30 Apr 2020

2020 Pacific Music Awards finalists announced

From RNZ Music, 8:00 am on 30 April 2020

A mix of newcomers, old hands - and Polynesian metallers - are among the finalists for this year's Pacific Music Awards.

Leading the finalists are young Auckland hip hop duo Church & AP. After being nominated for Best Hip Hop Artist at the 2019 NZ Music Awards, they released their debut album Teeth in Novemeber last year.

Skip to fill list of finalists

The pair have been nominated for four awards including Best Pacific Group, Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist, Best Producer and Best Pacific Music Album.

International Pacific star Olivia Foa’i is in the running for four awards: Best Pacific Female Artist, Best Pacific Language, Best Producer (with her brother Matatia) and Best Pacific Music Album.

Listen to the PMA 2020 Finalists Spotify Playlist

Foa’i rose to fame as a member of Te Vaka, the group responsible for Disney’s Moana soundtrack. She released her debut solo album Candid last year.

Hip hop artist Poetik, known to many as ‘Poly Pac’ (in reference to West Cost hip hop legend Tupac Shakur), took home Most Promising Artist at the 2018 awards, and achieved huge success with his 2019 EP HAMOFIED 2.

He’s been nominated for three awards – Best Pacific Male Artist, Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist and Best Pacific Music Album.

In a Pacific Music Awards first, Auckland band Shepherds Reign are the first Polynesian heavy metal group to be nominated as finalists.

They’re up for Best Pacific Group, Best Pacific Language and Best Pacific Song for their single ‘Le Manu’. Inspired by the legend of an ancient Samoan warrior, ‘Le Manu’ is quite possibly the first heavy metal song sung in the Samoan language.

Legendary Samoan family band Punialava’a – recipients of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award – are back this year with nominations for Best Pacific Gospel Artist and Best Pacific Language for their album Sili’aga I Fa’atufugaga, Beyond Our Stories.

Soul singer and Samoan New Zealander Lou’ana, who released her debut solo material in 2019, is nominated for Best Pacific Female Artist, Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist and Best Pacific Music Video. She has plans to release her first album this year. 

Both Noah Slee and Lepani are nominated for Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist, as well as Best Pacific Male Artist, while rapper Melodownz is nominated for Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist for his song ‘No Mercy’ featuring American rapper Denzel Curry.

Pacific Music Awards Trust spokesperson Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua said with the challenging situation caused by Covid-19, it’s more important than ever to celebrate the successes of our artists. 

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt, even by our humble 2020 Pacific Music Awards, requiring us to navigate through these times of uncertainty and great sadness. We acknowledge our traditional role and contribution to uplift the spirit and well-being of our people. 

“We also take on the challenge of navigating the new economic reality and technology opportunities for our awards. Today we’re immensely proud to recognise this year’s finalists, who are exciting new and seasoned Pacific artists, that are making waves and taking Pacific music to new heights and realities. ”

The winner of the Best Pacific Music Album category will be presented with their award at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards later this year. 

Pacific Music Awards 2020 finalists:

Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist:

  • Bella Kalolo - ‘Ends of the Earth’
  • Lou’ana - ‘Move Along’
  • Olivia Foa’i - Candid

NZ Music Commission Best Pacific Male Artist:

  • Lepani - ‘Pockets Full of Love’
  • Noah Slee - Twice
  • Poetik - HAMOFIED 2 EP

Flava Best Pacific Group:

  • Church & AP - Teeth
  • Shepherds Reign - ‘Le Manu’
  • Tomorrow People - ‘Fever feat. Fiji’

NZ On Air Best Pacific Music Video:

  • Disciple Pati - ‘The Boy Who Cried Woman' | Directed by Shae Stirling and Sapati Apa
  • Lou’ana - ‘Eye To Eye' | Directed by Annie Duckworth 
  • SWIDT - ‘Bunga' | Directed by Anahera Parata

APRA Best Pacific Song:

  • General Fiyah - ‘It’s You' feat. Three Houses Down | Written by Charlie Pome’e and Nicholas Pome’e
  • Lani Alo - ‘Alo I Ou Faiva' | Written by Metitilani Alo and Livingstone Efu
  • Shepherds Reign - ‘Le Manu' | Written by Oliver Leupolu, Filivaa James, Joseph Oti-George, Gideon Voon, Shaymen Rameka

SunPix Best Pacific Language:

  • Lani Alo - ‘Alo I Ou Faiva’
  • Olivia Foa’i - Candid
  • Punialava’a - Sili’aga I Fa’atufugaga, Beyond Our Stories
  • Shepherds Reign – ‘Le Manu’

Base FM NZ & Island Base FM Samoa Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist:

  • Church & AP - Teeth
  • Melodownz - ‘No Mercy feat. Denzel Curry’
  • Poetik - HAMOFIED 2 EP

Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist:

  • Jordan Gavet - ‘Hesitation’
  • Lepani - ‘Pocket Full of Love’
  • Lou’ana - ‘Move Along’
  • Noah Slee - Twice

Pato Entertainment Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist:

  • General Fiyah - ‘Its You feat. Three Houses Down’
  • Lomez Brown - ‘Tell Me’
  • Raggadat Cris - I Swear
  • Tomorrow People - ‘Fever feat. Fiji’

PMN Best Pacific Gospel Artist:

  • Lani Alo - ‘Alo I Ou Faiva’
  • Punialava’a - Sili’aga I Fa’atufugaga, Beyond Our Stories 
  • JXN - ‘Talako Dragon’

PMN Best International Pacific Artist:

  • HP Boyz - ‘Engineers’ 
  • Josh Tatofi - Ua Kui A Lawa
  • Kaiit - ‘Miss Shiney’

Recorded Music NZ Best Pacific Music Album:

  • Church & AP - Teeth
  • Olivia Foa’I - Candid
  • POETIK - HAMOFIED 2 EP

Best Producer:

  • Church & AP - Teeth | Producer: Dera Meelan
  • Kings - ‘Hit That’ | Producer: Kings 
  • Mikey Mayz - ‘Wild People’ | Producers: Tia Drumma and EDY
  • Olivia Foa’i - Candid | Producer: Matatia Foa'i

Listen to the PMA 2020 Finalists Playlist: