Kiwi music icons Anika Moa and Bic Runga will helm this year's Apra Silver Scrolls Awards, paying tribute to the five finalists who have been announced today.

The five songs in the running for New Zealand's most prestigious songwriting award are: Troy Kingi's Aztechknowledgey, The Beths' Future Me Hates Me, Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Hunnybee, Chelsea Jade's Laugh It Off, and Marlon Williams' Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore.

They will each be honoured in the ceremony at Auckland's Spark Arena on October 4.

Apra also announced that this year's awards would be hosted by Kiwi musician, TV personality and three-time Silver Scroll nominee Anika Moa.

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TV favourite Anika Moa will host the Silver Scrolls. Photo / Supplied
TV favourite Anika Moa will host the Silver Scrolls. Photo / Supplied

The singer says she's "looking forward to standing in front of my musical peers and talking their ears off.

"There is no doubt I will be offensive, rude, and cheeky but I also endeavour to be articulate, wise and singing lots and lots on the night. May the best songwriter win."

Moa will be joined at the helm of the awards by Kiwi legend and 1996 Silver Scroll winner Bic Runga, who has taken on the job of music director.

Runga's job is to have the finalists' songs "reinterpreted by other artists and honour the songwriting".

"I've always wanted to have the chance to be the music director for the scrolls," says Runga.

Bic Runga will be music director for this year's Silver Scrolls. Photo / Supplied
Bic Runga will be music director for this year's Silver Scrolls. Photo / Supplied

"I'm working hard on it now and it's put me in touch with many great artists I've admired but not yet met. But most of all it's a celebration of our great songwriting talent. All the finalists' works are incredible. I'm having such a great time with this already."

Those finalists have beaten out more than 200 other entrants, including Tami Neilson, Ladi6, Rob Ruha, Anthonie Tonnon, Ha The Unclear, Julia Deans and more.

The ceremony will also feature the presentation of the Apra Maioha Award, celebrating top waiata sung in te reo Māori; the Sounz Contemporary Award, Apra Best Original Music in a Feature Film and Apra Best Original Music in a Series.

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Apra will also induct a yet-to-be-announced songwriter into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.

The winners of the Maioha and Sounz Contemporary awards, the NZ Music Hall of Fame inductee will also have their works reinterpreted.

AND THE FINALISTS ARE...

MARLON WILLIAMS - NOBODY GETS WHAT THEY WANT ANYMORE

Where were you when you wrote the song?

I was at home in Lyttelton. Inspiration hit me like a ton of bricks on this one. It all came splurging out in a short space of time.

How did you feel when you wrote it?

I felt like if I didn't write it, I wouldn't be able to move forward in any direction with any certainty - musically or personally. It made me feel like the captain of my own ship.

Which other NZ song has stopped you in your tracks this year?

I've been waiting for Emily Fairlight's album with bated breath and it hasn't disappointed. Have a listen to Body Below. It's truly economic songwriting. An emotionally complex idea delivered simply in two minutes, 30 seconds.

CHELSEA JADE - LAUGH IT OFF

Where were you when you wrote the song?

It was in an LA studio and I was sitting next to my friend and the song's producer, Brad Hale. It's rare to feel that it's appropriate to sit in tandem with a producer but Brad is Midwestern and the sweetest. We get on beautifully. It was our first time making a song together and I had the phrase "laugh it off" circulating in my brain. I think at first we were trying to make something that wouldn't sound amiss in the Womack and Womack catalogue. I love where we ended up.

How did you feel when you wrote it?

Bratty and jubilant. I was also in a phase of wearing white jeans and white T-shirts every day, which speaks to both of those modes, I think. They also catch the party lights we had dancing in the corner of the dark studio perfectly. My lasting memory of writing this song is Brad right up on the spinning lights, dancing with his whole self to what we had just made.

Which other NZ song has stopped you in your tracks this year?

I'm huge fan of The Beths and their album just came out. It's an absolute scorcher. Every song is perfect. I couldn't pick just one.

THE BETHS - FUTURE ME HATES ME
-Elizabeth Stokes

Where were you when you wrote the song?

I was living in the city, newly unattached and living on my own for the first time. It was a lot of upheaval and change, and though it was new and strange, I could feel that I was starting to understand myself and that felt important. And then I started falling for somebody and it was very frustrating knowing that what I logically thought was "give it more time, you idiot". I did not do that, and it seemed like a reckless choice at the time. But it's worked out pretty great.

How did you feel when you wrote it?

It was the most tumultuous year of my adult life. I feel like a pretty level person and I like being level. But I was experiencing the kind of emotions I hadn't felt since I was a teenager; waves of joy and depression that would just knock me over.

Which other NZ song has stopped you in your tracks this year?

It's no secret that I'm a huge Hans Pucket fan, and Old U Vs The New U from their album Eczema destroyed me when I first heard it live, towards the end of last year. It's a beautiful song, with a beautiful arrangement that builds and builds in such a satisfying way. It makes me well up.

TROY KINGI - AZTECHKNOWLEDGEY

Where were you when you wrote the song?

To be honest there was no eureka moment. Of all the songs on the album Aztechknowledgey was the one I worked on the longest... because I was really precious about the chorus. Every verse, every bridge I matched it with seemed like they were just lacking. It wasn't until a week leading into recording, when I was chilling in my father-in-law's caravan, that it all just seemed to come thick and fast - the "sending his son to the moon" concept, the chords, the melodies. It was probably due to the fact I was under the pump to finish writing my album and I had no time to second-guess myself - that does help.

How did you feel when you wrote it?

I felt complete. Like I said, I had been banging it around for a while, so to have it finished was like finally scratching that year-old itch. This song in particular plays a big part in the fictional space odyssey narrative of the Zygertron record - if you can understand it all, Aztechknowledgey ties up a lot of loose ends as well as creating new ones. I'd say it's the major arc of the album.

Which other NZ song has stopped you in your tracks this year?

I've got two: Marlon's Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore, because of the vocal honesty, the hook is haunting and it's just really dope. Man's got it all; voice of the ages, brooding good looks and charming as hell. And more recently, Tom Scott's (Avantdale Bowling Club) Years Gone By, because you can just tell the man's put a lot of work and thought into it, the music's dope, his flow is insane and the track's just fire.

UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA - HUNNYBEE
- Ruban Nielson

Where were you when you wrote the song?
I was sitting next to my daughter, trying to make her go to sleep. When she was finally asleep I sang it into my phone because I thought it was cute. Then I was in New Zealand at [his brother] Kody's studio with my bandmates and I showed them the idea and we went through it a couple of times and recorded it live. It came together very quickly both times, but those two events were about four years apart.

How did you feel when you wrote it?
It was summer in Portland and in New Zealand four years later. So it's a very breezy kind of song, and it's kind of gentle and full of love. Everything from the writing, to the recording, to the mixing of this particular song was very light and easy and dreamy, and you can hear that, I think.

Which other NZ song has stopped you in your tracks this year?
I'll avoid saying my brother's music but that has been something I listened to a lot. I'm sure there's a lot of stuff but the most recent thing is that new Jassbusters song. Connan [Mockasin] does this weird David Gilmore bend on the guitar riff and it's been playing in my head all week.

LOWDOWN:
What: Apra Silver Scroll Awards
When: October 4 at Spark Arena
Where: The awards will be streamed on rnz.co.nz/music