Stephanie Brown, aka Lips, has won New Zealand's top songwriting prize for her sultry, electronic-inflected R&B song Everything to Me.
She won the 2012 APRA Silver Scroll Award at the Auckland Town Hall last night, voted for by the organisation's 8000 songwriter members.
The multi-talented Brown has been a full-time keyboard player for many years, working with acts like the Opensouls, Anika Moa, and Sola Rosa, but she's been writing and singing as part of Fredericks Brown and recording as a solo artist since she moved to New York in 2007.
She still divides her time between New York and Auckland, and though she is yet to actually release her debut EP, her song has clearly captivated the voters with its slow-burning electro-groove, underneath lyrics about wanting to find a way out of the daily grind.
The other four finalists were Getaway Tonight by Opossom, Hibernate by singer-songwriter Lydia Cole, Girl in Stilettos by Annah Mac, and State Houses by the River by The Eastern, all of which were covered in performances by different local acts under the musical direction of Shihad's Jon Toogood.
Two other songwriting awards were also given out, with Alex Taylor winning the SOUNZ Contemporary Award for his composition [inner], and Awa (otherwise known as Te Awanui Reeder of Nesian Mystik) the Maioha Award for his te reo composition Matahiapo.
The final honour of the evening went to Auckland band Herbs, who were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.