This soulful invocation, sung in te reo, to Tangaroa — Māori god of the sea — comes from singer-songwriter Maisey Rika's third album. The instrumentation includes a string quartet and traditional taonga pūoro instruments played by Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper. Director Shae Stirling’s music video has a vibrant clarity. It places Rika in the bush and the forest, in the surf and on the smouldering, volcanic landscape of Whakaari/White Island as she hails Tangaroa as commander of the tides while dolphins and whales provide further evidence of his life force.
This cautionary tale about the perils of lost love comes from singer-songwriter Greg Johnson's third album Vine Street Stories (named for the address of the Auckland house where it was recorded). Director James Holt (a flatmate at the time) shot the clip on 35mm and gave it a rich, golden-hued setting of brocades, leathers, candles and curtains to showcase musicians including Pagan Records founder (and broadcaster) Trevor Reekie and Johnny Fleury (father of Zowie) on Chapman Stick. Boh Runga contributes vocals (around the time she formed her own band Stellar*).
Singer-songwriter Greg Johnson made his recording debut in short-lived duo This Boy Rob, before forming his first band with the remnants of 80s synth-pop act Car Crash Set. A fixture on the early-90s Auckland club scene with lounge act Bluespeak, Johnson has recorded a string of albums in his own right. He is a five time APRA Silver Scroll finalist and winner of the 1997 songwriting award for 'Liberty'. Now based in Los Angeles, he returns to NZ regularly, where his performances have included the popular Cocktail Club concerts.
Acoustic singer-songwriter, Sarah Brown, seduced Blenheim as a teenager (recording her first demo at 12, writing her own music at 14 and then securing regular local gigs at bars and wineries at 17) before taking on the rest of the South Island and the world. In 2001, aged 18, the South Islander won the Ovation Rockshop songwriter of the year competition. Brown toured the country extensively afterwards and realised her "lifelong dream" in 2006 with the release of her self-titled debut album.
Dave Dobbyn's musical career is legendary, from classic Kiwi songs like 'Loyal' and 'Welcome Home' to his early work in bands Th'Dudes ('Be Mine Tonight', 'Bliss') and DD Smash ('Outlook for Thursday'). The iconic singer-songwriter has been pumping out hit songs since the late 1970s. He went solo in 1986 with the soundtrack for hit movie Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale. Since then Dobbyn has released a further eight albums, and received countless accolades. Ten of his songs appeared in a list of New Zealand's Top 100 popular songs, as voted by music royalties organisation APRA.
In this episode from a series for secondary school music students, James Reid (from The Feelers) and his brother Donald (a singer-songwriter who has co-written several Feelers songs) recall their school days when music making was frowned on by guidance counsellors rather than encouraged by projects like this one. Armed with acoustic guitars and a piano, they play excerpts from four songs (‘Communicate’, ‘We Raised Hell’, ‘Fishing For Lisa’ and ‘Unleash the Fury’) and discuss their philosophy of songwriting which is “all about being in the moment”.
The second single from singer-songwriter Bic Runga's multi-platinum debut album Drive is a spare but insistent plea for emotional warmth. The video finds Runga elegantly coiffeured and styled in a white gown with a black guitar. The video is drenched in pale blues and bleached whites, and water surrounds her in a myriad of forms — dripping, pooled, condensed. But there’s the promise of sunlight and succour as well. Co-director Melanie Bridge (working here with photographer Mark Lever) would later help found multinational commercials company The Sweet Shop.
This NZBC series from the first great era of TV talent shows (and the heyday of light entertainment on the box) featured three new artists and three new songs vying for the judges' favours each week. Performers include Steve Allen (fresh from the success of his Commonwealth Games song 'Join Together') and actor and singer Annie Whittle; and there's a rare glimpse of singer-songwriter John Hanlon. Auckland band Space Waltz steals the show in the New Faces section, debuting their glam rock anthem 'Out on the Street' to an unsuspecting nation (and judges).
Branded as a musical genius by his peers, Darcy Clay's flame flared briefly, but left a lasting impression on New Zealand music. Clay (aka Daniel Bolton) recorded the now classic single 'Jesus I Was Evil' in his bedroom on a four-track tape machine, just months before his untimely death. The Auckland singer-songwriter only played five gigs during that time, including a support slot for Blur (released as live EP Songs for Beethoven). But his pioneering talent and "country-fried punk rock" are testament to the cult-like figure he's now become. Clay committed suicide in March 1998, at age 25.
In 2007 Rolling Stone magazine named Liam Finn as one of that year's top ten ‘artists to watch' and explained that if you mixed a bit of Elliot Smith with a touch of despair and added a leprechaun, Finn would be the result. Accompanied by such applause, the singer-songwriter has assuredly stepped out of his famous father Neil's shadow, thanks to his achievements with the band Betchdupa, formed in 1997, and the success of his solo albums I'll Be Lightning (which Q magazine named one of the 50 best albums of 2007), FOMO (2011) and The Nihilist (2014).