Fat Freddy's Drop top music awards

By Scott Kara

If you had said to someone six months ago that Fat Freddy's Drop would clean up at the 2005 New Zealand Music Awards, the response would have been, "Not a hope".

But last night, at a ceremony at the Aotea Centre in Auckland, the Wellington band won four awards, including Album of the Year for their debut, Based on a True Story.

Fat Freddy's unique blend of reggae, soul and bass-heavy beats is a rarity in today's music charts dominated by the ring-tone music of Crazy Frog and pop star Hilary Duff. But since being released in May, the album has sold more than 33,000 copies. What makes this popularity even more incredible is the fact it had little marketing to promote it.

The seven-piece band, which includes musical mastermind Mu (real name, Chris Faiumu) and singer Dallas Tamaira, also won Best Group, Best Aotearoa Roots Album and the People's Choice award.

Another big winner last night was hip-hop artist P-Money, who won best Urban/Hip-Hop Album and Best Male Solo Artist for Magic City. He also won two awards last year for his work on Scribe's album The Crusader.

Classical songbird Yulia took home two awards for Best Female Solo Artist and the Highest Selling New Zealand Album for Into the West.

Dave Dobbyn added another Tui to his cabinet - although he probably needs a shed by now - after winning the Songwriter of the Year Award for Welcome Home, a song inspired by an anti-racism march in Christchurch. Algerian exile Ahmed Zaoui, who features in the Welcome Home video, was on stage to sing part of the song solo, and part in duet with Dobbyn. Zaoui was rewarded with loud, long applause.

Breaks Co-Op won Single of the Year for The Otherside, but were unlucky not to win more awards for their excellent album, The Sound Inside. And as expected, the Breakthrough Artist Category was won by young North Shore band the Checks who are off to Japan to support the Hives, and then head to Australia to support British rockers Oasis.

Shihad won Best Rock Album for Love Is the New Hate. Best Video was won by Chris Graham and Dei Hamo for We Gon' Ride by Dei Hamo.

And the International Achievement Award was shared by Scribe, Evermore and the Finn Brothers. Scribe is now a household name in Australia, as are Evermore, who also recently won the Apra Silver Scroll and signed to American label Sire. The Finns continue to tour and sell albums internationally.

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