Lorde took home her first official music award last night, as she won coveted songwriters trophy, the APRA Silver Scroll, along with her co-writer and producer Joel Little for their international hit song Royals.
The annual award, which was presented at an impressive ceremony at Vector Arena in Auckland, is voted for by 10,000 New Zealand songwriters who are members of the Australasian Performing Rights Association, and is particularly prized by songwriters as a vote of confidence, and an indication of artistic integrity, from their peers.
Little told Lorde on stage: "It's taken me 10 years to get up on this stage, and it's taken you just 10 months. You're kind of annoying ... the scary part of it is you definitely haven't written your best song."
It was no surprise to see the award go to Lorde, despite the fact that it is the first nomination for 16 year old Ella Yelich-O'Connor, and her 30-year-old songwriting partner Little, who first released Royals for free as part of her debut EP The Love Club in December last year.
Since then, the song has skyrocketed both locally and internationally, debuting at No. 1 in New Zealand (staying in the top 10 for 31 weeks so far), and recently hitting No. 1 on the US Billboard charts, where it currently sits.
With its stripped-back palette of seductive vocals, snappy percussion, and intense bass blooms, it has become the irresistible pop hit of the year, and the fact it manages to both critique and celebrate pop culture in the same breath has made it popular with mainstream and alternative audiences.
The SOUNZ Contemporary Award was also presented to young Wellington composer Karlo Margetic for his piano trio work Lightbox, and the APRA Maioha Award was won by Whakatane's Maisey Rika, along with co-writers Te Kahautu Maxwell, and Mahuia Bridgeman-Cooper for their song Ruiamoko.
The evening was marked by innovative performances of all the nominees' works by fellow musicians under the musical direction of Godfrey De Grut, and the adaptation of three songs by Dave Dobbyn, who was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame (at long last, some might say).
He was honoured with a presentation by fellow songsmith Warren Maxwell (of Trinity Roots and Little Bushman) - and a rousing performance of his 1978 hit Be Mine Tonight by Shihad, along with versions of It Dawned On Me by Mark Vanilau and Scribe, and Language by Tami Nielson.
Earlier, Little told APNZ the nomination was a big deal for him and Lorde.
"I've been coming to these for a long, long time and seen a lot of amazing songs take it out and a lot of amazing songs get nominated.
"It's a big deal, man. I remember explaining to Ella when we were first writing songs about the Silver Scrolls.
"She knew about them and I was like, 'If we got nominated with this song, this would be like, a huge deal'.''
The event at Vector Arena will also marked the induction of Dave Dobbyn into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame and the presentation of the APRA Maioha Award for contemporary Maori music and the SOUNZ Contemporary Award for contemporary classical.
Dobbyn is a three-time past Silver Scroll winner for Beside You (1998), You Oughta Be In Love (1987) and Belle of the Ball (1993).
He told APNZ "it's a bit like Christmas''. "It's a real pat on the back and a great honour to be honoured by other songwriters and members of APRA.
"I just feel blessed to have done what I'm doing for a few decades, and now I can just keep doing it for a few more.
"You never sort of set awards as goals ... it's an honour nonetheless.
"All I set out to do is just write a really good three-minute song, and that's pretty much what I do.''
Past hall of fame inductees have included Jordan Luck, Johnny Devlin, the Topp Twins, Straitjacket Fits, Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns, Ray Columbus and the Invaders, The Fourmyula, Shihad, Hello Sailor, Dragon, Toy Love and Herbs.
- With APNZ