Troy Kingi & The Upperclass win 2020 Taite Music Prize

The annual Taite Music Prize awards ceremony took a slightly different stage this year due to COVID-19 regulations. Originally to take place at Auckland’s Q Theatre in April, the awards ceremony found a new home via webstream on Facebook, YouTube and undertheradar.co.nz.

Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern delighted everyone with a quick appearance, presenting the main award and acknowledging the depth of loss COVID-19 has made on the music industry, “These are uncertain times but something I’m sure about is our [music] industry will be a vital contributor to New Zealand’s recovery and we are working hard as a government – as we speak – to make sure that the arts are at the centre of our revitalisation.”

The Taite Music Prize was awarded to the much-deserving Troy Kingi who delivered Holy Colony Burning Acres last July with his band The Upperclass. The album dives into worldwide indigenous politics, namely, colonisation and the crippling effects it has on today’s social climate. Embedded in electrifying 70’s-style deep roots/reggae, Troy Kingi takes these issues head-on with Marley-inspired political consciousness. Holy Colony Burning Acres is the third instalment in Troy Kingi’s 10/10/10 series: 10 albums in 10 genres in 10 years. Keep an eye out for his next project due later this year!

Troy receives a cash prize of $12,500 from Taite Music Prize founding partner, Recorded Music NZ; recording time at the Red Bull Studios in Auckland; and a years supply of Red Bull product. Congratulations Troy Kingi!

Previous winners of The Taite Music Prize:

2010 – Lawrence Arabia Chant Darling (Honorary Bedouin Records)

2011 – Ladi6 – The Liberation Of (What? Music)

2012 – Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Seeing Records)

2013 – SJD – Elastic Wasteland (Round Trip Mars)

2014 – Lorde – Pure Heroine (Universal Music NZ)

2015 – Jakob – Sines (Shoot The Freak)

2016 – Silicon – Personal Computer (Weird World/Domino Recordings)

2017 – Street Chant – Hauora (Arch Hill Recordings)

2018 – Aldous Harding – Party (Flying Nun Records / 4AD)

2019 – Avantdale Bowling Club – Avantdale Bowling Club (Years Gone By)

The Taite Music Prize highlights outstanding New Zealand albums released in the past calendar year. The award is open to all genres of music from any record label and judged on artistic merit, regardless of genre or sales. Named after the late Dylan Taite, one of the country’s most highly respected music journalists, The Taite Music Prize recognises outstanding creativity in an entire collection of music contained on one recording.

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