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Announcing the finalists for the 2022 APRA Best Country Music Song Award

Story Published Friday 10 June 2022
Congratulations to our finalists this year: Jenny Mitchell, Tami Neilson, Chris Wethey, Tali Jenkinson; Miles Calder; and Kaylee Bell.

Today, APRA AMCOS NZ proudly announce the 2022 APRA Best Country Music Song Award Finalists. A celebration of the incredible calibre of Aotearoa Country Music Songwriters, the finalists this year champion the dynamic breadth of talent right across the country.

  • Jenny Mitchell, Tami Neilson, Chris Wethey, Tali Jenkinson for ‘Trouble Finds a Girl’
  • Miles Calder for ‘What We’re In’
  • Kaylee Bell for ‘Silver Linings’

APRA’s own Ōtautahi SongHubs 2021 offered a prime opportunity for highly accoladed alt-country powerhouse Jenny Mitchell to weave wonder with illuminating industry icon Tami Neilson, alongside Wellington’s Chris Wethey, and Papua New Guinea born Tali Ejalas Jenkinson (Vallé). Together, they see a finalist in the stirringly powerful Trouble Finds A Girl’. Spacious and haunting, it carries a sense of caution, wrapped in palpable emotion; building to a dramatic and soaring swell of calls to “burn it down” - a powerful and direct response to sexual misconduct and sexual assault within the music industry.

Next up, finalist Miles Calder released his solo debut album Autopilot Life in 2021, a self-reflective delve into waking up from an unexamined life. The album won over new fans and critics alike, placed singles on large playlists, & saw Miles as a finalist for the prestigious Aotearoa Music Award (Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa | Best Folk Artist 2022). While the album had Miles exploring new avenues of expression beyond his previously acoustic-bound writing, the closing track ‘What We’re In’ is the deeply personal song that makes a worthy finalist this year. The Wellington-based songwriter tells "This song began as a stream of consciousness freestyle using words from an M. Ward album track listing to start lines.... a sort of songwriting excercise. But somehow that brought out some truth and it turned out to be one of my most honest songs."

As the ‘Most Streamed Female Country Artist’ in Australasia in 2021, Kaylee Bell continues to see her incredible devotion to country music celebrated following the release of her second album Silver Linings. The title track of which fills the third finalists spot for the 2022 APRA Best Country Music Song Award. Despite having collaborated with names such as Simon Oscroft (Disney USA, Midnight Youth) and Sam Sumser (Lizzo, Keith Urban) on her album, Bell’s ‘Silver Linings’ is a song of solitude and clarity – a fearless reflection of her own writing style.

"Nothing stops great music from being written. Not COVID-19, or lockdowns or cancelled concerts and lost incomes. This year’s entries into the APRA Country Song celebration are stacked with beautiful, important, brilliant songs and great stories. These three final songs showcase the remarkable resolve and talent of our songwriters here in Aotearoa New Zealand" says APRA Head of NZ Operations, Anthony Healey.

With the Tussock Country Festival being cancelled for 2022 as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the 2022 APRA Best Country Song winner will be announced in an exclusive Winner’s Announcement on Saturday 18th June 2022, live on Radio NZ Music 101 with Charlotte Ryan.

For more information on Jenny Mitchell visit

For more information on Tami Neilson visit

For more information on Chris Wethey visit

For more information on Tali Jenkinson visit

For more information on Miles Calder visit

For more information on Kaylee Bell visit