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2020 NZ Children's Music Awards Finalists Announced

Congratulations to the finalists
Story Published Saturday 2 May 2020
2020 Childrens Music Awards

A tiny pony with a lofty goal, shuffling worms underground and Te Reo Māori are all thoroughly explored by this year’s finalists for the 2020 Children’s Music Awards – an annual presentation celebrating music written for kids.

The Children’s Music Awards celebrate the storytellers, the rhymers, the singers and groovers who write and perform the songs that ignite a love for music in New Zealand children. Music universally brings a magical joy to the senses and plays an especially pivotal role in our children’s lives, spinning their stories and swaying their souls.

We are very pleased to announce the finalists for the 2020 APRA Best Children's Music Song, the Recorded Music NZ Te Kaipuoro Waiata Tamariki Toa / Best Children’s Music Artist, and the NZ On Air Best Children's Music Video.

APRA Best Children's Song finalists:

Te Kaipuoro Waiata Tamariki Toa / Best Children’s Music Artist finalists:

NZ On Air Best Children's Music Video finalists:

Presented by Recorded Music NZ, APRA NZ and NZ On Air, the awards have the support of Kiwi Kids Music, the national association of children’s songwriters, creators and producers. Formed by some of the most passionate creators of music for Kiwi Kids and currently chaired by Suzy Cato, the association supports NZ children’s music creators and seeks to advance the potential of all our children to live healthy fulfilling lives.

NZ On Air have created a special spotify playlist celebrating this years finalists available here.

Winners will be announced later this month at a special virtual awards ceremony – more details to come.

A little bit about our finalists:

Anika Moa is an Aotearoa multi-award winning recording artist, children’s entertainer, television and radio presenter and māmā of four! In a career spanning over 20 years, she has released six studio albums, including three wildly successful children’s albums, Songs For Bubbas, inspired by all the tamariki she keeps on having! Having won 6 Tui already, this year saw the release of ‘Songs for Bubbas 3’ for which she is nominated.

Aro blends the honey-voiced jazz vocals and full throated percussive sounds of Emily and Charles Looker. 2019 saw the release of Manu, inspired by the character of ten native birds, Aro shared songs celebrating this country’s natural heritage and wildlife in a mix of jazz, pop and taonga pūoro, written and sung in both English and Te Reo Maori. Currently performing Friday nights at 7pm live on Facebook from their bubble.

Ben Sinclair and Jeremy Dillon collaborated to write and record ‘Tony the Tiny Pony’, a country and western ballad about a titular pony. Jeremy recalled a tiny pony he had seen while filming the popular NZ children’s television series The Moe Show, it was mentioned to Ben and before too long they had written and recorded the song. Instruments were played by Ben with Andrew Thorne and Narelle Ahrens providing vocals. Frequent collaborator Ned Wenlock bought his unique vision and style to direct and animate the video.

Captain Festus McBoyle is played by Richard Manic. His Vaudevillian styled troupe offers an offbeat, slightly edgey alternative to the NZ children’s music scene. He is joined onstage by Miss Lucy Drawers (Larissa Lofley) and Mr Ebenezer Strong (Gareth Price). No stranger to these awards, The Captains third album ‘Bubbles and Squeek’ saw the live trio travelling all over NZ offering interactive live stage shows and workshops. They have had appearances at WOMAD, Splore, Auckland City Limits, The Nelson Arts festival plus collaborations with the entire Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Finalists Bests Kids Song, International Songwriters Competition 2018, Semi Finalists Best Kids Song, International Songwriters Competition 2019.

Chris Sanders is a finalist in two categories for his exceptional year that includes the release of the bi-lingual version of the incredibly catchy and educational 111 Ambulance Song for Te Wiki o te reo maori. The last 12 months have seen Chris perform over 100 shows, release 7 new songs, a new picture book with music and a special performance with the APO. His first stage show musical production is completed and he achieved an honour from the New Zealand Governor General.

Kath Bee's songs have provided the soundtrack, to the lives of a generation of Kiwi Kids. A three-time APRA Children’s Video of the Year winner, this is her second year in a row as Song of the Year finalist. She wrote ‘I Love Life’ after seeing a picture, drawn by 7-year old Joelle Noar, on Facebook. Five years later, after joining forces with Producer, Doug Stenhouse, the song was ready for vocals and who better than Joelle herself, now a very talented and musically experienced 12-year old. Also from Nelson, Joelle has appeared in many musicals and is pursuing a career in acting and singing.

Little Ripples is harmony-laden children's folk music dreamed up amidst family life in coastal Northland. As parents and teachers, co-creators Emily and Sam Benge, felt a need to make music that speaks to the unique experiences of children growing up in Aotearoa, and to connect with the hearts of the people raising them. Sweet harmonies paired with the ukulele, guitar and double bass create a soulful heartwarming sound promoting connection and well-being.

The Nukes are Aotearoa’s most beloved and enduring ‘original ukulele trio’. For more than 10 years this unlikely league of musical miscreants has traipsed around Australasia, bringing joy and harmony to all they encounter. With 3 compelling albums of their self-penned tunes as proof of their creative endeavours, the trio of Dave Parker, Mike Burrows and Ben Collier present music that is original quirky and very kiwi. Great song-writing, musicianship and 3-part harmony combine to create a truly memorable, entertaining experience.