16 Nov 2017

The Singles Life: Six questions we want answered from the VNZMAs

12:30 pm on 16 November 2017

Welcome to weekly series The Singles Life, where known experts Katie Parker and Hussein Moses peruse, ponder and pontificate on the latest and (maybe) greatest in New Zealand music.

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It’s the most magical time of the year: that’s right the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards are upon us again, ready to light up our lives with music, mischief and fabulous, glamorous celebrities. So what can we expect? Katie and Hussein are here to answer all your burning VNZMAs questions.


Is it time we just gave Lorde her own category?

Katie: Since she first burst into the spotlight in 2013, the VNZMA’s have turned into something of a Lorde fest and with the former white teeth teen returning to the stage this year we might as well just call it a Lorde show with some awards on the side.

With 12 Tuis already and five nominations this year it seems hard to imagine that Lorde won’t sweep the board again given that the success of her second album Melodrama somewhat swamps the more modest achievements of our other local acts.

After scooping up the single of the year in 2015, 2014, and 2013, and with 30 percent of the prize weighted by sales, it seems almost impossible that ‘Green Light’ won’t take the gong again this year. Maybe we should just put Lorde in her own category - or give in to the fact that any year she happens to release music will be a bit of a write-off for anyone else.

How are those other award categories looking?

Hussein: Now that all music in New Zealand being made by brown people isn’t being lumped into the urban category anymore (bless you, Aaradhna), we just have to hope they don’t cut to an ad break during the presentation for the now-dubbed Best Hip-Hop Artist and Best Soul/RnB Artist awards.

They’d better not. Three of the six finalists from those categories (David Dallas, Ladi6 and SWIDT) are also up for the Single of the Year award and they deserve all the shine they can get. If you’re going to cut anything, please stop guys from record labels going up on stage to collect an award (and saying “a few words” aka “too many words”) when the artist wasn’t able to be there themselves. It really sucks!

Are you eligible for nomination if you don't spell your name in all caps?

Katie: MAALA; SWIDT; TEEKS; LEISURE - no I’m not shouting, that is just the style now. Names in all caps. I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Yours sincerely, KATIE.


Do albums matter anymore?

Hussein: This year sees all genre album categories (bear with me while I list them: Best Rock, Best Pop, Best Alternative, Best Roots, Best Electronic, Best Worship, Best Classical, Best Hip Hop and, phew, Best Soul/RnB), plus Best Māori Album, renamed as Best Artist.

The change recognises “the many ways artists are now recording and releasing their music”, according to the big wigs that run this thing, which means that as long as you’ve released at least five singles during the eligibility period then you fit the criteria to apply. Playlists rule the world, after all. There’s still an Album of the Year category, but we may as well say congrats in advance to Lorde for that as well.

What shenanigans will Jono and Ben get into this time?

Katie: Who knows! Having wowed us with their laddish high jinks last year, everyone’s favourite men who tell jokes are back once again to keep the audience laughing all night long.

Ever topical, one cannot say what ‘trends’ and ‘memes’ the two will lampoon this year - last time they memorably invited the entire auditorium to do the mannequin challenge, much to everyone’s delight and admiration - but after a year with so much going on, it’s sure to be a laugh a minute.

My predictions? Late election jokes, various attempts to make Lorde as uncomfortable as possible, and maybe even a bad taste take on the sexual misconduct situation.  

We can but wait and see.

Do these awards actually even mean anything given that Bic Runga, who just last year was inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame, is not nominated for her new album?

Hussein: Good luck trying to figure out why Bic Runga, the only royalty I will answer to around here, isn’t nominated for a single New Zealand music award when she released a great new album and saw the lead single for it get in the top five for this year’s Silver Scroll Award. Oh yeah, she was also inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame at this same dumb awards show just last year. Does the New Zealand music industry make any sense to you? Me neither.

Follow Katie and Hussein on Twitter.