In a night of firsts, Mel Parsons won both her first Tui and the first Tui of the decade at the Auckland Folk Festival this evening.

The indie-folk artist won Best Folk Artist | Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa for her fourth studio album, Glass Heart.

She started writing the album in Lyttelton, New Zealand before moving to North America to finish it in Los Angeles, where she recorded with legendary producer Mitchell Froom.

The album was also a finalist for the 2019 Taite Music Prize and Top 20 finalist at this year’s APRA Silver Scroll Award.

Parsons is no stranger to the limelight as her debut album Over My Shoulder and her sophomore album Red Grey Blue were both finalists for Folk Album of the Year (in 2009 and 2011, respectively).

This is all in addition to her 2015 released album Drylands, which spent 51 weeks in the Independent Music NZ Album charts and won a Tui for Best Engineer in the same year.

The full-time touring artist also garnered a Silver Scroll finalist nod for ‘Get Out Alive’ in 2015 and the 2016 NZCMA Best Song for ‘Alberta Sun’.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says there was an incredible line up of finalists for the Best Folk Artist Tui this year and is excited about where the genre is headed.

“Congratulations to Mel Parsons for taking home this well-deserved award. Her music is incredibly unique, and her album Glass Heart takes the listener on truly fantastic journey.”

The other finalists for the 2020 Best Folk Artist Tui were Kiwi songstress and Australian producer and composer Victoria Vigenser & Lindsay Martin and husband-and-wife duo Paper Cranes 折り鶴.

The 2020 Tui was presented at the Auckland Folk Festival, an annual festival of music, song and dance held at Kumeu Showground, northwest of Auckland.

The Tui for Best Folk Artist 2020 is for recordings released in the 12 months to 30 September 2018. The Folk category was first introduced to the Awards in 1984.

Recent previous winners of the Tui for Best Folk Album

  • 2013 – Great North – Halves
  • 2014 – Tattletale Saints – How Red Is the Blood
  • 2015 – Great North – Up In Smoke
  • 2016 – Holly Arrowsmith – For The Weary Traveller
  • 2017 – Guy Wishart – West By North
  • 2018 – Albi & The Wolves – One Eye Open
  • 2019 – The Frank Burkitt Band – Raconteur

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