The fall of the Iron Curtain was still several years away when Shona Laing wrote her first APRA Silver Scroll winner 'Soviet Snow'. The world had been "teasing at war like children" over decades of the arms race and Cold War brinksmanship and the threat of nuclear winter was very real. The video is a suitably chilly but dizzying montage that marries Russian iconography and Soviet imagery to the song's urgent synthesised beats. Laing later stripped 'Soviet Snow' of its synthpop trappings in an acoustic version on her 2007 album Pass the Whisper.
With its video filmed in a cramped Auckland flat, 'Pedestrian Support League' was the lead single off Street Chant’s long-awaited second album, Hauora. As the band play on, a psychedelic array of everyday kitchenware flies by in the background. The claustrophobic flat is appropriate — lead singer Emily Littler describes the lyrics as about “just your typical Kiwi shithole flat life filled with paranoia, depression and anxiety.” The album received critical praise upon its release, and the single was was one of five finalists for the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Songwriting award.
In the 1980s country and western music was a big part of the Kiwi music landscape, and arguably its best-loved star was Patsy Riggir. 'Beautiful Lady', from 1983 album Are You Lonely, was a song she wrote herself (unusual in a genre then heavy on covers). It won Most Popular Song at the 1983 NZ Music Awards, where Riggir was named Composer of the Year, and was a finalist in the APRA Silver Scroll Awards. This performance is from a 1985 variety gala celebrating 25 years of television in New Zealand. The following year Riggir would front six-part TV series Patsy Riggir Country.
This dance pop anthem was a number one for the reality TV series-generated act TrueBliss — and the biggest selling single by a New Zealand artist in 1999. It was written (like most of the TrueBliss album) by Anthony Ioasa, an APRA Silver Scroll winning co-writer for Strawpeople's 'Sweet Disorder'. The video features a girls' night in slumber party, complete with home movies, hairbrush microphones, pillow fights, dress-ups, American Indian head-dresses and hula dancing. There is also quite a lot of moody introspection for what is essentially an unabashed love song.
Don McGlashan’s anthemic plea for safe harbour — written for band The Mutton Birds — won him his first APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award, and began a life of its own. It was used in the soundtrack of a short film (Boy), a movie (Perfect Strangers) and was given all star treatment by Greenpeace. But TVNZ’s use of it on National Party conference footage was a step too far for McGlashan, who took very public offence. Director Fane Flaws places his video — a nominee for an NZ Film and TV Award — in the eye of a mermaid rather than a storm, but plenty of perils await.
Christchurch born musician James Milne took Lawrence Arabia as his stage name because he wanted an outrageous persona to front his own band The Reduction Agents, after playing with The Brunettes from 2002 to 2005. He has recorded two albums as Lawrence Arabia — playing most of the instruments on both of them. In 2009, his second album ‘Chant Darling’ was the inaugural winner of the Taite Music Prize for best independently released album of the year; and his song ‘Apple Pie Bed’ (co-written with the Phoenix Foundation’s Luke Buda) won the APRA Silver Scroll.
Rikki (Richard) Morris is the younger brother of former Th'Dudes member, Ian Morris. After leaving school he worked as a touring sound technician and was briefly a member of The Crocodiles. In 1988 Ian (as Tex Pistol) recorded Rikki's song 'Nobody Else' (with Rikki on lead vocal). It topped the singles chart and won Rikki the Songwriter of the Year award. He won the APRA Silver Scroll in 1991 for his song 'Heartbroke' and released a solo album, Everest in 1996. He has also been a television presenter and run his own recording studio.
Music critics worldwide have praised Marlon Williams' voice, comparing his smooth tones to Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison. In 2018 Williams had a stellar year: he won several music awards — including the APRA Silver Scroll Award and Tuis for Best Solo Artist, Album and Music Video — and scored a cameo role in Bradley Cooper's remake of A Star is Born. Williams first won fame in Christchurch as a 17-year-old, when he founded and fronted folk band The Unfaithful Ways. He also sang with musicians Delaney Davidson and Tami Neilson, before moving to Melbourne in 2013 to start a globetrotting solo career.
This soulful despatch from the end of a love affair won Rikki Morris the APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award for 1991. It was produced by his brother Ian (aka Tex Pistol) who contributed a suitably epic 80s drum sound and won himself Engineer of the Year at the NZ Music Awards. The family connection extended to the music video where Rikki’s then wife Debbie Harwood (from When the Cat’s Away) played the former partner in the Super 8 footage (which the pair shot themselves). A stormy surf beach offers an appropriately tempestuous supporting performance.
Originally known as Lazy Boy (until a furniture company threatened legal action), Betchadupa was born from the childhood meeting of Liam Finn and Matt Eccles, both sons of Kiwi musicians. After showcasing their brand of catchy and eclectic pop on two EPs and an album, the four-piece departed for Melbourne, then London. Along the way they were nominated for a Silver Scroll award, and won over British music veteran Nick Launay to produce second album Aiming for Your Head (2004). Finn released his first solo album in 2007, with contributions from Eccles; Eccles began drumming for Belgium's Das Pop.