Margaret Urlich

The first female solo artist to have a number one single on the official New Zealand Music Chart

Margaret Urlich made history when she became the first solo female artist to land a number one hit in the official New Zealand Music Charts.

Her 1989 hit Escaping stayed at number one for three weeks, and remained in the charts for a massive 19 weeks.

She also had two other number one hits in the charts with different groups.

Urlich first emerged on New Zealand's music scene in 1984 as the co-lead singer of Auckland band Peking Man, which she was in with her brother Pat Urlich.


The band had a series of hits including Room That Echoes, which went to the top of the charts in 1985.

In 1988, Urlich began pursuing her solo career in Australia, releasing her debut solo album Safety In Numbers in 1989. The album sold 240,000 copies in Australia and won her an ARIA Award in 1991 for Best Breakthrough Artist.

During that time, Urlich also joined a side-project back home with a group of friends: Annie Crummer, Debbie Harwood, Kim Willoughby and Dianne Swann. They became known as When the Cat's Away.

They hadn't set out to make chart hits, but their 1988 cover of Blue Mink's Melting Pot sent them straight to number one and became a Kiwi classic.

Urlich dominated the 1989 NZ Music Awards, picking up album of the year, single of the year (Escaping), best female vocalist, best album cover (Safety In Numbers) and best group category with When the Cat's Away.

She also won the NZ Music Award for best female vocalist in 1985, 1986 and 1990, and the success of her second solo album Chameleon Dreams earned her a World Music Award for bestselling New Zealand artist of the year in 1992.

Urlich has sold more than 400,000 albums during her career, making her one of New Zealand's most successful recording artists.