Singer-songwriter and national treasure Bic Runga will receive the
Legacy Award and be inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame at this year's VNZMAs.
Her songs, universally personal and melancholically tender, have spoken to us all. There is no doubt she has been the soundtrack for more than a few tears over the past 20 years.
But her discography is not all teary-eyed whimsy and broken-hearted ballads. Her pop sensibilities are also honed tight. She can sparkle, she can get you bopping, and yes, she can rock.
Bic Runga, mate, she can deliver.
"I'm both proud and humbled to receive the Legacy Award," she said. "It's been a confronting few weeks of processing the news, because on the one hand I'm honoured to have my contribution to New Zealand music recognised, but on the other hand, such an award can sometimes imply your best days are behind you."
Such humour, such modesty, such nonsense. Behind her? Nah. Her music continues to grow and expand and seek out new sonic territory. Even now, as her career is celebrated, she is readying a new album.
Close Your Eyes will be out on November 18 and is surely housing a new Kiwi classic within its track list.
"I had been struggling to work on new music when they let me know [about the award], so I finished the album with a new feeling of confidence and urgency," she told us. "I learned that I wanted more from music, that I didn't like the feeling that it was all in the past. I'm grateful for that feeling."
Feelings. So much of her music has had a direct hotline to our feelings. But let's ignore all that for a moment and instead look at the cold hard numbers of Runga's career.
Her first three albums,
, sold a remarkable half million copies between them. Her hit single
went seven times platinum. Second album
went 11 times platinum.
She's our most awarded solo artist, having picked up 20 Tui awards, including Best Album for debut Drive and Best Female Vocalist four times.
She has featured on soundtracks of two major American motion pictures (the 90s faves American Pie and Cruel Intentions). She has taken home the Tui for Single of the Year. She has won APRA's prized Silver Scroll. She has been awarded the important New Zealand Order of Merit.
"Of all the experiences I've had in my career, the best have been to do with my relationships to other musicians, to know and work with people that I've admired," Runga told TimeOut when quizzed on what she considered her proudest musical moment.
"Musicians can be strange and sensitive creatures, but to communicate with them musically is when things start to transcend. That's easily the most wonderful thing about the job."
Eschewing Tui's tradition of having a tribute performance in her honour, Runga instead will take to the stage at the VNZMAs to perform her songs herself.
She will lead a star-studded band of those "strange, sensitive creatures" but exactly who is in her band is being kept a tight-lipped surprise for the night.