Nominated for: NZ Music Commission Best Pacific Male Artist Matai Watches Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist NZ On Air Best Pacific Music Video Recorded Music NZ Te Pukaemi Toa O Te Moana Nui A KiwaBest Pacific Music Album
MELODOWNZ is proof that thought-provoking, lyrical hip-hop is alive and here to stay. The Māori/Samoan artist has become a local community champion proudly taking New Zealand rap to the world stage with co-signs from Bas, Dreamville, and Flying Lotus, and collabs from the likes of Denzel Curry, Bootsy Collins, and Maxo Kream, the latter who he supported on Kream’s 2022 Australian tour.
After years of anticipation, in 2022 MELODOWNZ unveiled his debut album, LONE WOLF, via Def Jam ANZ. The record is a tale of love, loss, and learning, rich with full circle synchronicity, duality, and spirituality that’s been a present theme throughout the Gemini rappers life.
Formed across Avondale home studios, remote writing camp sessions, and an LA recording trip, the multidimensional record features collaborations with Houston gangster rapper Maxo Kream, Florida heavyweight Denzel Curry, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter INK, singer-songwriter Bleu, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ant Clemons (Kanye West, Beyonce), among illustrious producer credits from Bizness Boi and DJ Khalil.
Returning full circle to his Auckland community with collaborations from local legends Diggy Dupé, Troy Kingi, Bailey Wiley, the Avondale intermediate choir, and more, MELODOWNZ is ready to take Avondale to the world - and he’s bringing his community along with him. Much more than just a rapper, MELODOWNZ is building his own independent empire with community at the heart of every endeavour.
In 2020, he started an online talk show series called Kava Corner, where he shares space, chats, and drinks traditional Polynesian kava with special guests including John Campbell, Chloe Swarbrick, Scribe, and BENEE - in addition to releasing his own strain of kava ‘Stay Melo, Drink Kava’. Ingraining his Polynesian roots into all aspects of his art, he has also hand drew his own clothing line collection, including traditional lavalava, and shared a short film style documentary series, WOLVES OF AVONDALE, profiling significant community figures of his hometown in collaboration with renowned local photographer Tim D.
Taking out prestigious honours including a Pacific Music Award for Most Promising Artist and an Aotearoa Music Award receiving Best Pacific Music Video for ‘Ain’t The Same’, lifted from the acclaimed The Panthers TV series soundtrack, MELODOWNZ’s impact as a hometown hero is hard to deny. After playing mainstage summer festival sets this year at Northern Bass, Longline Classic, and Waitangi Day Festival, MELODOWNZ and his live band brought his LONE WOLF world to life with live shows at Wellington’s MEOW, Christchurch’s Flux, and a full circle homecoming Auckland show in the heart of the stomping ground where his journey began, at Avondale’s Hollywood theatre.
After a 14 year hiatus since his last official solo album, Mareko returns with internationally decorated producer, Ricky Paul Muzik with the first release off their trilogy album series , "Untitled: ACT 1" which will bookend Marekos musical releases.
Nominated for: Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist Best Pacific Soul/Rnb Artist NZ On Air Best Pacific Music Video
Lou'ana is a Kiwi Pacific Artist, singer-songwriter, and musician known for her unique and captivating voice. Drawing inspiration from the infectious sounds of American funk, soul, and disco, she infuses these nostalgic grooves with her own unique spirit and personal narratives. With over a million streams on Spotify, Lou'ana's recent dance hit "Night Creature" reached #2 on the Hot 20 NZ Singles Chart and #25 on the Hot 40 Singles Chart. Lou'ana's debut album, "Moonlight Madness," earned her the title of Best Pacific Female Artist at the 2021 Pacific Music Awards and reached No.18 on the NZ top 20 Album charts. A seasoned performer with two solo tours and numerous high-profile shows under her belt, Lou'ana's energetic and engaging stage presence shines through. Beyond her own projects, she has also collaborated with notable artists to perform tribute shows for David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Elton John, and the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge." Keep an eye out for more exciting disco-infused releases from Lou'ana in the near future.
Nominated for: NZ Music Commission Best Pacific Male Artist Best Pacific Soul/Rnb Artist
Born in Fiji into a very musical family, Lepani moved to Rotorua at a young age and then to Auckland for his teen years. It wasn’t until he was 14 when his music teacher discovered that he could sing, a talent Lepani had been hiding before then.
The world opened for Lepani in 2020 with the release of debut single ‘Pocketful of Love’, followed by ‘In The Moment’, his debut EP with Sony Music NZ. Moving from strength to strength with follow-up singles like ‘Next To Me’ and ‘Wait To Wake Me Up’, he drew a steady fanbase immersed in Lepaniâ€™s world of emotive euphoria. Amassing over 13 million streams, the promising young artist saw three Aotearoa Music Award nominations and took out Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist at the Pacific Music Awards.
Lepani returned in 2022 with a neon-inflected ride into the depths of young adulthood and suburbia with the catchy 'Tell You Something' (613K worldwide streams to date), building anticipation for his slick sophomore EP, 'The Morning' that arrived in 2023. Lepani is talented multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter who is one to watch as he continues to break boundaries as an artist.
