12 Sep 2020

The Mixtape: Bic Runga

From Music 101, 5:30 pm on 12 September 2020

NZ music star Bic Runga has been playing live gigs for three decades, but as she prepares for her latest tour after months of coronavirus delays, she tells Music 101 she still has a lot to learn about connecting with an audience.

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Photo: Karen Inderbitzen-Waller

Bic's new tour has been delayed for months by the coronavirus and will kick off next month if alert levels allow.

Speaking to Charlotte Ryan on Music 101's Mixtape show, Bic says the tour has been in the works for eight months.

"In fact, with the first lockdown, we were just about to announce it that day, and so I just thought now we're just putting one foot in front of the other and just trying to make something happen."

She says the shows around the North Island would only go ahead if the country was in alert level 1, but she is keen to get back in front of an audience.

"Because people want to do stuff. But you just have to plan, and I'm hopeful we'll be okay.

"We just have to do something, we just have to try."

Bic Runga at RNZ

Bic Runga at RNZ Photo: Luke McPike

Bic's debut album Drive became a top 10 hit when she was just 20 years old and was certified seven times platinum. Since then, she's received almost every music honor in New Zealand - including 20 Tui Awards (New Zealand Music Awards) and the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award. Bic was also made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Zealand New Year's Honours List in 2006, and in 2016 she received the Legacy Award at the New Zealand Music Awards and was inducted into the New Zealand Music hall of fame.

Despite these accolades and playing live since she was about 11, Bic says she is still keen to get better at performing, and has been researching what makes great live gigs and how to connect to audiences.

"Then I was looking up what are the greatest live performances of all time ,and it's like Woodstock and Jimi Hendrix, but Rolling Stone magazine's top 10, there's no women in there, none. And I'm thinking, what about Tina Turner, what about Ella Fitzgerald?"

She said live performances seemed to still be male-dominated in people's minds.

"And that just gave me fire, I wanna just get better and better at it, that's my drive.

"It is about the connection, and if I'm being critical of myself, I could do that better. Because when there's a group consciousness, that you get to play with that, that's the alchemy bit that I haven't tapped into yet. There's something there that's worth exploring."

Bic Runga

Bic Runga Photo: Supplied

Bic has also been busy recently with King Sweeties, a new collaborative project with Cass Basil (Tiny Ruins), and says it started because they wanted to write songs together.

"So we wrote songs from her bass lines and she'd written songs before, but I think in the bigger eco-system of the music business, you do have to kind of elevate other people, just so there's stuff to do. And so sure enough, we've got something to do now - we've got this band and we recorded it and what I got out of it was just learning how to engineer and produce something other than myself.

"So it was about that - what do you want to get better at, let's just explore that."

Songs played on this episode of The Mixtape:

Yasamin - October

Ebony Lamb - Beautiful Things (RNZ Cover) 

Kendal Ellise - The Clock Tower

King Sweeties - Let’s Just Stay In Bed 

Oppossom - Getaway tonight 

Na Noise - Bad Dreams

See Bic Runga live! 

  • Sunday 25 October - Tauranga, Baycourt Theatre, support from Yasamin
  • Monday 26 October - Hawke's Bay Arts Festival
  • Friday 6 November - Wellington, San Fran, support from Ebony Lamb
  • Saturday 7 November - Whanganui, Royal Wanganui Opera House, support from Ebony Lamb
  • Friday 13 November - Auckland, Hollywood Theatre, support from Na Noise
  • Saturday 14 November - Leigh Sawmill, support from Kendall Elise

Click here for ticket info