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Aotearoa Music Awards 2021 finalists announced today

Story Published Thursday 11 November 2021

Today the Aotearoa Music Awards | Nga Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa announce an outstanding list of 2021 finalists as well as key details for this year’s event.

The 2021 Aotearoa Music Awards will be a live television event screened on TVNZ 2 and TVNZ OnDemand from the Aotea Centre.

The event will take place in December and will be rescheduled to a date in early 2022 if Covid-19 restrictions prevent the ceremony from going ahead.

Recorded Music New Zealand CEO Damian Vaughan is incredibly pleased that we are able to deliver the 56th annual Aotearoa Music Awards.

“Our artists and our industry have endured massive disruption over the last 18 months. The uncertainty around live music performance has affected livelihoods and has impacted every part of our music industry which is predicated on bringing people together,” says Vaughan.

“One beacon of positivity however has been music fans utterly embracing our artists and their waiata throughout this period.

“It is heartening to see we are consuming homegrown music in record numbers across all forms from streaming to vinyl to radio. Let’s keep that positive support going!”

TVNZ Director of Content Cate Slater says, The Aotearoa Music Awards are the biggest night in the NZ music calendar and we’re thrilled that they have a new home on TVNZ. Supporting the music industry and these incredible local artists is important to TVNZ, and we’re excited to help celebrate the very best of New Zealand music with a special live television event.”

Announcing the finalists for the 2021 Aotearoa Music Awards

No stranger to the music awards, Troy Kingi emerges as the frontrunner for the 2021 awards with six nominations.

With four Tūi already to his name, Troy Kingi celebrates being a finalist across Te Pukaemi o te Tau | Album of the Year for his fourth album The Ghost of Freddie Cesar and Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | Single of the Year for ‘Sleep (Slumber)’.

He’s also a finalist for for Te Kaipuoro Takitahi Toa | Best Solo Artist, Te Māngai Pāho Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa | Best Māori Artist, Te Kaipuoro Awe Toa | Best Soul/RnB Artist, in addition to a nomination for Te Māngai Pāho Mana Reo award with blues and roots trio The Nudge.

Following the release of his debut album in March, singer songwriter TEEKS has had a hugely successful year – including a sold out nationwide tour.

He’s a finalist for five awards this year including Te Pukaemi o te Tau | Album of the Year for Something to Feel, Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | Single of the Year for ‘Remember Me’, Te Kaipuoro Takitahi Toa | Best Solo Artist, Te Māngai Pāho Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa | Best Māori Artist and Te Kaipuoro Awe Toa | Best Soul/RnB Artist.

Fast becoming an iconic Kiwi band, L.A.B are back and finalists for four Tūi. This year they have stepped it up with a multitude of sold out shows, from Mt Smart Stadium in March to selling out their two arena shows in Hamilton and Wellington within one day.

They are finalists for Te Pukaemi o te Tau | Album of the Year for L.A.B. IV, Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | Single of the Year for ‘Why Oh Why’, Te Roopu Toa | Best Group and Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa | Best Roots Artist.

Pop juggernaut BENEE took home all four Tūi from her 2020 Aotearoa Music Award nominations. This year she is a finalist once again for Te Kaipuoro Takitahi Toa | Best Solo Artist and Te Kaipuoro Arotini Toa | Best Pop Artist, along with Te Pukaemi o te Tau | Album of the Year for her debut studio album Hey u x.

Lorde’s triumphant return is also celebrated this year, with her single ‘Solar Power’ nominated for Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | Single of the Year.

With one of the most famous surnames in Kiwi music, Harper Finn is forging his own path with his inventive, piano pop, and is this year nominated for Te Kaituhura Puoro Toa o te Tau | Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | Single of the Year for ‘Dance Away These Days’.

Pop duo Foley celebrate their first Tūi nominations across two categories, Te Kaituhura Puoro Toa o te Tau | Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Te Kaipuoro Arotini Toa | Best Pop Artist.

The finalists for the 2021 Mana Reo award are Rei, The Nudge & Troy Kingi, and Te Nūtube – the dynamic duo of Atareta Milne (11) and Te Haakura Ihimaera-Manley (9) who are nominated for ‘Peke’ - their waiata from Season 3 of their popular Māori Television children’s show.

Dead Favours, fronted by vocalist Jared Wrennall who previously was the drummer for Grammy Award-nominated punk band Steriogram, sees their first nomination for Te Kaipuoro Rakapioi Toa | Best Rock Artist, alongside homegrown rockers Ekko Park and Mako Road.

In the Te Kaipuoro Manohi Toa | Best Alternative Artist category, we see Anthonie Tonnon, Na Noise and Wax Chattels up for the Tūi, while Diggy Dupè, SWIDT and Team Dynamite celebrate their nomination for Te Kaipuoro Hipihope Toa | Best Hip Hop Artist.

Te Kaipuoro Tāhiko Toa | Best Electronic Artist finalists include Paige Julia, Shapeshifter and Sola Rosa, and the finalists for Te Kaipuoro Inamata Toa | Best Classical Artist are Claire Cowan, Justin DeHart and Tony Yan Tong Chen.

Longstanding Kiwi favourites Six60 are finalists for Te Waiata Tōtahi o te Tau | Single of the Year for ‘All She Wrote’, while Niko Walters is nominated for Te Kaituhura Puoro Toa o te Tau | Breakthrough Artist of the Year through his laid back, catchy storytelling single ‘Not My Neighbour’.

The other finalists for the prestigious Te Pukaemi o te Tau | Album of the Year are Kiwi music royalty Crowded House for Dreamers are Waiting and The Phoenix Foundation for Friend Ship, who are also both up for Te Roopu Toa | Best Group.

Other 2021 Aotearoa Music Award finalists includes Mara TK (Te Māngai Pāho Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa | Best Māori Artist and Te Kaipuoro Awe Toa | Best Soul/RnB Artist), Shapeshifter (Te Roopu Toa | Best Group), Anna Coddington (Te Kaipuoro Takitahi Toa | Best Solo Artist), Muroki (Te Kaituhura Puoro Toa o te Tau | Breakthrough Artist of the Year), LA WOMEN (Te Kaipuoro Arotini Toa | Best Pop Artist), Grove Roots and Tomorrow People (Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa | Best Roots Artist).

Recorded Music New Zealand Kaiwhakahaere o Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa Sarah Owen is excited to be able to finally share the finalists for this year’s awards.

“Our ringapuoro and their waiata are always there for us as the soundtrack of our shared experiences – they tell our stories and make us feel,” says Owen.

“Even as we continue to navigate through the pandemic and the disturbance it brings, our music community deserve to be acknowledged. It’s an honour and a privilege to present the 2021 Aotearoa Music Awards Tūī to celebrate our artists achievements. Ngā mihi nui ki te hunga whiringa toa!”

The recipients of the Te Toa Hoko Teitei, | Highest Selling Artist, NZ On Air Te Rikoata Marakerake o te Tau | Radio Airplay Record of the Year and Te Kōwhiri o te Nuinga | People’s Choice will be announced on the night at the 2021 Aotearoa Music Awards.

The event will take place at the Aotea Centre’s Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre and will be broadcast live on TVNZ 2 and TVNZ OnDemand, made with the support of NZ On Air.

Thanks to the official Aotearoa Music Awards audio streaming partner Spotify please check out all the finalists via these links:

LISTEN TO ALL FINALISTS HERE