5 May 2020

Troy Kingi & The Upperclass win 2020 Taite Music Prize

From RNZ Music, 7:30 pm on 5 May 2020

Troy Kingi and his band have won the Taite Prize for their deep-roots/reggae album Holy Colony Burning Acres.

Named for the late Dylan Taite, one of New Zealand’s most highly respected music journalists, The Taite Music Prize celebrates outstanding creativity in an album.

Also honoured at tonight’s online ceremony was celebrated New Zealand musician Shona Laing who received the Classic Record Award for her iconic 1987 album South. The award highlights iconic New Zealand records that continue to inspire today.

Shona Laing - South

Shona Laing - South Photo: Album Cover

"It’s blissful,” Shona said upon receiving the honour, “It’s the sweetest award I think I’ve ever had."

Music industry legend Murray Cammick was awarded the Independent Spirit Award, which celebrates a New Zealander whose work in the music industry assists in the growth of local musicians and creatives alike.

Cammick has been an exemplary all-rounder in the music industry since the '70s, having contributed through his work in photography, journalism, radio and more. He co-founded seminal music magazine RipItUp in 1977 and with Simon Lynch, launched Southside Records in 1989 (Moana and the Moa Hunters, Upper Hutt Posse, Ngaire).

Cammick documented important cultural moments including Bob Marley's visit to Aotearoa in 1979. His "fly on the wall" approach meant he was able to capture rare and unique moments of big stars including Iggy Pop, George Benson, Debbie Harry and Siouxie Sioux.

Millie Lovelock - Repulsive Woman

Millie Lovelock - Repulsive Woman Photo: supplied

Dunedin-based songwriter Repulsive Woman - aka Millie Lovelock - took home Best Independent Debut, for her album Relief.

The ceremony was live streamed via Facebook and YouTube, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern making an appearance.

She acknowledged the depth of loss the music industry has felt as a result of COVID-19.

“These are uncertain times, but something I’m sure about is our music industry will be a vital contributor to New Zealand's recovery and we are working hard as a government to make sure the arts are at the centre of our revitalisation."

Troy Kingi’s winning album Holy Colony Buring Acres is an electrifying 70's-style deep roots/reggae record that dives into indigenous politics, namely, colonisation and the crippling effects it’s had worldwide.

Kingi said he thought he had no chance of winning, and it was "crazy" that he did. 

He thanked Triple A Records, RedRoom Studios, Matt Smith, the Upperclass, his management and aunties, among others. 

"All my indigenous brothers and sisters that sent in, and we had hundreds of them send in, poems, karakia, stories, thoughts. All of those that didn't make it onto the album and those that did make it onto the album - every single one of you made this album what it is, so thank you so much.

"This is us. This album is us, so thank you."

He said he was "super humbled" to win the award, and he appreciated the artistry of all the finalists - "you are all amazing". 

Kingi said he had an awesome year last year and looked forward to the future. 

The record is the third instalment of Kingi's 10/10/10 series: 10 albums in 10 genres in 10 years. Keep an eye out for his next project due later this year!

He receives a cash prize of $12,500 from Taite Music Prize founding partner, Recorded Music NZ; recording time at the Red Bull Studios in Auckland; and a year’s supply of Red Bull product.