Back on stage – Pacific Music Awards ban covid blues

By Susana Suisuiki and Finau Fonua

The Vodafone Events Center in Manukau, Auckland, came alive with music, glitz and glamor for the first live Pacific Music Awards in two years on Thursday night.

The annual ceremony has been held online for the past two years due to covid-19 restrictions.


Photo: RNZ / Liam Brown

Fa’anana Jerome Gray has been selected as the recipient of the Manukau Institute of Technology Te Pukenga Lifetime Achievement Award.

Grey’s signature song We are Samoa became the country’s unofficial anthem and its legacy was celebrated with a tribute performance by Brotherhood Musiq and Resonate.

Gray’s honor came at the end of the night, but first was the Pacific People’s Ministry Special Recognition Award, with the three winners being Ngaire Fuata, Tagata Pasifika and Niu FM – Pacific Media Network.

Pacific Media Network CEO Don Mann said that since its inception in 2002, Niu FM has nurtured many well-known Pacific media personalities.

“It’s a radio station, it’s a media platform but it’s more than that, it’s a gateway for Pacific people to realize their talent,” he said. .

“You look at Sela Alo and Sandra Kailahi who have had time in various media entities, so it’s more than just a place than just media – it’s bigger than that.”

Just over 30 years ago, Rotuman Ngaire Fuata topped the New Zealand music charts with his reinterpretation of the 1967 hit Lulu To Sir With Love. Today, Fuata has carved out a successful career in television, including producing the flagship Pacific current affairs show. Tagata Pasifika.

Ngaire said having a career in the music or television industry requires focus and dedication.

“It takes determination, a determination to do a job and do it right and if I say I’m going to do something, I’m pretty committed and motivated to finish the job and that’s really important to me.”

Lil Bubblegum at the 2022 Pacific Music Awards

lilbubblegum received the Arch Angel Independent Artist Award
Photo: RNZ / Liam Brown

East Auckland artist Jarna Parsons, known professionally as Jarna, has been awarded the Phillip Fuemana Award for Most Promising Artist in the Pacific.

Jarna said she was happy to have found the courage to get into music during her teenage years.

“I’ve always loved music – with the family we always did karaoke and that, and I actually didn’t start until after high school – I didn’t think anything about it. But then I thought, I might as well try.”

“Being different is good”

Samoan metal band Shepherds Reign won the Creative New Zealand Award and the band members were shocked when they were announced as the winners.

Shepherds reign at the 2022 Pacific Music Awards.

Shepherds Reign at Prizes
Photo: RNZ / Liam Brown

However, Filivaa James and Oliver Leupolu of Shepherds Reign said that while the majority of Pacific people don’t gravitate towards metal or rock, being different is okay.

“There’s always room to do crazy things that nobody’s done before – I think the most important message is just don’t be afraid – do what you want to do like what we did even our parents were against us but we always went against it so do what you feel like doing.”

The first Arch Angel Independent Artist Award went to lilbubblegum.

The 18-year-old has released his first single af1 in 2019, and quickly became an online sensation during New Zealand’s first covid lockdown in the fall of 2020.

The viral hitmaker says pursuing his dreams as a new musical artist comes at a cost.

“I think the biggest challenge is definitely the big poppy syndrome, especially in New Zealand, because when you do something different people want to pull you down and maybe you don’t mind them. not, but they just don’t know – it’s just the way it is in New Zealand.”

“I feel like it’s slowly changing with the new generation, but there are a few people who feel that way and that’s the hardest thing to go through as a new artist.”

Several first-time finalists won their respective categories, including Anthem which was recognized with 531pi Best Pacific Gospel Artist, while Sam V and Lisi received Best Pacific Soul/RnB Artist and Niu FM Best International Pacific Artist respectively. .

Passion the pilot for the rapper

Rapper Lisi, who was born in New Zealand before moving to Australia aged three, said having a music career was never part of his plan.

“My dreams weren’t to be a rapper, but I’ve always loved rapping and I guess that goes to show that passion gets you a lot far in life – the passion for rapping that I had made me want to to start making music and now I’m reaching heights that I never thought I’d reach, so yeah, it’s huge,” said Lisi – real name Talisi Poasa.

Diggy Dupe, Melowdownz, Choicevaughan at the 2022 Pacific Music Awards.

Diggy Dupe, Choicevaughan and Melowdownz
Photo: RNZ / Liam Brown

For their work on The Panthers soundtrack, Diggy Dupé, choicevaughan & P. ​​Smith were honored with the MPG/SAE award for best producer.

Fellow artist Kings was nominated for the NZ Music Commission’s Best Pacific Male Artist and received both the NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award and the NZ On Air Streaming Award for his track. Help me with Son of Zion.

Kingdon Chapple-Wilson, aka Kings, said the awards were an opportunity for him to reconnect with his Maori and Samoan identity.

“I think for us, especially for me, my mum was a single mum, so for her the cultural aspect – she was adopted into a Pakeha family, so it was really hard for us to identify with and so those are awards like these – his events like these help anchor someone to anchor me to anchor me in Pasifika, in Maori in who we are.”

Kings at the 2022 Pacific Music Awards.

Kings won three awards on the night
Photo: RNZ / Liam Brown

Melodownz & Summer Vaha’akolo won the NZ On Air Pacific Music Video award directed by Tom Hern and Timēna Apa, while Kas Futialo received the SunPix Best Pacific Language award for the album. Grandmasta Kas.

Onehunga-based hip-hop team SWIDT won three awards for Flava Best Pacific Group, Base FM & Island Base Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist and APRA Best Pacific Song for Garage Kelz.

SWIDT at the 2022 Pacific Music Awards.

SWIDT at prices
Photo: RNZ / Liam Brown

Tomorrow People received One Love Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist as well as recorded music Te Pukaemi Toa o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa Best Pacific Music Album for their album 21.

Group member Tana Tupai said that in its 10 years of existence, the group has had its fair share of ups and downs.

“Everyone says they don’t make music for the awards, which is true, but like everything, we worked really, really hard. I’m so proud of our team, we sacrificed so much. When I mentioned before about the internal struggles, they were real. We’re just really proud of the music we put out there.

Containment challenges overcome

Soul and RnB singer Emily Muli, who won Best Pacific Female Artist for her track To break, said she did not expect to win the award, despite coming from a strong musical background.

“I come from a Tongan family, I grew up in a Tongan church so it’s not like I have a choice to sing.”

Cook Islands sibling band Samson Squad have won the SunPix People’s Choice Award for Best Pacific Artist.

Tautape Samson said trying to create music during lockdown was a challenge.

“We weren’t expecting anything this time. During covid it was a very difficult time for us to produce new music, so with the award, with all of our friends, fans and supporters really supporting us despite covid and everything, I guess we’re for the people and with the people, and we just want to thank the people as well.”

Before the start of the 2022 Pacific Music Awards.

Before the start of the 2022 Pacific Music Awards.
Photo: RNZ / Liam Brown

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