12 cool things Kiwi artists have achieved in past year

To celebrate New Zealand Music Month, here are 12 cool things Kiwi musicians have achieved in the past 12 months you might've missed...
Gin Wigmore, Savage and Tami Neilson have all done cool things in the past 12 months. Photos / Supplied, Paul Taylor
Gin Wigmore, Savage and Tami Neilson have all done cool things in the past 12 months. Photos / Supplied, Paul Taylor

Despite being only 19, unassuming Wellingtonian musician Eddie Johnston managed to pique the interest of the world with not one but two musical projects.

Under the moniker Lontalius, he ended up signed to a bunch of hip indie labels, and has just released his debut album, while his more DJ-based act Race Banyon impressed Lollapalooza organisers enough to put him on the bill.

One of our favourite local songbirds had a dream come true this year - Tami Neilson had one of her songs chosen to be used in hit American primetime TV series Nashville.

So Far Away, which is from her stunning 2015 album Don't Be Afraid, featured on an episode yet to be available in New Zealand, but apparently the song plays while favourite character Deacon Claybourne is talking in a bar.

Gin Wigmore also continued her impressive run of TV and film synchs, with her songs appearing in the trailer for Tina Fey's Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Melissa McCarthy's Spy, along with shows like Girlfriend's Guide To Divorce, The Catch, Younger, Vampire Diaries, Mistresses, The Good Wife, Grey's Anatomy, and multiple advertising campaigns.

Six60 relocated to Los Angeles last year, and seemingly knocked that move out of the park by quickly working their way into the studio with none other than Pharrell. We've yet to hear the fruits of those sessions, but even getting in the room with the international superstar producer is a big deal.

Photo of members of Six60 in the studio with Pharrell.
Photo of members of Six60 in the studio with Pharrell.

Speaking of impressive collaborations, Tiny Ruins aka Hollie Fullbrook recorded an appropriately surreal song with David Lynch called Dream Wave, which has just been released to much applause from the blogosphere.

It started when Lorde introduced them in order to create a song for the Hunger Games soundtrack, but wasn't included in the end. Tiny Ruins is also performing at the Sydney Opera House next month, as part of Sydney's Vivid Festival.

The Phoenix Foundation notched up another amazing soundtrack with their efforts on Hunt for the Wilderpeople. They're longtime collaborators with Taika Waititi, but in our opinion they deserve some special accolades for this retro-electro work which manages to be both romping good fun, and plenty emotional, while also releasing another five-star album of their own - Give Up Your Dreams.

Broods released their new single Free on April 1, and it's had over 3,335,000 plays on Spotify since, which means their combined Spotify streams of their 10 most played songs have cracked a whopping 100 million. Plus they're performing on The Late Late Show with James Corden on May 18.

Broods.
Broods.

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra were nominated for a Grammy this year. Which once again proves the outstanding calibre of their work, even though they didn't win - to be named as one of the five best orchestral performances in the world is brilliant.

Though Lorde got much-deserved attention for her excellent tribute to David Bowie at the Brit Awards, not quite so many people saw Kimbra performing alongside David Byrne and The Roots in a very uplifting tribute to Bowie at the 31st Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Byrne inducted Bowie himself into the Hall of Fame back in 1996, and specially asked Kimbra to join him for the performance of Fame.

Kimbra with David Byrne.
Kimbra with David Byrne.

Marlon Williams has been whipping up a frenzy internationally, touring almost non-stop since his debut self-titled album was released last year. He played nine shows at SXSW, and confirmed the following festivals to come: Latitude Festival, Longitude Festival, and Austin City Limits.

Radio in the US and Europe love him, reviewers can't stop raving, and just yesterday he broke more hearts with his performance on Later With Jools Holland. It's only time before this young man is a superstar.

Another local dude who's been touring non-stop since the release of Multi-Love is Ruban Nielson with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. It seems that tour just keeps going and going (like an Eveready battery), and along the way they've performed on Conan O'Brien and Late Night With Seth Meyers, as well as tallying up 40 million plays on Spotify with their top 10 songs.

Who knew, but people in the Netherlands are really into Savage. His 2015 hit Freaks achieved gold record status there selling more than 20,000 copies, as well as spending 29 weeks in the Australian Top 40.

And it seems all that radio play is working in his favour, because Freaks is the second consecutive triple platinum single he's had in the lucky country, with both Swing and Freaks selling more than 210,000 each.

- TimeOut

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