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Announcing the finalists for the 2023 APRA Best Country Music Song Award

Story Published Wednesday 10 May 2023
Finalists are announced for the 2023 APRA Best Country Music Song Award

Celebrating the best in Aotearoa country music, APRA AMCOS NZ are pleased to announce the 2023 APRA Best Country Music Song award finalists:

  • Beyond The Stars’ written by Tami Neilson and Delaney Davidson, performed by Tami Neilson and Willie Nelson (Published by Concord Music Publishing)
  • Find A River’ written by Maegan Mitchell, Nicola Mitchell and Tami Neilson*, performed by The Mitchell Twins (*Published by Concord Music Publishing)
  • Slow Burn’ written and performed by Mel Parsons (Published by Concord Music Publishing)

‘Beyond The Stars’ was born of grief, capturing co-writers Tami Neilson’s and Delaney Davidson’s pain at the loss of their fathers and the longing to be with them once again. Hailing from Neilson’s fifth studio album KINGMAKER, this timeless country duet with noir protagonist, Delaney Davidson was recorded at Roundhead Studios. The duet features Willie Nelson as the voice of Tami’s father.

Inspired by the Topp Twins’ recent battles with illness and separation, Southland’s The Mitchell Twins, Maegan and Nicola Mitchell, composed ‘Find A River’. It is a song that explores the deep bonds of twin connection, and pays a tribute to the role music has played in the lives of both the Topp's and themselves. Multiple Best Country Music Song winner Tami Neilson joined in the co-writing of this personal song.

Mel Parsons hypnotic and meandering ‘Slow Burn’ conjures up a nostalgic feeling of simpler times. As a multi-award-winning singer songwriter, Mel Parsons is one of New Zealand's most beloved touring acts. ‘Slow Burn’ is the title track from Parsons’ latest record and debuted at #3 on the Top 40 charts and was a finalist for Best Folk Artist at the 2023 Aotearoa Music Awards. This month sees the release of the heart-warming new single ‘Tiny Days’ alongside shows in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

“Great songs tell stories that resonate. The best country music not only captures the heartache, the joy, and the love that define our human experience but also something that leaves an indelible mark on our lives, reminding us of the power of music to inspire, and to connect us all” says Anthony Healey of APRA AMCOS. “These songs deserve our celebration here and the attention and accolade everywhere”.

The APRA Best Country Music Song Award will be presented at the inaugural Country Music Honours on Thursday 1 June, alongside the MLT Songwriting Award, acknowledging unreleased songs from writers from New Zealand and Australia, presented by the NZ Songwriters Trust.

The 2023 MLT Songwriting Award finalists are:

  • ‘Compte de Paris’ written by Kate Targett-Adams and Chad Robinson
  • ‘Co-Parent’ written by Peter & Joanna Green
  • ‘Daffodils’ written by Jenny Mitchell and Ron Mitchell
  • ‘Goosebumps’ written by Keith Pereira
  • ‘Help Me Remember’ written by Keith Pereira
  • ‘Little Less Lonely’ written by Jenny Mitchell
  • ‘Love Ya Like I Can’ written by Kerryn Fields and Matt Joe Gow
  • ‘Nobody Warns You’ written by Mel Parsons
  • ‘Prairie Song (Hard Times)’ written by Kerryn Fields
  • ‘Whirlwind’ written by Matt Joe Gow

Formerly known as the NZ Country Music Awards, the Country Music Honours celebrate the wonderful Country music community in Aotearoa. The red-carpet event on Thursday 1 June, is part of Gore’s Bayleys Tussock Country Music Festival that will be playing host to multiple performances and bring glamour to Gore, with the presentation of these two very special awards.