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Pasifika talent and some of the country's top names in music are up for gongs at this year's S3 Pacific Music Awards.

Now in their sixth year, the awards honour Pacific music and artists - many of them well-known on the Kiwi charts.

Among the finalists this year is Josh ("J") Williams, whose hits include Ghetto Flower and You Got Me, featuring Scribe.

Williams - whose Pacific roots stem from Suva in Fiji and Savaii in Samoa - is up for two categories: Best Pacific Male Artist and Best Pacific Urban Artist, for his debut album: Young Love.

"I feel so privileged to be up for the Pacific Awards. I do this for my people - I'm representing them. So to be honoured by them, that's nothing but a privilege," he says.

Raised in Manurewa, the 23-year-old is up against fellow South Aucklanders Savage (rapper) and hip-hop group Smashproof, whose single Brother last year broke a 23-year-old record for the longest time a local song had stayed at No 1 on the singles chart.

"There's a lot of Pacific and Kiwi talent around and still coming up," said Williams, just back from an Australian tour.

"I was discovered jamming with the boys behind a van - now I'm signed up with [label] Illegal Musik ... I just say to kids, 'Go out there and let it be known'."

Other artists up for awards include Te Vaka and South Auckland reggae group Three Houses Down, for their album Break Out and single Kanikapila.

Upcoming artist Erakah and West Auckland teacher Malcolm Lakatani are also finalists for Best Pacific Female Artist and Best Pacific Male Artist, respectively.

The awards will be held tonight at the TelstraClear Pacific Events in Manukau City.