24 May 2024

Suzanne Prentice star guest performer at Country Music Honours

5:25 pm on 24 May 2024
Suzanne Prentice

New Zealand's original queen of country Suzanne Prentice is performing as the star special guest. Photo: facebook

Country music fans will be celebrating with the Country Music Honours taking place tonight.

The much-anticipated premiere event will take place at the Gore SBS St James Theatre.

At the event the finalists for the MLT Songwriting Award and APRA Best Country Music Song Award will be revealed, with some of those artists also there to perform for the event.

The original queen of country in Aotearoa Suzanne Prentice is performing as the star special guest.

Prentice has more than 50 years in the business, she was voted the 1986 New Zealand Entertainer of the Year, and has been the recipient of three Australian Gold Guitar Awards.

Prentice has more awards and platinum albums than any other New Zealand entertainer.

Her most successful single 'When I Dream' peaked at number 11 in New Zealand during 1982.

She takes great delight in telling Jesse Mulligan about the renewed interest around the world in country music.

"It's amazing how these things come around. It's cyclical, but it's nice to see that country music is really starting to boom again. And not only in New Zealand, but in the States, and very much so in England."

Not that she categorises herself as a pure country artist.

"I've always loved it, but I tend to sit middle of the road I loved Anne Murray, I loved Karen Carpenter who was nothing to do with country, but the voices I liked were very much I guess the adult contemporary style of country".

Her own voice is holding up well, she said

Suzanne Prentice in the 1970s Photo courtesy AudioCulture. Photo:

"I think my voice has become more mellow than what it was when I was younger. And I guess I'm enjoying it, I can relax into things more. And I'm just lucky that I really haven't been let down with my voice more than probably four or five times in 50 years. It's like an old warhorse."

She is looking forward to performing in front of her peers tonight, she said.

"It's always great to see anything in the music industry doing well. And I take a great delight in that and it's lovely to be asked to this.

"I can remember performing in Gore many, many years ago. And it's lovely to be asked back, a lot of these people are the people that I grew up with down here in Southland so I'm looking forward to it."

She will draw on a huge repertoire of songs for her performance tonight, she said.

"I'm doing 'Hallelujah', I'm going to do a Cilla Black song which has nothing to do with country but it's an awesome song and I'm going to do an old Monkees one 'Daydream Believer'.

"I really like the songs that people, as soon as they hear them, they know the songs, and they enjoy the songs. To me that is one of the most important things, people have got to enjoy what they're listening to, you've got to get that that audience with you, and that's the way I do it."

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

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

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs