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Award-winning Kiwi Songwriter Margaret Ulrich remembered fondly

Story Published Tuesday 23 August 2022
Kiwi songwriter Margaret Ulrich has passed away today, aged 57.

Beloved Auckland-born songwriter and solo vocalist, Margaret Urlich, has passed away surrounded by family at her home in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, where she lived with her husband.

“It is with incredible sadness that we inform you that Margaret Urlich passed away peacefully … surrounded by her family after a courageous two and a half year battle with cancer,” said a statement from Urlich’s family.

“Margaret is a much-loved multi award-winning member of the Australian and New Zealand music industry who captured hearts around the world as a gifted singer/songwriter with a unique voice and sense of style.”

Urlich was one of New Zealand’s most successful artists, beginning her career as the frontwoman of Peking Man in 1985. She later joined iconic Kiwi group When the Cat’s Away, whose number one hit “Melting Pot” made them a household name. The groups continued success was rightly celebrated with their induction to the NZ Music Hall of Fame | Te Whare Taonga Puoro o Aotearoa occurring just last year.

“It was such a rich time for incredible New Zealand music and Margaret with her distinctive, soulful voice fronting Peking Man, or When the Cat’s Away, always stood out as completely cool. She epitomised that era and has a very fond place in many peoples hearts as a result. All our collective thoughts are with her loved ones and those that miss her at this sad time.” says Anthony Healey, Head of APRA AMCOS New Zealand

Ulrich’s first solo single “Escaping” was released in 1989 and went to number one on the Official NZ Music Charts, while the album ‘Safety in Numbers’ achieved platinum status in New Zealand and went triple platinum in Australia.

She is remembered by her cousin, fellow musician Peter Urlich, as a trailblazer.

“She had a level of sophistication that marked her out,” he said. “Marg was super stylish, she oozed confidence but underneath, she was a female who had to overcome her shyness to try to make it in a male-dominated industry. And she did it! When you look at her body of work from Room That Echoes to Escaping to Boy in the Moon, she absolutely had it all. I was a total fan and I'm very proud of her.”

Leaving a grieving industry with a legacy of innovation, collaboration and the unwavering expression of her own style, it is clear Margaret will be deeply missed.