The finalists for this year's New Zealand Music Awards have been released and to celebrate, we're helping you get to know this year's nominees for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. You can also see the full list of nominees at the bottom of this page.


Also nominated for: Best Solo Artist, Best Alternative Artist

Nadia Reid released her second album Preservation earlier this year; 10 tracks of delicately structured folk with a stunningly earthy edge.

Reid has been tirelessly playing shows around the world in the months since its release, recently finishing off a European tour with a performance on the legendary UK music show Later... with Jools Holland.


Success has been a slow burn for Reid, who released her debut album in 2014 - and the singer-songwriter says being recognised by the VNZMAs is a valuable boost in her stride.

"Recognition and acknowledgement is a nice feeling, especially in your home country," she says. "It's a nice reminder that our work is important and worthwhile."

Already on her second album, and well-seasoned with the ins and outs of touring the world, marking a "breakthrough" moment over the past few years isn't easy - and Reid agrees her climb is far from over.

"My years keep getting busier, so there's a sense that I am building on something," she says. "I think an artist needs to keep growing, in terms of themselves and in terms of 'reach' in order to survive."

One major life step stands out in particular, however - "When I left my job making coffee in Dunedin last year and I turned to music full-time, it started to feel real."

Reid calls Aldous Harding a friend, and says she's "in awe" of her fellow nominees' work - but the competition aspect of an awards ceremony is something she struggles with.

"Music is not a competition. The moment these awards start driving an artist, it's game over."


Also nominated for: Album of the Year, Best Alternative Artist

Amelia Murray recorded her debut album in her Morningside bedroom - but she still gets a kick out of seeing people pick up on her low-key shoegazer sound.

"Seeing my home-made album being talked about in international publications feels pretty surreal," Murray told TimeOut when asked when she felt like she'd broken through.

"Also when my mum texted me to tell me my music video hit three million plays," she adds.

She's talking about Lucky Girl, one of the poppiest songs from her debut album Morningside, which was recorded in a studio set-up at her Morningside home.

Recorded on "one mic, a sound card and a laptop," it's picked up three nominations at the New Zealand Music Awards, including nods for Album of the Year, Breakthrough Artist and Best Alternative Artist.

The news caps off a stellar year for Murray, which includes the release of her debut, several overseas visits, 3.2 views of the Lucky Girl video, international acclaim, playing her first headlining shows at home, and a five-star review for Morningside from TimeOut.

Still, Murray's favourite moment from the past year isn't a big show, meeting someone famous, or those VNZMA nominations.

It's something far more humble: seeing fans clutching copies of Morningside at a small in-store appearance in central Auckland.

"One of my favourite moments this year was playing in the Flying Out Record Store the day my vinyl came out," says Murray.

"It was a special moment for me to see my debut album being held in other people's hands for the first time."

*Listen to TimeOut's weekly podcast TimeOut Talks here:


Also nominated for: Best Soul/RnB Artist, Best Māori Artist

Teeks is the newest of the breakthrough nominees, having just released his debut EP this June to rave reviews.

At 23 years old, Teeks - whose real name is Te Karehana Gardiner-Toi - has gone from te reo Maori teacher to Kiwi superstar, having made an impressive mark on the Kiwi music industry, with his 50s soul sound, one-of-a-kind vocal tone and his hit single If Only, which made the top 20 shortlist for this year's Silver Scroll Award.

So a nomination for Best Breakthrough Artist seems like a no-brainer, but for Teeks, it's "quite surreal".

"It really means a lot to me, especially with this being my first ever release. It's quite surreal actually. I do music because I love it and for no other reason," he says. "But to be acknowledged in this way it pretty special."

It's especially surprising for Teeks because he still doesn't feel like he's "broken through".
"Getting the EP from start to finish was quite a long process and in the time spent in between, I really learned a lot about myself not only as an artist, but as a human being," he says.

"When you've been that emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually invested in something, for so long.. .I can't explain what it feels like to finally let it go.

"When you're in that space it's like nothing else exists. Even post-release you still haven't quite returned to earth. I think finally getting it out to the world though was a defining moment and I knew things were just getting started."


Also nominated for: Album of the Year, Best Solo Artist, Best Alternative Artist

Aldous Harding has had a massive year - but it's been a long road to success.

Her self-titled debut album in 2014 announced her as a formidable talent within the New Zealand music industry, and Harding had already become one of the most impressive acts on Flying Nun's roster before her breakthrough international success this year.

The singer-songwriter, known for her strikingly powerful voice and sparse, haunting style of folk, landed a record deal with US indie giant 4AD earlier this year - home to artists such as Grimes and Future Islands.

She released her sophomore album Party in May, which earned generous helpings of praise from international publications such as NPR and The Guardian. She also joined Kiwi superstar Lorde on Later... with Jools Holland for the first all-female line-up in the show's 25-year history.

But it didn't all happen overnight. "I wrote the first song for Party two and a half years ago, and we recorded eight months ago," Harding told TimeOut in May.

"Some albums take 10 years, some take two days, so I don't really feel like I can comment on the length of the road - just that it was pleasant and I wasn't alone."

Recently up for a Silver Scroll [alongside fellow VNZMA nominee Nadia Reid] for her single Horizon, Harding is no stranger to recognition. Her VNZMA nomination is just one achievement of many more to come; undoubtedly, Harding's horizon will only continue to expand.

The VNZMA's will be broadcast live on Three on November 16, from 8.30pm.


Album of the Year:

Aldous Harding - Party

David Dallas - Hood Country Club

Fazerdaze - Morningside


Lorde - Melodrama

SWIDT - Stoneyhunga

Single of the Year:
David Dallas - Fit In
Ladi6 - Royal Blue
Lorde - Green Light
MAALA - In My Head
SWIDT - Player Of The Day
Theia - Roam

Best Group:
Devilskin - Be Like The River
Shapeshifter - Stars
SWIDT - Stoneyhunga

Best Solo Artist:
Aldous Harding - Party
Lorde - Melodrama
Nadia Reid - Preservation

Breakthrough Artist of the Year:
Aldous Harding - Party
Fazerdaze - Morningside
Nadia Reid - Preservation
TEEKS - The Grapefruit Skies EP

Best Rock Artist:
Clap Clap Riot - Dull Life
Devilskin - Be Like The River
Graham Brazier - Left Turn at Midnite

Best Pop Artist:
Lorde - Melodrama
Mitch James
Theia - Theia

Best Alternative Artist:
Aldous Harding - Party
Fazerdaze - Morningside
Nadia Reid - Preservation

Best Soul/RnB Artist:
Ladi6 - Royal Blue 3000
TEEKS - The Grapefruit Skies EP
Tommy Nee - Colorblind

Best Hip-Hop Artist:
David Dallas - Hood Country Club
SWIDT - Stoneyhunga

Best Roots Artist:
Israel Starr - The Producers Chair, Dancehall Vol. One
Sons of Zion - The Jukebox Suite
Tomorrow People - Lock Me Up

Best Electronic Artist:
Chaos In The CBD
K+Lab - The Worldly's
Truth - Wilderness of Mirrors

Best Māori Artist:
Alien Weaponry
Maisey Rika - TIRA
TEEKS - The Grapefruit Skies EP

Best Worship Artist:
Curate Music - These Eyes
Josh & Amberley Klinkenberg - Flood Me
Juliagrace - Girl on the Kitchen Floor

Best Classical Artist:
Jenny McLeod - 24 Tone Clocks
NZTrio - Sway
Te Kōkī Trio - Debussy Sonatas and Piano Trio

People's Choice: