Taxpayers are shelling out thousands of dollars to promote Ladyhawke's latest album and profile while she is touring in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Kiwi singer-songwriter - whose real name is Pip Brown - has enjoyed big hits including My Delirium and Paris is Burning.

She has made a huge impact at New Zealand music awards and at last year's Brit awards was nominated for international female solo artist, alongside Lady Gaga, Norah Jones, Rihanna and Shakira.

The Music Commission has helped her to pick up a $59,000 taxpayer grant from its Outward Sound scheme.

Ladyhawke's manager, Dan Medland, said the grant would help to build the musician's career.

"Myself and [Music Commission export manager] Gary Fortune see her as a worldwide artist, but she is not there yet," he said.

"She had success in the UK and some parts of Europe - we have been once to US and Japan once - this grant will help us provide the ability to do more ... The cost of these things is astronomical."

The Music Commission said Ladyhawke was intent on maintaining a New Zealand base. The Outward Sound grant - given to five or six musicians each year - was seen as a business development investment.

Ladyhawke returned to New Zealand 18 months ago and lives in Auckland.

Her 2008 debut album, Ladyhawke, sold 300,000 copies worldwide.

The commission is one of three government agencies that pays for New Zealand bands' overseas success.

Creative New Zealand paid for King Kapisi and Bella Kalolo to play at the Glastonbury Music Festival. A European tour by Ladi6 is also being subsidised by taxpayers. And New Zealand on Air gave $50,000 to subsidise an album by Annabel Fay, daughter of rich-lister Sir Michael Fay.