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Finalists announced for 2024 APRA Best Country Music Song Award

Story Published Tuesday 30 April 2024

Celebrating the best in Aotearoa country music APRA AMCOS NZ are pleased to announce the 2024 APRA Best Country Music Song award finalists.

  • ‘Desert Dove’ written and performed by Holly Arrowsmith
  • ‘Do You Think Of Me?’ written by Katie Thompson, Victoria Knopp, and Andy Knopp, performed by Katie Thompson
  • ‘Madeline’ written and performed by Jamie McDell
  • ‘Racing Through The Night’ written and performed by Delaney Davidson

Her first release in over two years, ‘Desert Dove’ is a welcome return for Holly Arrowsmith to the finalist list, showcasing her trademark sweet and strong tones in a touching alt-country ballad inspired by her grandfather. “In Tucson, Arizona my grandfather fed the birds every morning" Holly explains. "There was a dove that would wake me while I was visiting, mournful and resolute in its song. When he died, I heard that same dove in New Zealand and it filled me with a sense of him. It is a song about distance, loss and grief, and finding courage in the face of these things.”

Also back on the finalist list after shifting focus for a few years is Katie Thompson, with ‘Do You Think Of Me?’ Having garnered attention and recognition as a finalist in 2020, Katie turned her attention to nurturing her music agency, Quirky Music. But this haunting, lost-love song, which is her first collaboration with Victoria and Andrew Knopp, is a bold return for the West Coast artist, who has captivated audiences around Aotearoa, recently opening for Don McLean at the Christchurch Town Hall.

Another former finalist, Jamie McDell has had a prolific few years – her scorching, heart-healing song ‘Madeline’ is from the Beach House EP, released in 2023, which came hot on the heels of her fourth album, an acclaimed, collaborative self-titled record made in Nashville which came out in 2022. “I wrote Madeline in the echoey wing of a house dear friends had recently bought on Denman Island, BC” Jamie notes. “A few women surrounded me at the time, all freed from bad relationships and determined to be anything but confined or defined. It inspired this story of the road less travelled and the uncertainty that ultimately leads to real growth and fulfilment.”

Regular finalist Delaney Davidson is also back for 2024. This year the perennial collaborator who has so gracefully co-written with Tami Neilson, Marlon Williams, Barry Saunders, and Troy Kingi among others, returns with a song all of his own from his tenth studio album Out Of My Head. A true southern gothic troubadour, Delaney leans into the introspective, blues narrative on ‘Racing Through The Night’, a song which finds him seeking connection and solace, in a deep, dark, lilting, swooping soundscape.

Ant Healey of APRA AMCOS says “These songs dive deep into beautiful universal tales of life, love, and the road less travelled, and it is a privilege to celebrate them. Incredible songs by incredible songwriters.”

The APRA Best Country Music Song Award will be presented at the Country Music Honours on Friday 24 May,

Finalists announced for MLT Songwriting Award

Alongside the APRA Best Country Music Song Awards, the MLT Songwriting Award, acknowledges unreleased songs from writers from New Zealand and Australia, presented by the NZ Songwriters Trust.

The 2024 MLT Songwriting Award finalists are:

  • ‘Hardest Thing’ Written by Mel Parsons
  • ‘Nothing To Fear’ Written by Mark Casey & Lavina Williams
  • ‘Boots’ Written by Jon Collins
  • ‘Wilted Flower’ Written by Fiona Louise
  • ‘The Man Who Told Me’ Written by Nicola Mitchell
  • ‘Your Old Ways’ Written by Chad Robinson & Kate Targett-Adams
  • ‘Addicted’ Written by Rosie Teese
  • ‘Tell Me Mama’ Written by Karra Rhodes
  • ‘When I Go’ Written by Zac Griffith, Co-written by Allan Caswell
  • ‘Little Victories’ Written by Barry Saunders

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 Friday 24 May, is the opening event 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.

learn more here

APRA AMCOS Panel Discussion: Introduction to collecting songwriting royalties in Aotearoa

You make music, now let's get you paid for it.

APRA AMCOS presents a free panel discussion focused on how song royalties, royalty payments and different types of royalties work. Musicians, songwriters, band members, managers, supporters (eg: family members) and other team members at all experience and knowledge levels are welcome at this free festival event.

When: Saturday May 25th, 4.00pm - 5.00pm

Where: Hokonui Rūnanga, Charlton Road, Gore.

Cost: FREE

Register here