The 20 songs in the running for this year's Apra Silver Scroll award have been whittled down to just five finalists - and it's no surprise Lorde's Royals is on the shortlist.

But the anthemic R&B hit by the 16-year-old music sensation, which has been breaking chart records not just in New Zealand, but also in the US, faces some strong competition.

Also making the list are Bird in Hand, the latest electro-folk single from soulful songstress Anna Coddington; Complicated Man, the rich, dark, alt-country track from stripped-back duo Tattletale Saints; Wake Up, the up-beat, doo-wop-inspired pop hit from returning diva Aaradhna; and Thames Soup, the driving, classic rock track from Wellingtonian stalwarts the Phoenix Foundation.

Watch The Phoenix Foundation's Sundae Session performance of Thames Soup

The songs are voted on by the 10,000-strong membership of Apra, the organisation that represents the interests of local songwriters, and though the top 20 were a diverse list, it seems women and solo artists are the dominant force in this year's top five.


The finalists for both the Maioha Award (for songs in te reo) and the Sounz Award (for contemporary classical music) have also been announced.

Watch Anna Coddington talk about Bird In Hand

E Te Iwi by IWI, Ruaimoko by Maisey Rika, and Te Ngakau Mamae, by Ngatapa Black are vying for the Apra Maioha Award, while Lightbox for piano trio by Karlo Margetic, TIMEDANCE by Michael Norris, and Triple Concerto for piano trio and orchestra by Chris Gendall are in the running for the Sounz Contemporary Award.

The awards have moved location this year, from the Auckland Town Hall to Vector Arena, and the ceremony will take place on October 15, where other local acts will cover all 11 finalist songs, under the guest musical directorship of Godfrey de Grut, who has spent many years performing and writing with acts from Che Fu to Anika Moa, Brooke Fraser, Nathan Haines and Kanye West.

Watch Aaradhna's Wake Up

Another influential local songwriter - or group of songwriters - will also be honoured with induction into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, following in the footsteps of the organisation's past inductees Hello Sailor, the Fourmyula, Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns, the Topp Twins, Jordan Luck, and Herbs.

You'll be able to watch an exclusive live stream of the award ceremony and performances on the night here on NZ Herald Online.

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Watch Lorde perform Royals at the recent iHeart Radio NZ concert

- TimeOut