3 Nov 2016

Scuba Diva is the Critics' Choice

9:27 am on 3 November 2016

This year’s New Zealand Music Awards Critics’ Choice winner might be seen as an up-and-comer, but he’s no newbie.


Critics' Choice winner Scuba Diva, aka Jimmy Mac, playing at the prize giving gig.

Critics' Choice winner Scuba Diva, aka Jimmy Mac, playing at the prize giving gig. Photo: Luke McPake/The Wireless

The prize was last night handed to synthesizer man Scuba Diva, who was nominated alongside singer-songwriter Kane Strang and rappers Spycc + INF.

Scuba Diva, aka Jimmy Mac, has also played drums for Popstrangers and DHFHDs, and keyboards for Lorde - most famously at the popstar’s Grammy performance a couple years back.

A warm-up to the main New Zealand Music Awards event, the Critics’ Choice Prize aims to recognise new music talent and indicate potential future Tui winners.

The three nominees each played a set to a crowd made up of mostly family, friends and music industry people before the gong was handed out at the Tuning Fork in Auckland.

The award comes with a $8000 ‘New Music Single’ grant from NZ on Air, audio services at Stebbings Recording Centre, a year membership to the Music Managers Forum, and industry mentoring services.

While Scuba Diva went home with the big prize, it was Spycc + INF’s performance that won over the crowd.

Hailing from Onehunga, these two talented rappers had the audience hooked from the first beat, with an energetic set full of great flow, banter and hilarious skits.

They also received some of the biggest cheers of the evening thanks largely to a crowd full of loyal and enthusiastic supporters adorned in Hawaiian shirts in tribute to the ‘No More Parties In Stoneyhunga’ video.

Previous winners of the Critics' Choice Prize include Street Chant, Kimbra, LarzRanda and Bespin.

The Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards take place on the 17th of November at Vectora Arena with Broods, Aaradhna and Fat Freddy’s Drop among the artists nominated. Bic Runga will also be inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.


Scuba Diva at the Critics' Choice Prize.

Scuba Diva at the Critics' Choice Prize. Photo: Luke McPake/The Wireless

Kane Strang at the Critics' Choice Prize.

Kane Strang. Photo: Luke McPake/The Wireless

Spycc + INF at the Critics' Choice Prize.

Spycc + INF on crowd control. Photo: Luke McPake/The Wireless

Scuba Diva, aka Jimmy Mac.

Scuba Diva, aka Jimmy Mac, keeps his acceptance speech short and sweet. Photo: Luke McPake/The Wireless