May is known as New Zealand Music Month and there has been a lot of amazing talent coming out of the NZ music scene in recent years. Here are some awesome Kiwi music artists, besides Lorde, that you need to know about, stat.
One word to describe Kimbra: majestic. You may remember her from Gotye’s hit song Somebody That You Used To Know, but she is so much more than that. Kimbra is one of those rare artists who touches your soul and takes you away into another realm whenever she performs. I am spellbound by her every time.
Kimbra is from Hamilton and is now based in Los Angeles. She’s won a lot of awards, including two joint Grammys with Gotye for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group performance. She has released two albums to date – the first called Vows (2011) and the second called The Golden Echo (2014).
This is my favourite version of her song As You Are, by far. I don’t know how she does it, but this video tore me down and built me back up again in the space of seven minutes.
Favourite songs: As You Are, Withdraw, Settle Down and Two Way Street
Hayley Westenra is from Christchurch (yay!) and she is a classical crossover artist who has sung songs all over the world in over ten languages. She released her first album at age 16 called Pure (2003), which reached number one on the UK classical charts and has sold more than two million copies worldwide.
Hayley has released more than ten studio albums to date and she is also a UNICEF Ambassador who has helped various charities worldwide. Do you need any more reason to fall in love with her? I don’t think so.
I’ve always loved the way she sings this Māori love song called Pokarekare Ana. She has the voice of an absolute angel.
Broods, the sibling act consisting of Georgia and Caleb Nott from Nelson are making electropop waves in the music industry at the moment. They won the Smokefree Rock Quest music competition in 2011 as part of a band called The Peasants. It was there that they met and started collaborating with music producer Joel Little, who also produced Lorde’s 2013 hit single Royals. They released their first album called Evergreen in 2014.
Favourite songs: Bridges, Mother and Father and Never Gonna Change
Benny Tipene is from Palmerston North and got famous from the first season of New Zealand’s The X Factor, where he finished third. He released his debut album in 2014 called Bricks and it is one of those albums where every song is good – there’s not one song that I don’t like on it and that’s pretty rare.
I admit I’m a bit of a Benny fan so I may be biased, but you should definitely check out some of his songs. His latest single is called Lanterns.
Favourite songs: Lonely, Step on Up, Open Ending and Make You Mine
Brooke Fraser is from Wellington and is one of the most popular recording artists of all time in New Zealand. Her first album was released in 2003 called What to Do with Daylight and debuted at number one on the charts. I’ve always loved her music since her first album and I’m still really fond of her older songs, although her new stuff is good too.
Brooke has also helped a lot of people through World Vision as an Artist Associate since 2001. Her second album called Albertine (2006) was based on her experiences in Rwanda. Her latest single is called Kings and Queens.
Favourite soungs: Lifeline, Saving the World, Deciphering Me and Albertine
Six60 is a five piece band who formed in Dunedin while studying at the University of Otago together. They named the band after the street address of their house they lived in together. Their self-titled first album was released in 2011 and debuted at number one on the New Zealand charts and was certified gold within the first week of release.
Favourite songs: Only to Be, Don’t Forget Your Roots and Forever
Gin Wigmore is from Auckland and her claim to fame came when she wrote a song tribute to her father called Hallelujah, which won an international song writing competition in 2004. She went on to release two studio albums called Holy Smoke (2009) and Gravel and Wine (2011) with her third album Blood to Bone due to be released in June. Gin’s voice may be a bit of an acquired taste for some, but I’ve always been a fan!
Favourite songs: These roses, Hallelujah, Too Late for Lovers and I Do
Beau Monga is from Manurewa and was the winner of the second season of The X Factor New Zealand. His parents are part of a music group called Ardijah and Beau himself can sing, beatbox and breakdance. His winner’s single is called King and Queen.
In Beau’s first audition he did a version of Hit the Road Jack using a loop pedal and it was just awesome.
Ginny Blackmore is from Auckland and is most well-known for her 2013 hit single called Bones. She has previously written songs for Christina Aguilera and Adam Lambert and was the opening act for One Republic’s New Zealand concerts. She has an upcoming album called Over the Moon due to be released this year.
Favourite songs: Bones, Holding You and Sing for Me
So, did you enjoy these awesome acts from the New Zealand music scene?
Do you have any favourites?