Mint Chicks, Hollie Smith dominate NZ Music Awards (+video, photos)

By Joanna Hunkin

They built their reputation on outrageous on-stage antics, but last night The Mint Chicks proved they have the goods to back it up, winning three Tuis at the New Zealand Music Awards.

The punk rockers were the big winners of the night, claiming the Best Group award and winning Best Album and Best Rock Album for last year's release Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!

"It's surprising because we've never been nominated for any of these awards before and then all of a sudden we get nominated and we win them all," said drummer Paul Roper.

"It's like we paid our dues and then they paid us back all at once, in one big hit," added guitarist Ruban Nielson.

The wins mark a break in tradition for the awards, which generally favour the most commercially successful artists and albums.

Named TimeOut's album of the year for 2006, Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! was a critical success but failed to achieve gold status, which requires a minimum of 7500 album sales.

Soul singer Hollie Smith proved the hottest solo talent of the night, winning three awards, including Best Female Solo Artist.

The surprise win saw Smith beat favourites Brooke Fraser and Hayley Westenra to claim the award.

"I don't understand how you can compare me, Hayley and Brooke," she said.

"We're just worlds apart. I've got huge respect for what they do. Anyone who does music in New Zealand has got a lot of guts."

Fraser continued her reign of commercial success, however, taking home the Highest Selling Album and Airplay Record of the Year awards.

New Zealand's original rocker Jonny Devlin became the second inductee to the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, winning the New Zealand Herald Legacy Award for his contribution to the Kiwi music industry.

The 69-year-old music veteran said he was honoured by the tribute.

The ceremony, hosted by comedian Dai Henwood, featured live performances by Evermore, The Mint Chicks, Atlas, Brooke Fraser and Hollie Smith.

WINNERS

Album of the Year: The Mint Chicks - Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!

Single of the Year: Evermore - Light Surrounding You

Vodafone People's Choice Award: Opshop

Best Group: The Mint Chicks - Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!

Best Male Solo Artist: Tim Finn - Imaginary Kingdom

Best Female Solo Artist: Hollie Smith - Long Player

Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Hollie Smith - Long Player

Best Rock Album: The Mint Chicks - Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!

Best Urban/Hip Hop Album: PNC - Rookie Card

Best Aotearoa Roots Album: Hollie Smith - Long Player

C4 Best Music Video: Sam Peacocke - Crazy?Yes!Dumb?No! (The Mint Chicks)

Best Dance/Electronica Album: Shapeshifter - Soulstice

Best Maori Album: Richard Nunns & Hirini Melbourne - Te Whaiao: Te Ku Te Whe Remixed

Best Gospel/Christian Album: Rapture Ruckus - I Believe

Best Classical Album: John Psathas - View From Olympus

The New Zealand Herald Legacy Award: Johnny Devlin

International Achievement: Evermore

Highest Selling Album: Brooke Fraser - Albertine

Highest Selling Single: Atlas - Crawl

Airplay Record of the Year: Brooke Fraser - Deciphering Me

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