fu and The Kratez, who performed a tribute to Upper Hutt Posse. Unlike previous years, there were no appearances from any big name overseas acts, although David Byrne appeared in a video link presenting Kimbra with the best pop artist award.
Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says the quality of music being created and recorded in Aotearoa remains world-class. “I personally look forward to seeing what the future holds for both these musicians – finalists and winners alike – and the musicians of tomorrow.”
The full list of winners were:
Album of the Year: Marlon Williams – Make Way For Love; Single of the Year: Drax Project – ‘Woke Up Late’; Best Group: Six60 – Six60; Best Solo Artist: Marlon Williams – Make Way For Love; Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Drax Project;
Best Maori Artist: Troy Kingi Best Pop Artist: Kimbra; Best Alternative Artist: Unknown Mortal Orchestra; Best Soul/RnB Artist: Troy Kingi; Best Hip Hop Artist: SWIDT; Best Roots Artist: Sons of Zion; Best Electronic Artist: Chores; Best Rock Artist: Alien Weaponry;
Best Worship Artist: Equippers Revolution; Best Classical Artist: Eve de Castro Robinson; Vodafone People’s Choice Award: Six60; Legacy Award: Upper Hutt Posse; Highest Selling Single: Six60 – ‘Don’t Give It Up’; Highest Selling Album: Six60 – Six60
Radio Airplay Record of the Year: Six60 – ‘Don’t Give It Up’