There were more local number ones in the 2000s than any decade before it. Most of them are featured in this Spotlight. However the decade also saw the resurgence of the TV talent show and 'made by TV' pop stars, many of whom went on to have number one singles — without music videos. Elsewhere Scribe’s double A-side ‘Stand Up/Not Many’ spent 12 weeks at number one in 2003, still the longest reign at the top of the charts for any local single. Nipping at its heels are Smashproof with ‘Brother’ and Stan Walker’s ‘Black Box’; both were chart toppers in 2009.
Prolific music video director Jonathan King delivers a simple but finely-executed clip with this anthem for the jilted. Although the band act like nothing is wrong and pull off an artful mime, it soon becomes clear that they have no instruments. Shot in extremely narrow focus, singer Julia Deans' sometimes wistful, sometimes sneering performance matches the brooding tone of the song, which topped the Kiwi charts despite initial disinterest from mainstream radio. The clip was shot at Verona Cafe on Auckland's K Road. 'Lydia' marked the third single from the band's first album Pet.
How long does it take to remove all the furniture and fittings from an apartment? If you’ve got band Goodshirt on the case, apparently three minutes and 45 seconds. One of a series of Goodshirt music videos directed by Joe Lonie, all of them filmed in one continuous take, this clip highlights the dangers of having the volume up too loud. As a young woman listens to Goodshirt’s latest single, she is unaware she is being robbed her of everything she owns. Sophie took away three gongs at the 2003 NZ Music Awards: Best Video , Best Single and Songwriter of the Year.
Scribe's first single ‘Stand Up’ conquered the charts, paired as a double A-side with soon to be signature tune ‘Not Many’. But where ‘Not Many’ is a statement of personal intent, ‘Stand Up’ flies the flag for Kiwi hip hop: the video features many of the fellow musicians namechecked in the song. Shot in a basement below Auckland's Real Groovy Records in black and white (except for the ‘Not Many’ sections), Chris Graham's NZ Music Award-winning video offers an energetic, confrontational performance from Scribe, who took another five NZ Music Awards in the same year.
Set in cowboy bar/truckstop 'The Cask Cleaver Rodeo Restaurant and Cabaret' and opening with a woman riding a mechanical bull, this clip is classier than a Kylie Minogue lingerie commercial. Minogue's people obviously drew the line at drunken bar room brawls complete with smashing glassware and a stage cage. Later the partying moves to a limousine. James Barr's clip is simple yet slick, and lit with a warm golden palette. Even the violent bar brawl seems somehow mellow.
‘Fool’s Love’ was a chart topping debut for Misfits of Science — Auckland hip hoppers who were determined not to be carbon copy gangster rappers (and possessed of a sense of fun that wouldn’t let them). This song about “people in love with themselves” (complete with Doris Day sample) gets an award-winning (Best Video at the 2004 bNets and Juice TV Awards) treatment from directors Shane Mason and Mark Trethewey. The stock hip hop clichés (cars, booty girls and cash) are present but undermined by those oversized heads and the natural humour of the Misfits.
Director Chris Graham delivers five minutes of cars, comedy and eye candy in this slick who's who of the 2003 Kiwi scene. Featuring DJ Sir-Vere, VJ Jane Yee, ex sports star Matthew Ridge and Paul Holmes (well actually he was a no show — but his understudy made an appearance), the clip succeeded in planting a relatively unknown hip hop artist squarely on the front page. The result was the biggest selling Kiwi single of the year (it went platinum, and spent five weeks at number one). Named Best Video at the 2005 NZ Music Awards, it cost at least $50,000 to make.
Clever lighting and plenty of rain feature on the video for this chart-topping P-Money track. As he had with Scribe's breakthrough hit 'Stand Up', P-Money melds Scribe's rapping talents with loud guitars. Directed by Greg Page, the moody widescreen clip also features Elemeno P's Justyn Pilbrow on guitar, and Sam Sheppard from 8 Foot Sativa on drums. 'Stop the Music' appeared on P-Money's second studio album, NZ Music Award-winner Magic City (2004).
After his hard-hitting debut single 'Stand Up' and the hit remix of 'Not Many', Scribe took a gentler approach on the third single from his five times platinum debut album. Rolling clouds open the music video, which trades bombastic beats and ominous synth tones for gentler piano. The chart-topping hook, originally written for Che Fu, was sung by Scribe himself after encouragement from collaborator P-Money. Photos from Scribe’s childhood appear on screen while he raps about the struggle to realise his potential, before glimpses of 'making of' footage from previous videos.
This infectious hip hop hit marked Savage’s solo debut, after his previous recordings with The Deceptikonz. A NZ chart-topper for five weeks, it went platinum in the USA (helped by its placement in Hollywood comedy Knocked Up and as the soundtrack for its DVD menu). For her video, director Sophie Findlay created a laundromat from scratch in an empty Otahuhu shop. In it she intersperses an undersized Savage and 70s-themed dancing girls with darker, more contemporary hip hop imagery. It must be all a dream, because the pimply palagi teenager is the tough guy.
The fourth single from Tiki Taane’s first solo album, ‘Always on My Mind’ is an unadorned, heartfelt love song featuring Tiki accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. It became his breakthrough hit, a chart topper and the first Kiwi digital single to achieve platinum sales. The video is one continuous shot set in an imagined “Heathcote Valley Hall” (a nod to the Christchurch suburb where Tiki grew up) with Tiki unplugged, a shimmering floor and a backdrop inspired by Elvis Presley’s legendary 1968 Comeback Special. It won Best Solo Video at the 2008 Juice TV Awards.
Luke Sharpe’s video for the 2008 number one hit sets out to educate audiences about the Nesian style: replete with graffiti hibiscus, hawaiian shirts ... and hot teacher. The band is shot in front of a green screen, with totems uniting their central Auckland upbringing with their ancestral Polynesian past shown behind them. From baggy jeans to greenstone pendants, corned beef to fish’n’chips, the references nod to the South Pacific influences on the Mystik sound: “Just keep it fresh no matter where you be.” It won Best Hip Hop Video at the 2008 Juice TV Awards.
Hip-hop DJ and producer P-Money moves to the dance floor with this pumping, chart topper which marks the recording debut of Australian X Factor finalist Vince Harder. In Rebecca Gin’s quirky video, P Money has a whirlwind romance which starts in a supermarket and ends in tears in a club (with a sharp contrast between the white of daytime and the blacks of the night scenes) but the “shoulder friends” are the attention grabbers here. They represent the music that people carry around with them (or, at least, until they venture down one dark alley too many).
Chart-topper 'Brother' is about Smashproof's South Auckland neighbourhood, and how the hip hop trio want it to change — crime and violence are not the only options. It's an urgent message, delivered via a powerful, Tui award-winning drive-by video from music video director Chris Graham. The clip made it into mainstream news media for a scene bluntly inspired by a high profile incident, where a businessman stabbed a young tagger. Singer-songwriter Gin Wigmore features during the chorus. 'Brother' broke local chart records, after spending eleven weeks at number one.
‘Black Box’ was the winning song for Australian Idol victor Stan Walker. His first music video was shot in Sydney two days after his triumph. It's set at a mansion poolside party, with Idol finalists and family members among the extras. The black box in question might hold the records of a romantic crash, not an aviation disaster, but this recriminatory look back at a failed relationship brought sweet success for Walker. It spent 10 consecutive weeks at the top of the New Zealand singles chart, and won four Tuis at the 2010 NZ Music Awards.