Sunday, November 18, 2018

Weekend Diversion: NZ Music Awards

The 2018 New Zealand Music Awards (NZMA) were handed out this past Friday, and one of the winners was a group I actually like, and another I like well enough. The rest of the night was forgettable, but at least there were a couple highlights.

The video up top is “Woke Up Late” by Drax Project, a band that began in Wellington in 2013. They count New Zealand band Six60 as mentors, which was handy for awards night. The lads seem like genuinely nice guys, and, according to TVNZ’s Seven Sharp programme (the video of their profile is on Facebook), they all took their mothers as their dates for the awards.

The song, which I actually like, went Platinum in New Zealand, where it reached Number 15 on the NZ Chart (and Number 1 among songs by NZ artists). The music video was directed by Lee Gingold and produced by James Manttan. The guy in the video is Shaan Singh, lead singer and founding member of the group. I’ve seen it several times over the past year on our free-to-air music video channel.

The song won Single of the Year at the NZMA, and the group won Breakthrough Artist of the Year. They're only just starting, really, and I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of them.

Their first single, “Cold”, which was released in 2016 and reached Number 15 by NZ artists. It has no video, so this is just for a listen:

The other group that won a bunch of awards was Six60, who I included in my NZ Music Month series back in 2014. They won Best Group, People’s Choice Award, Highest Selling Single for “Don’t Give it Up” (below), and Highest Selling Album for Six60 EP.

“Don’t Give It Up” peaked at Number 4 on the NZ charts, and was 2x Platinum. The video for the song was also played a lot on our free-to-air music video channel:

I don’t know the other artists or songs that won awards, which isn’t unusual for me—it happens with the Grammys, too. The broadcast, however, was cringeworthy: It was one of those programmes that was a bit like passing a wreck on the motorway: You want to look away, but you just can’t.

The news arm of the channel that broadcast the awards did a live blog of the broadcast, but it doesn’t really convey how awful the show was. By the time the frontman for Upper Hutt Posse started reading the phone book (as someone else referred to it), I’d had enough and turned the channel, so I never saw his political rant. At least I got to see the awards won by Drax Project and Six60.

Worth a look is Radio New Zealand’s backstage talks with some of the winners.

I don’t watch the NZMAs every year, in part because many of the broadcasts have been pretty bad. I can’t say I’m glad I saw it this year, but I am glad that Drax Project and Six60 won awards. Probably some of the others are deserved, too; I just don’t know who they are.

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