Nathan Haines - Court and Spark
I grew up in Allum St in Kohimarama and our neighbours were the Lawrys. Every day after school I would go and play snooker on their dad's full-size table and the Lawry boys would always play the latest albums from their extensive record collection - lots of Van Morrison and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. We also listened to a lot of Joni Mitchell and, when I had the privilege of collaborating with Nathan Haines on his Music for Cocktail Lovers album, he recorded Court and Spark. Nathan's rendition of this classic song is a masterpiece and my play count is at a ridiculous number.
Luther Vandross - Never Too Much
I had the privilege of running CBS Records New Zealand in the 80s. We represented thousands of artists from every musical genre and I remember my first number one hit when I was working in promotions was Anita Ward's Ring my Bell. While I have a love and appreciation for all styles of music, my favourite is soul R&B. A career highlight for me was watching Luther Vandross perform for us at a CBS International Conference in Puerto Rico. He was the greatest artist of all time and is sadly missed.
Carl Doy with The NZSO - Clair de Lune
At a recent interview I was asked what song I would choose if I had to listen to just one piece of music, 24/7, for the rest of my life. While one of my all-time favourites is Disco Inferno by The Trammps, I am not sure I could make it to day two on repeat. So the piece I settled on was Clair de Lune, performed by pianist Carl Doy. I signed Carl more than 30 years ago. He is an exceptional performer, arranger and composer. We have produced hundreds of recordings together, with the highlight being Oprah Winfrey naming our Together 10 CD Collection her favourite thing of the year.
Dave Dobbyn - Beside You
I had the privilege of partnering with Dave on his Loyal album in 1987. Dave has provided the soundtrack for all of our lives but I particularly love Beside You, from his album The Islander. He is our national treasure.
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Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons - Can't Take My Eyes Off You
Selecting wedding music can be a tough job, whether it is the first dance or for the bride to make her grand entrance at the ceremony. This track will always fill me with joy as I remember walking my daughter Sarah down the aisle while it played at full volume.
Neil Finn - Sinner
When we created The Great New Zealand Songbook in 2009 it was a monumental task to settle on the 40 songs that would feature on just two CDs. The reality was that Dave Dobbyn and Neil Finn could each provide enough hits on their own. Don't Dream its Over was the obvious choice for Neil but Sinner from his Try Whistling This album was my personal favourite and the song I selected to represent him.
Teeks & Hollie Smith - Whakaaria Mai/How Great Thou Art
Producing the Offering album this year was a life highlight and this recording is one of the high points of this exceptional project. The Prime Minister invited Hollie and Teeks to perform Whakaaria Mai following her address at the Christchurch memorial service at Hagley Park. I continue to be amazed at the timing of this release, which offered some light and hope at such a dark time in our nation's history. Their performance continues to move me to the core.