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APRA New Zealand Writer Director Nominees

Story Published Friday 11 October 2019

These are three nominees on the 2019 Board Election ballot to fill one NZ Writer-Director vacancy: Jan Hellriegel, Bic Runga, and Marshall Smith.

All eligible members are strongly encouraged to take the time to consider the nominees and cast a vote. It's vitally important that writer members have a say in who is representing them on the board and making decisions about music creators' rights and royalties.

It's your music and your APRA. Get involved and cast a vote for one of the following three nominees, each has shared a short biography and an election statement.

Jan Hellriegel

I have been a writer member of APRA for over 35 years.

As a musician, I’m classically trained, can read scores, love choirs and opera as much as pop and indie music - I’m engaged across the music spectrum, with a thorough knowledge of NZ music history and composition. I’m still very much writing and performing, this year releasing a new studio album, book and podcast project and touring to support it.

I have a unique and valuable skill set to bring to the service of NZ songwriters and composers and am uniquely qualified in terms of my experience on both the artistic and the business side of music.

For a decade I have worked in areas crucial to the interests of local musicians - music copyright, royalty flows, publishing, contracts, negotiations and synch licensing. I also established Songbroker, which directly represents many writers for publishing.

This has given me a thorough understanding of how our collection society works, and what could be improved.

I would like to see more NZ writers similarly empowered with a better understanding of their industry.

I would welcome the privilege of speaking up for NZ writers and working towards the betterment of all NZ musicians.

Nominee statement
Of the 24 seats on the APRA AMCOS board only one relates directly to New Zealand writers and composers. This lone position is a vital one. It requires a strong, experienced and determined voice.

I am standing, first of all, to stand up for all of you. And I would represent you as a writer/director who will say what needs to be said on issues that matter. Particularly:

  • That NZ writers, no matter how well known they are or how big in terms of incomes, should be treated equitably.
  • That royalty calculations should be based on fairness, not “economic viability.” APRA is a non-profit organisation with steady annual growth and this should be reflected in writer member incomes.

I have a valuable skill set to bring to the service of NZ songwriters and am uniquely qualified amongst the candidates to understand the complex issues facing all of us.

For a decade I have worked in areas crucial to the interests of NZ musicians - publishing, music copyright and infringements, royalty flows, tax on international transactions, chains of title and synch licensing.

This has given me a thorough understanding of how our collection society works and what could be improved.

Bic Runga

Since the release of her first single 'Drive' in 1996 – a top ten hit when she was just twenty – Bic has been awarded almost every musical honour in New Zealand, including the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award. Bic has won the most Tuis (New Zealand Music Awards) by any individual, ever (twenty). She has won Best Female Vocalist four times and Best Producer three times. Bic’s debut album Drive was certified seven times platinum and featured the enormous hit 'Sway.' The follow up in Beautiful Collision in 2002 was certified an incredible eleven times platinum and featured the hits 'Get Some Sleep,' 'Something Good' and 'Listening For The Weather.'

Her songs have featured in film soundtracks and her records have been released around the world. She has won loyal followings in Europe, Asia and North America.

In January 2006, The Queen made Runga a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music.

In 2016 she was the recipient of the Legacy Award at the New Zealand Music Awards and was inducted in to New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.

Nominee statement

  • Having had a long career in music, and more recently, after giving songwriting workshops during my residency at the Christchurch Arts Centre, I realise the huge kinship I have for those who choose to devote their lives to the art of songwriting. The contributions we make to our country's culture as songwriters is uniquely important and it really matters to me that we are part of an industry that recognises and develops talent and understands our needs.
  • At a time when we need great music more than ever, there is a simultaneous undervaluing of music. The feeling I get from my peers is that it's a difficult time, but one with huge potential as we navigate a rapidly changing industry.
  • After getting to know the people at APRA, last year as the musical director of the Silver Scrolls, and as an observer on the SongsHubs Sphere seminars, I do think APRA have our interests at heart and actively look for initiatives that might assist us. I'm driven to be a part of what can be done to help my fellow songwriters, and being involved with APRA as a songwriter representative would be the most meaningful place to do this.

Marshall Smith

Marshall is an award-winning singer/songwriter/composer/producer - MD of The Sound Room, a well established and successful music composition / production company in Auckland, and Chairperson of the Screen Composers Guild of NZ. As well as playing live for years in the UK, China and NZ, Marshall has written music for a large number of feature films, documentaries, TV series, advertising, games and theatre as well as being a prolific songwriter with 2000+ published songs, whilst managing a successful and growing library of 6000+ tracks by other kiwi artists.

Marshall was an APRA Silver Scroll Award finalist in 2004, won a place at the Berlinale in 2016, an ART Venture Award in 2012 for creative entrepreneurs, and was granted a Professional Development Award in 2011 from the NZ Film Commission.

Marshall has many years’ experience working in the music industry at large, for PPL (UK), EMI Records (UK), the MMF (UK) as well as being a long term mentor for artists for the Depot Artspace in Auckland. He has a BA in Politics & History from Auckland University.

Nominee statement

  • 25 years of music industry experience as a singer/songwriter, composer & producer.
  • Wide-ranging experience working with collection societies, publishers, record labels and music managers in the UK, NZ and beyond.
  • Co-founder & chair of Screen Composers Guild of NZ, a passionate advocate for education and the building of sustainable careers in music.
  • MD of successful music composition & production company The Sound Room and fast growing agency The Sound Library.