Graham Reid | | 3 min read
The annual Silver Scroll Award – which was founded in 1965 – acknowledges the depth of original songwriting in Aotearoa New Zealand, but there can only be one winner.
The award goes to the song which the members of APRA considers the best song of the year, regardless of how much or little it sold or was played on media outlets.
The award is for quality not quantity.
The finalists for 2020 are . . .
Don’t You Know Who I Am, written and performed by Reb Fountain
Get The Devil Out, written and performed by Nadia Reid
Glitter written by Stella Bennett, Joshua Fountain and Djeisan Suskov, performed by Benee
In The Air, written by Arapekanga Adams-Tamatea, Brad Kora, Stuart Kora, Joel Shadbolt, and Miharo Gregory, performed by L.A.B
Mighty Invader, written and performed by Troy Kingi
And – with highlighted text where Elsewhere had something to say, and video clips – this is what the APRA press release has to say about the songs and artists . . .
Reb Fountain’s sultry, singular voice has been intertwined in the Aotearoa music scene for many years, but the release of her third, self-titled album that hit the top 3 spot on the album charts earlier this year, has cast a wide alt-folk spell and seen her connect with a whole new audience both locally and internationally. Don’t You Know Who I Am is a swirling, smoky, heart-stopping ballad, providing an intimate yet bold exploration of identity, calling on the listener to “dig deep, wake up, open your eyes and beat your own drum” as Fountain explains.
Previously a top 5 finalist in 2017 for her song Richard, Nadia Reid returns this year with Get The Devil Out. From her recently released third album Out Of My Province, which garnered serious international acclaim, Get The Devil Out is a thoughtful reflection on reconciling past and present selves – “making friends with who I used to be’ she sings. Capturing a quiet but powerful feeling of open space, it starts gently, but builds intensity as Reid’s alluring, wise voice imparts the mantra – “they will never take it from me”.
It was only last year that Stella Bennett (Benee) along with co-writers Djeisan Suskov and Josh Fountain, took out a top five spot with Soaked. Now they’ve rolled right back in with Glitter, from her 2019 international hit EP Fire on Marzz. An easy-going pop-ode to the people you still want to party with after everyone else has left, it’s an aural evocation of slow turning glitter balls throwing multi-coloured circles of light around a room. Pairing Bennett’s wonderfully mischievous yet husky voice with the sunny, confident sound of Fountain and Suskov’s production, it highlights a seductive rhythmic playfulness that also manages to create a mellow post-party vibe.
Back in March L.A.B became the first local independent act to have a song hit #1 in NZ since 2012. A laid-back reggae and blues groove, In The Air showcases L.A.B’s talent for a catchy melody, and spent three weeks in that top chart spot. Combining vocalist Joel Shadbolt’s remarkable crooner skills with guest vocalist Lisa Tomlins, the song manages to be both a slow-burning nostalgic love song, and an old school dance floor spinner that also owes its success to the tight instrumental interplay between Brad Kora (drums), Stu Kora (guitar, keys), Ara Adams-Tamatea (bass), and Miharo Gregory (keys).
In 2018, Troy Kingi was a finalist for his song Aztechknowledgey, and this year he is once again in the top five for his compelling track Mighty Invader. From his 2019 reggae album Holy Colony Burning Acres, it’s an incredible, clear-eyed work exploring the painful legacy of colonization. It provides a visceral picture of Captain Cook’s arrival in the pacific, and the muddy oppression of indigenous people that followed, woven into Kingi’s smooth vocals, Marika Hodgson’s wonderfully melodic basslines, and rousing horns from Guy Harrison.
ALL AWARDS WILL BE PRESENTED ON WEDNESDAY 14TH OCTOBER.
The other awards presented on the night are:
APRA Maioha Award, celebrating exceptional waiata featuring te reo Māori
SOUNZ Contemporary Award - Te Tohu Auaha, celebrating excellence in contemporary composition
APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film Award
APRA Best Original Music in a Series Award