Unknown Mortal Orchestra
(Nominated for best: Album, Single, Group, Alternative Artist)
Band members: Ruban Nielson, Kody Nielson, Jake Portrait, Thomas Hoganson
Date formed: 2010
Biggest chart hit: A God Called Hubris, American Guilt
Breakthrough moment: UMO's debut self-titled album was released in June 2011 and the following year it won the highly coveted Taite Music Prize as well as critical acclaim around the world.
Claim to fame: UMO have consistently stayed on top of their game, winning a Taite, a Silver Scroll and an NZ Music Award already, as well as touring the world and becoming indie darlings in the US.
History matters: UMO was born from the ashes of Kiwi favourites The Mint Chicks, which brothers Ruban and Kody Nielson started in 2001, along with Paul Roper and Michael Logie. The group met in high school and went on to nab six Tuis before splitting in 2010.
FYI: UMO is currently on tour in Europe but will play three dates in NZ this summer with Fat Freddy's Drop and some other insane Kiwi talent. They'll hit Christchurch, Queenstown and Auckland on January 12, 14 and 19.
(Nominated for best: Album, Single, Group, Pop Artist)
Band members: Eli Paewai, Chris Mac, Ji Fraser, Marlon Gerbes, Matiu Walters
Date formed: 2008
Biggest chart hit: Rise Up 2.0, Special
Breakthrough moment: Six60 hit the ground running. Their first album debuted at number one in the NZ charts and was certified gold within its first week of release. Their first two singles Rise Up 2.0 and Don't Forget Your Roots hit number one and two respectively and were certified double and triple platinum. They remain two of their biggest hits to this day.
Claim to fame: Six60 recently made history when they sold out their gig at Western Springs Stadium. The boys will play to an audience of 50,000 which will make it the biggest ever headline show by a Kiwi act at the venue, and they're the first Kiwi band to headline there. That audience is five times bigger than the band's previous sell-out shows and bigger than all the shows on their last summer tour combined.
History matters: SIX60 was formed in Dunedin when the founding members met while attending the University of Otago. Their name comes from the street number of the house they lived at 660 Castle St.
FYI: Six60 will play Western Springs on February 23 along with fellow Tui frontrunners Drax Project, Kiwi favourites Sons of Zion, rap superstars SWIDT and rapper/producer IllBaz.
(Nominated for best: Single, Group, Breakthrough Artist, Pop Artist)
Band members: Sam Thomson, Shaan Singh, Matt Beachen, Ben O'Leary
Date formed: 2013
Biggest chart hit: Woke Up Late
Breakthrough moment: Drax Project achieved every internet artist's dream; they uploaded their first EP to Bandcamp and the exposure from that saw them rack up bookings for summer festivals in 2014-15. By 2016, they were signed with Universal and released a second EP, produced by Devin Abrams, and their first single Cold was a viral hit.
Claim to fame: In 2017 they opened on Lorde's Melodrama World Tour, and this year they opened all three of Ed Sheeran's massive Auckland shows for his Divide Tour - the biggest stadium tour with the highest ticket sales to ever hit New Zealand. They've also just finished a European tour opening for Camila Cabello.
History Matters: Drax Project began as buskers in Wellington where they mostly performed pop covers and played small gigs at local bars. All members were jazz students at Massey University, except for Ben O'Leary who studied music at Whitireia. Their first album was produced as part of a friend's music school assignment.
FYI: Drax Project is touring New Zealand this summer with Kings, hitting Whitianga's Coroglen Tavern on December 27, New Plymouth's Butlers Reef on January 3 and the Waihi Beach Hotel on January 5.
(Nominated for best: Album, Group, Māori Artist, Rock Artist)
Band members: Lewis de Jong, Henry de Jong, Ethan Trembath
Date formed: 2010
Biggest chart hit: Kai Tangata
Breakthrough moment: In February, Alien Weaponry signed an international deal with Napalm Records in Europe, after signing on with German-based management agency das Maschine last September. After that they got a European festival tour and their debut studio album Tū debuted at number five in NZ, scored more than a million streams on Spotify in its first week, had its songs playlisted by over 50 radio stations in the US and their single Kai Tangata rocketed to number one on the prestigious "Devil's Dozen" on New York-based Sirius XM.
Claim to fame: Alien Weaponry is New Zealand's first – and very likely the world's only - thrash metal band which performs in te Reo Māori. They're believed to be youngest recipients to get New Zealand on Air funding with their song Rū Ana Te Whenua in 2015.
History matters: Alien Weaponry was formed in Auckland in 2010 by brothers Lewis and Henry de Jong who were just 8 and 10 years old at the time. They got the idea for their name after watching Peter Jackson's sci-fi flick District 9. In 2016 the band won both the Smokefree Rock Quest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats becoming the only band to have ever won both events.
FYI: This summer, Alien Weaponry is heading on a massive US tour with Ministry throughout November and December, before embarking on a festival run through Australia and Europe in 2019. First though, they'll perform at tonight's awards ceremony.