Today we’re announcing the three finalists for Te Māngai Pāho Best Māori Artist | Te Kaipuoro Māori Toa at the 2019 Vodafone New Zealand Awards. Rei, Troy Kingi and Louis Baker have been recognised for their contribution as Māori musicians to Aotearoa’s local music scene and Te Ao Māori.
Rei has been making waves in Aotearoa’s music scene in recent years. He released the EP Rangatira in 2018, which was acclaimed for the unique Kiwi take on traditional trap music while featuring lyrics entirely in Te Reo.
Earlier this year, he released his third album The Bridge and continues to link the gap between genres, language and culture. With his concoction of smooth-talking R&B, hip hop and pop undertones, mixed with strongly rooted Māori heritage, the album’s a strong statement from one of Aotearoa’s most exciting talents. Rei is also a finalist for Best Soul/RnB Artist | Te Kaipuoro Awe Toa.
On a mission to release 10 albums in 10 years, Kerikeri-based musician Troy Kingi has done it again with the release of his third album Holy Colony Burning Acres, a deeply personal and spiritual examination of the plight of First Nations peoples around the world.
Under the moniker Troy Kingi & The Upperclass he’s nominated for both Best Māori Artist and Best Roots Artist | Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa at this year’s awards after winning the Best Soul/RnB and Best Māori Artist Tui in 2018 for Shake That Skinny Ass All The Way To Zygertron, his epic funk-infused sophmore album taking inspiration from sci-fi soul, interstellar love and 70s cosmic funk.
Louis Baker has been cultivating a huge fanbase since 2013, who have finally been rewarded for their patience with the release of his debut album Open this year. The record features Baker’s uplifting anthem ‘The People’ which captures the loving unity and diversity of Baker’s hometown.
Growing up in the working-class suburb of Newtown, Wellington, Louis developed his passion for music at an early age listening to his parent’s diverse record collection, which featured the likes of Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye and Jimi Hendrix – sparking a lifelong obsession with music.
Recorded Music New Zealand CEO Damian Vaughan says the continued resurgence of Te Ao Māori in popular culture and music is inspiring, bringing a new cultural lens to New Zealand society.
“Across a diverse range of genres, it’s clear that Māori musicians are stepping into the spotlight and achieving the success they deserve,” says Vaughan.
“The growing amount of unique Māori identities we’re hearing on the radio and on streaming services is simply incredible. I look forward to seeing these three artists – and their Māori music contemporaries – push the envelope and continue to embrace and explore Te Ao Māori in their art.”
The winner of the 2019 Te Māngai Pāho Best Māori Artist will be announced at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards | Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa on 14 November from 8.30pm and broadcast live on THREE