Solo voices dominate NZ Music Awards nominees

By Russell Baillie

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Last year's New Zealand Music Awards ceremony was dominated by groups - led by the runaway success of Fat Freddy's Drop - but this year it seems to have swung back to solo voices.

The award nominations, announced yesterday, have three veteran singer-songwriters - Bic Runga, Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan - among the five nominations vying for the top award, Album of the Year.

Runga's third album Birds already has two Tuis next to its name from the technical categories announced yesterday.

She also has two other nominations - Best Female Solo Artist and Single of the Year - taking her potential haul at the Aotea Centre on October 18 to five.

McGlashan and solo debut Warm Hand is up for Best Album and Best Male Solo Artist. Bathe In The River, the Hollie Smith-sung song he wrote for the No. 2 soundtrack would seem to be a frontrunner for Single of the Year.

The solo practitioners might have had even more nominations had organisers, the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand, not dropped the Songwriter of the Year category. Rianz decided that songcraft was already recognised by the Apra Silver Scroll, which will be presented on September 20.

As well as being up for Best Album for his Available Light, last year's Songwriter of the Year, Dave Dobbyn, is nominated alongside McGlashan and Che-Fu in the Best Male Solo Artist category.

Other leading nominees include Auckland punk band the Bleeders, who are up for Best Group, Breakthrough Artist and Best Rock Album for As Sweet as Sin, the artwork of which won Chris Knox the Best Album Design among the technical categories yesterday.

Hip-hop's heavy presence in past years has been pegged back this year. Only Che-Fu and Frontline appear outside the best hip-hop group category.

And while last year's wins by Fat Freddy's Drop and Shihad gave the awards a Wellington-centric feel, this year few acts are from outside Auckland in the major categories, though capital city collection Fly My Pretties is up for Best Group and Best Aotearoa Roots Album.

Also on two nominations apiece are drum'n'bass heavyweights Concord Dawn, pop-punk outfit Elemeno P, singer-songwriter Anika Moa, hip-hop duo Frontline and South Auckland soulstress Aaradhna.

No finalists are announced in advance for the highest-selling single and album, the radio airplay and the international achievement awards. Many of the acts also figure as candidates in the public-voted People's Choice Awards - which mean that Fat Freddy's Drop might even win something this year too.

Early winners

Three technical category winners were awarded yesterday during the nomination announcement for the 41st New Zealand Music Awards. Bic Runga and her Birds album have already scored two wins with her winning best producer for the album and Andre Upston taking away best engineer for his work on the record.

The best album cover award went to Chris Knox for his artwork on the Bleeders' debut album As Sweet As Sin.

How to be there

For the first time in its 41-year history, this year's New Zealand Music Awards ceremony is open to the public.

Tickets are now on sale for the show at Auckland's Aotea Centre on Wednesday October 18. Who will be performing on the night is yet to be confirmed but, as always, the show will feature many of the nominees and some surprises. Tickets are $45 and available from Ticketek and selected music stores.

2006 NOMINEES

PlayStation 2 SingStar Album of the Year

Don McGlashan - Warm Hand
Bic Runga - Birds
Dave Dobbyn - Available Light
Concord Dawn - Chaos By Design
Elemeno P - Trouble in Paradise

The New Zealand Herald Single of the Year

Bic Runga - Winning Arrow
Goldenhorse - Out Of The Moon
Mt Raskil Preservation Society featuring Hollie Smith - Bathe In The River
Pluto - Long White Cross
The Feelers - Stand Up

Kiwi Best Group

Bleeders - As Sweet As Sin
Elemeno P - Trouble In Paradise
Fly My Pretties - The Return of Fly My Pretties

Best Male Solo Artist

Che-Fu - Beneath the Radar
Dave Dobbyn - Available Light
Don McGlashan - Warm Hand

Best Female Solo Artist

Aaradhna - I Love You
Anika Moa - Stolen Hill
Bic Runga - Birds

Breakthrough Artist of the Year

Aaradhna - I Love You
Bleeders - As Sweet As Sin
Frontline - Borrowed Time

C4 Best Music Video

Mark Williams - Wandering Eye (Fat Freddy's Drop)
Alyx Duncan - Fuji (Minuit)
Adam Jones - Long White Cross (Pluto)

Best Rock Album

Bleeders - As Sweet As Sin
Blindspott - End The Silence
Elemeno P - Trouble In Paradise

Best Urban/Hip-Hop Album

Frontline - Borrowed Time
Nesian Mystik - Fresh Men
Opensouls - Kaleidoscope

Best Dance/Electronica Album

Concord Dawn - Chaos By Design
Recloose - Hiatus on the Horizon
Sola Rosa - Moves On

Best Aotearoa Roots Album

Anika Moa - Stolen Hill
Fly My Pretties - The Return of Fly My Pretties
Rhombus - Future Reference

Best Maori Album

Mahara Tocker - Hurricane's Eye
Rodger Cunningham - Toto
Te Reotakiwa Dunn - Te Reotakiwa Dunn

Best Gospel/Christian Album

juliagrace - juliagrace
Mumsdollar - A Beautiful Life
Shooting Stars - Over The Water

Best Classical Album

Bridget Douglas and Rachel Thomson - Taurangi
The New Zealand Trio - Spark
Tower Voices Of New Zealand - Spirit of the Land

People's Choice Award

Pluto
Frontline
Elemeno P
Bic Runga
Goodnight Nurse
Fat Freddy's Drop

How to vote in the People's Choice Award
Voting is open now for the People's Choice Award, the category in which New Zealand music fans have their say.

This year's finalists are Pluto, Fat Freddy's Drop, Frontline, Elemeno P, Bic Runga and Goodnight Nurse.

Here's how to vote your favourite artist by text message

1) Txt Choice and then

A for Pluto
B for Fat Freddy's Drop
C for Frontline
D for Elemeno P
E for Bic Runga
F for Goodnight Nurse

2) Send the TXT to 3950

The text votes cost 50c each but, by voting, you and a friend could win VIP passes to the New Zealand Music Awards at the Aotea Centre on October 18 - and just as you've recovered from that big night you'll then fly to the Australian Music Awards in Sydney.

Other categories to be announced on night

Highest Selling NZ Single
Warehouse Highest Selling NZ Album
NZ on Air Radio Airplay Record of the Year

- NZ Herald

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