Aldous Harding has won the 2019 APRA Silver Scroll Award for her song ‘The Barrel’, with the award presented tonight at a ceremony at Auckland’s Spark Arena.
It’s the second time Aldous Harding has been a finalist for the prestigious songwriting award, having made the top five in 2017 for her song ‘Horizon’.
She was delighted with her win: “Thanks everybody. I think it’s wonderful you believe in us so much, and congratulations to the other nominees … I’ll put the money towards making the same happy mistake again.”
The past three years have been incredibly productive and busy for Harding. After signing to British independent label 4AD in 2017, she moved to Wales, releasing her second album Party, which won the 2018 Taite Music Prize.
Earlier this year she released her third record Designer, from which ‘The Barrel’ is taken. Both Party and Designer were made in collaboration with producer John Parish, who’s known for his work with PJ Harvey and Sparklehorse.
Harding has kept up a relentless touring schedule, with hundreds of shows across Europe, the US, Australia, and New Zealand, captivating audiences with her intense performance style and incredible vocal skills.
The Silver Scroll Award, which is voted for by musicians and songwriters who are members of APRA, will see her name engraved alongside other Aotearoa musical luminaries including Marlon Williams, Bic Runga, Ruban and Kody Nielson, Scribe and P Money, Chris Knox, Dave Dobbyn, and Shona Laing.
The award was presented tonight at a ceremony at Auckland’s Spark Arena. Harding accepting it via a pre-recorded video message, as she currently touring the U.S.
The ceremony included a number of special musical performances curated by Kiwi jazz legend Nathan Haines, who was this year's musical director. He hand-picked musicians to perform one-off reinterpretations of the finalist songs - always a highlight of the Silver Scroll Awards.
The night also saw a host of other Kiwi songwriters collect prizes.
Tyna Keelan, Angelique Te Rauna and Matauranga Te Rauna won the APRA Maioha Award for their song ‘Ka Ao’. The Maioha recognises exceptional waiata featuring te reo Māori.
Tyna Keelan (Ngati Porou, Ngati Rongomaiwahine, and Ngati Kahu) last took home the Maioha Award in 2011 for his work ‘Ko Koe’. This year Tyna teamed up with vocalist and former student Angelique Te Rauna (Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou and Tūhoe) and her uncle Mātauranga to write Ka Ao, a beautiful piano ballad about finding self-confidence and following dreams.
Wellington composer Michael Norris won the SOUNZ Contemporary Award for the third time (he previously won in 2014 for ‘Inner Phases’, and 2018 for ‘Sygyt’), with his composition ‘Sama Violin Concerto’.
Karl Steven won Best Original Music in a Series for the second time, for his dark and bold score for local series The Bad Seed, a drama about politics and power, based on the books by Charlotte Grimshaw.
First-time finalist Mike Newport won Best Original Music in a Feature Film for his composition for time-travelling heist film Mega Time Squad - a romping, fun-fuelled, 80’s-inspired piece.
Rounding off the evening was the induction of Ruru Karaitiana, Pixie Williams, and Jim Carter into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame. The trio created Aotearoa’s first ever homegrown pop song ‘Blue Smoke’ in 1949.
There was a beautiful tribute performance of the bi-lingual wartime ballad by a large ensemble made up of Lisa Tomlins, Kirsten Te Rito, Riki Gooch, Jacqui Nyman, Mark Sommerville, James Illingworth, Nick Atkinson, Matthew Verrill, Luca Manghi, the Black Quartet.
RNZ Music reporter Tony Stamp spoke to some of the nominees backstage: