Hollie Smith was just 16 when she won the Best Female Vocalist prize at the 1999 National Jazz Festival. 2006 album Long Player firmly established the dusky-voiced chanteuse as New Zealand's first lady of soul and saw her signed by the internationally-famed Manhattan Records. Her vocals memorably soared on the Don McGlashan-penned hit 'Bathe in the River', from movie No.2. At the 2007 NZ Music Awards, Smith collected Best Female Solo Artist, and Breakthrough Artist.
Soul songstress Hollie Smith looks gorgeous in a fierce kind of way, in this clip directed by Preston McNeil. Auckland bars Hotel DeBrett and Sale St gleam, and there are clowns, stylish assassins and a mysterious crime. Not to mention celebrity cameos galore — including Danielle Cormack, future Westside actor Pana Hema-Taylor, and music TV hosts Shavaughn Ruakere, Nick Dwyer and Helena McAlpine. Topping it all off: surely the longest credits sequence in the history of Kiwi music videos.
Thanks to its control of light and texture, this is surely one of New Zealand's more luxurious music videos. As the song progresses, performer Hollie Smith takes on the persona of the central figure in a series of classic artworks — from the Mona Lisa, to a portrait of Frida Kahlo, to Edouard Manet's 1882 painting of a Parisian barwoman at the Folies-Bergère nightclub. Director James Solomon was later the prime mover behind 2015 web series K'Rd Stories.
Don McGlashan wrote this "secular gospel" song for a key scene in Toa Fraser film No. 2: where matriarch Nanna Maria watches her family at a party and says "look at all that life". The song won an APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award and spent 22 weeks in the charts,. It rose, appropriately enough, to number two. It only became a single thanks to public demand, fuelled partly to this video — which features No. 2's cast and crew gathering for a backyard performance by vocalist Hollie Smith, accompanied by McGlashan and the rest of the Mount Raskil Preservation Society.
Mai Time was an influential magazine show for Māori youth, screening for a decade on Saturday mornings on TV2. This episode looks at the place of ta moko (tattoo), interviewing Robert Ruha, a 27-year-old with a full-face moko. Mai Time crew visit Otara Music Arts Centre, a Matariki exhibition at Whaingaroa (Raglan), and then artist Lisa Reihana finds “more mean art by the sea”: Brett Graham and Rachel Rakena’s Aniwaniwa exhibition at the 52nd Venice Biennale. Aptly, the artwork explores the 1947 flooding of the village of Horahora for a hydroelectric scheme.
Built around generous stacks of live footage, this 70 minute documentary traces the journey of beloved, genre-blending band TrinityRoots. It explores touring, epic album sessions, and the bond — both light-hearted and deeply felt — between members Warren Maxwell, Rio Hemopo and Riki Gooch. Other musicians and critic Grant Smithies play tribute. The documentary chimed in with the band's rebirth: TrinityRoots reformed in 2010 after five years apart, the same year that the Music is Choice documentary/live album emerged. Gooch left the trio the following year.
In 2012 TV presenter Helena McAlpine enlisted a chorus of NZ music’s finest voices to cover Chris Knox’s classic love song, as part of a campaign to raise breast cancer awareness. They included Alisa Xayalith, Brooke Fraser, Julia Deans, Martin Phillipps, The Topp Twins, Don McGlashan, Warren Maxwell, Hinewehi Mohi, Princess Chelsea, Jon Toogood and Hollie Smith. The track was arranged and produced by Sean Donnelly (SJD). McAlpine was diagnosed with the disease in 2008, and died on 23 September 2015.
A one-off project, the Mt Raskil Preservation Society was put together to perform 'Bathe in the River', the rousing gospel-inspired number that forms the centrepiece of Don McGlashan's score for Toa Fraser's feature film No. 2. Those accompanying vocalist Hollie Smith include Wellington-based singer Bella Kalolo (on lead backing vocal), Auckland's Jubilation Choir and regular McGlashan collaborators David Long (a former Mutton Bird) and Sean Donnelly (aka SJD). McGlashan recorded his own version of 'Bathe in the River' for his Marvellous Year album.
Bilingual Māori singer Ria Hall (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Waikato) was born in Tauranga and has a background in kapa haka. She fronted reggae band Hope Road and has been a live backing vocalist for Hollie Smith and Trinity Roots. Hall describes her own music as "roots/neo-soul". She sang the Rugby World Cup anthem at the 2011 opening ceremony; the following year her self-titled album was named album of the year at the NZ Music Awards.
Nanna Maria (Ruby Dee), the matriarch of a Fijian family in Auckland, feels that the heart has gone out of her clan. She demands that her grown grandchildren put on a traditional feast, at which she will name her successor. The grandchildren reluctantly turn up, but tiffs spin things into chaos and she calls the whole thing off. Based on his second play, this love letter to the suburb of Mt Roskill marked the first film for director Toa Fraser (Dean Spanley). It screened at many festivals internationally, and won the 2006 World Cinema audience award at American festival Sundance.