This morning the finalists for the VNZMAs were announced (you can see a full list here), and, in the spirit of supporting all things Kiwi, we thought we’d share our top 3 candidates and explain what makes them worthy of being nominees and – hopefully – winners.
Let’s be honest, no-one is shocked that Broods have made it into every category that they’re eligible for (Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group, Best Pop Album, People’s Choice Award…). And I wouldn’t be shocked if they won them all, either. Conscious is a serious contender for my favourite album of 2016, so it’s obviously my favourite NZ album of the year. With their success spreading to the US this year, it’s clear that they’ve got a sound that very few Kiwi acts manage to achieve, and it’s one that gives them that international appeal. Conscious is a highly empowering album, and if you haven’t driven down Highway 1 blasting Free while screaming it at the top of your lungs then I’m not actually convinced that you’re living your life the way it deserves to be lived. The singles (and every track in between) are the catchiest, most emotionally charged songs of the year and a win in every category is more than warranted. Plus they’re the kind of adorable humans that you would be more than happy to introduce to your mother. They are also advocates for mental health awareness, with a portion of the proceeds from their latest tour going towards the charity Key to Life – a beautiful gesture, particularly for a fairly new band that doesn’t have the massive income that many less philanthropic artists do. The combination of their talent and kindness makes it super easy to love this brother/sister duo.
Fave tracks: Free, Freak of Nature (Feat. Tove Lo), and Recovery
If Broods have to give up their title to anyone, let it be MAALA. We’ve been huge fans here at The Speakeasy ever since we were lucky enough to witness him work his magic at MTV’s Brand New showcase here in NZ a couple of months back. And when I say ‘huge fans’ what I really mean is ‘we’re obsessed to the point of it being a little bit weird’. His hit single Kind of Love is one of those fantastic tracks that gets stuck going around in your head until you’re cursing the day it was born. And then you put it on and you remember exactly why it got stuck there in the first place. MAALA has just released his latest single, Stranger, which has all of the same catchy undertones that made Kind of Love so great and it makes you wanna give him a cuddle and tell him everything is going to be just fine. And that’s the thing. He’s approachable and relatable, and all of the things we love about our humble Kiwi artists. His Twitter is run by him personally and it gives you a sense of really knowing him, and based on this, I don’t think you have a choice but to love him…
witnessing a very vocal trump supporter/ kanye hater at this music store. i’m dying inside.
— MAALA (@MAALAmusic) October 12, 2016
Fave tracks: Breathe Out and Kind of Love
The New Zealand Music Awards are unique in that their ‘rock artist’ category actually has rock artists within it. I know. What a wild concept. Usually, at award shows such as The Grammys, we’re faced with a category filled with slightly alternative popular music that isn’t quite catchy enough to fit into the ‘pop’ category. We’re so often left with the idea that acts such as Coldplay and Paramore (both incredible bands, don’t get me wrong) are ‘rock’. And, well, they’re not. So kudos to you, New Zealand, for promoting actual rock music and not letting this category fall by the wayside. I’ve been a fan of Villainy since their 2012 release, Mode. Set. Clear., and it’s brilliant to see them back in the running for Best Rock Album, which they won in 2013. Villainy are coming at us with a New Zealand tour (which starts tomorrow in Auckland – tickets still available here) to promote their 2015 release Dead Sight, which has now been out for a little over a year. The band have taken a dark turn with this record, but the stunning depth and honesty could well be the reason they received the nomination for Best Rock Album. I’m all about depth and honesty, so I really, really hope they win.
Fave Tracks: Syria and Give Up The Ghost
The Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards will be held on the 17th of November at Auckland’s Vector Arena and you can buy tickets here.