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2021 Children's Music Awards Finalists

Story Published Saturday 1 May 2021
2021 NZ Children's Music Awards

APRA Best Children's Song Finalists

  • Michal Bush, Andrew Knopp, Victoria Knopp for Brave performed by Music with Michal
  • Robin Nathan for Chihuahua performed by fleaBITE
  • Siu Williams-Lemi for He Uri Ngāti Hua-Rakau performed by Loopy Tunes Preschool Music

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

NZ On Air Best Children's Music Video finalists

  • Captain Festus McBoyle for Bubble video written and directed by Larissa Lofley, produced by Pea-Knuckle Productions
  • Judi Cranston for 5+ A Day video by Judi Cranston, produced by Parry Jones
  • Custard’s World Puppets/Whoa! Studios for A Little Care (Wash Your Hands) video produced by Candace Borchert and directed by Raj Singh

“Creative songwriting for tamariki is happening right now, particularly with stories celebrating and embracing te ao Māori, emotional wellbeing and positivity. It’s no wonder these performances will tickle your funny bone, send shivers up your spine, and then warm your heart up all over again,” says Suzy Cato, NZ Children’s Music writer, author and broadcaster. “It’s equal to anything from international artists and, even better, it reflects kiwi kids and their whānau and lives.”

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, the association supports NZ children’s music creators and seeks to advance the potential of all our children to live healthy fulfilling lives.

The 2020 awards were celebrated with the show broadcast on Home Learning TV and online due to Covid so everyone was able to join in at home and enjoy the ceremony and you can watch it again right here.

Winners will be announced at an invite only ceremony on Sunday 16 May at Tuning Fork, Spark Arena. The show will be hosted by Suzy Cato with awards presented by a cast of adorable Kiwi Kids. There will be live performances, video screenings and to follow the awards, interactive music-making workshops, BBQ and plenty of fun and games.

Thanks to APRA AMCOS NZ, Recorded Music NZ, Spark Arena and NZ On Air who have created a special spotifty playlist celebrating this years finalists, available here.

An itty bitty about our finalists:

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. 2020 finalist for Best Children’s Music Artist, the song ‘Bubble’ was conceived during lockdown and written through the eyes of a 7-year old. On stage the Captain is joined by Miss Lucy Drawers (Larissa Lofley) and Ebenezer Strong (Gareth Price). With many prestigious appearances both here and overseas now under their belts, they have just been signed to China’s biggest independent record label, Modern Sky.

Chris Lam Sam is one of Aotearoa’s most recognisable musical entertainers for young families. Since 2003 he has been a member of NZ children’s musical supergroup, The Funky Monkeys, who have performed more than 900 shows, produced seven albums and won the inaugural APRA NZ Best Children’s Music Video Award in 2008. Released on 26 September, Silly Funny Songs For Kids is his first independent album. Chris continues to tour and perform original music for young families in his independent show, Mr. Lam Sam’s Musical Mayhem Show.

fleaBITE has two nominations this year. Snakes Alive (fleaBITE’s 5th album) is up for Best Children’s Music Artist, and Chihuhua is a finalist for Best NZ Children’s Song, also a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. Producer/writer Robin Nathan has previously won two Tui awards for Best Children’s Album (Circus of Fleas and The Jungle Is Jumping). Their podcast series Everybody Wants To Join The fleaBITE Band is a finalist in the NZ Radio Broadcast Awards for Best Children’s Programme. Aimed at older children, fleaBITE's style is cheeky, bold, innovative and entertaining, and there are always special guests to spice up the mix.

Judi Cranston is founder of kindyRock, a children’s music education brand whose music and programmes are enjoyed extensively throughout New Zealand, Australia and the UK. The video for 5+ A Day was created alongside animator Parry Jones. Judi is an international award winning songwriter and her music is used around the globe in homes, early childhood centres and school. She is passionate about using music as a tool for helping children to grow and learn and is committed to creating resources that are fun, easy to use and effective in learning.

Loopy Tunes Preschool Music are sisters Siu and Leah who love creating music for the tamariki of Aotearoa, and beyond. Beginning in 2010 as an outreach preschool music programme at Beckenham Methodist Church in Christchurch, the vision was for Loopy Tunes to offer music to local whānau that was live, interactive, affordable and fun. Their efforts have also seen the release of the Rainbow Collection, a five-book series of bilingual Māori/English books, based on their original waiata.

Michal Bush, one of this years double-nomineesis no stranger to the New Zealand children’s music scene, having been writing and performing songs inspired by children, the young at heart and her seaside community since 2012. Best known for the popular ‘Kindness is Free’, ‘Seagull Song’ and ‘Brave’ – Michal’s songs are sung in schools and early childhood centres all over New Zealand, and streamed in homes and radio stations all over the world! In 2020, Michal collaborated with production duo and multi instrumentalists Victoria and Andrew Knopp. The duo have their own indie pop project The Response and work with various NZ acts to help them shape and develop their sound.

Whoa! Studios is operated by Whoa Performing Arts Trust and among other things, is home to the children’s TV production ‘Custard’s World’ whose characters feature in the nominated video ‘A Little Care (Wash Your Hands)’. During lockdown the team at Whoa! Studios really wanted to help kids (and parents) keep upbeat, and safe. With a song written by Nick Garrett, and a grand video team, they were able to create ‘Custard’s World’ first ever official single release.