Nominated for: NIU FM Best International Pacific Artist
Josh Tatofi was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, established local musician Tivaini Tatofi, is an original member of the acclaimed reggae band Kapena.
With idols like Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson, and ballad-ready chops to boot, Josh yearned to fuse his R&B soul with a love for his Polynesian heritage. “I ka wā ma hope, I ka wā mamua.” A Hawaiian proverb meaning, the future is in the past. In 2014, Josh had a career altering epiphany and discovered a home for his voice in traditional Hawaiian music.
With the release of his first Hawaiian language single, titled “Pua Kiele”, Josh expressed his adoration for the language, culture and traditions of Hawaii. In 2016, Josh released a full-length Hawaiian album, also titled “Pua Kiele” and with it embedded his imprint in the Hawaiian music scene. Since then, Josh has earned the nickname as, “the Luther Vandross of Hawaii.”.
In 2017, he won two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for the categories of Male Vocalist of the Year and Island Music Album of the Year for “Pua Kiele”. He garnered a Grammy nomination in 2018 for the same album in the category of Regional Roots.
Josh released his sophomore full-length Hawaiian album, entitled “Ua Kui A Lawa” in December of 2019. The album ended up winning 5 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in 2020 for the following categories: Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Island Music Album of the Year, Entertainer of the Year and Single of the Year “Melia”. In addition to the Hoku Awards, Josh won “Best International Pacific Artist” in 2020 at the Pacific Music Awards in New Zealand.
The work didn’t stop there in 2020 as Josh released his first Christmas EP project titled “A Jream Christmas”. Just recently, Josh won the 2021 Island Music Award for Male Artist of the Year.
Nominated for: Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist
Jordyn is a Samoan, Maori artist who grew up in South Auckland. She has whakapapa to Whangaroa, Mulifanua Lalovi, Falelatai and Vaimoso. Jordyn fostered her passion for music alongside her family, often singing in Church and in Worship bands. Her R&B ethereal sounds are reminiscent of the many experiences that make her. Jordyn's 'why' is driven by her passion for identity, language reclamation, justice, creativity, story-telling and good humour.
Nominated for: Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist
Jordan Gavet is the girl with the golden voice.
Her soul-inflected R&B is comfort food in the process of heartbreak, change and reinvention.
The rising singer-songwriter and performer, named Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist (Pacific Music Awards) opened for the likes of 112, Stan Walker and Bobby Valentino during her rise to notoriety.
Since her signing to Sony Music Entertainment New Zealand in 2017, Jordan has released a string of powerful singles including ‘Hesitation’, ‘Away’, ‘Do Better’ and the EP title track ‘Smoke’ featuring Sydney artist CG Fez.
Teaming up with producer Willstah (Ariana Grande, Ella Mai), 2021 saw the release of Jordan’s debut EP ‘Smoke’ a lush ride through night time slow jams and emotional highs and lows.
2023 saw Jordan release the release of the highly anticipated, ultra nostalgic 'He Said', with the teaser video announcing the track garnering over 215K views across Instagram and TikTok. Since then, the track has become a certified hit; being played over a million times, achieving hot rotates across New Zealand radio, and peaked at #10 in the New Zealand Shazam charts.
Nominated for: Niu FM Best International Pacific Artist
Jaro Local, a rising star from the Solomon Islands, has gained international recognition for his modern island music. He grew up learning from his father, Solomon Islands music legend Sharzy. Jaro began his musical career as part of the island urban boy band Dezine, which produced hits like 'Gyal', 'Must Be Love' and 'Lady Jazz'. He went solo in 2016 and has since won multiple awards, performed on sold-out tours and achieved over 16M+ streams across digital platforms. In 2019, he won the 'Best International Pacific Artist' award at the Vodafone Pacific Music Awards. Jaro Local's future looks bright with new projects in the pipeline.
Nominated for: NZ On Air Best Pacific Music Video
Meet HALES, 21, the young musical sensation making waves with his soulful Alternative Pop/R&B sound. Growing up in South Auckland, New Zealand, HALES discovered his passion for music at a young age. Influenced by the soulful sounds of Lucky Daye and the introspective songwriting of Dijon, he embarked on a musical journey to create a sound that resonates with listeners and audiences from around the world. HALES crafts heartfelt lyrics that explore themes of love, self-reflection, and personal growth. Blending elements of soul, R&B, and contemporary pop, his compositions create a sonic tapestry that immerses listeners in a world of emotion. Beyond the music, HALES uses his platform to inspire and uplift others. He shares his personal experiences to create a sense of connection and encourages listeners to embrace their true selves. Having recently returned from Los Angeles, HALES is poised to make a significant impact on the music industry in the near, foreseeable future.
Nominated for: Niu FM Best International Pacific Artist
Organic good vibes and blissful harmonies light up the authentic and uplifting sound of FAIVA across an ever-expanding repertoire. Made up of lifelong musicians Dr. Grant Muāgututiʻa, Vaea Aʻetonu and Loa Greyson, each of Samoan descent yet connected through living in Southern California, their journeys have been varied but their passion, shared vision and devotion unites them. Brought together in their unwavering love for the art form, the term FAIVA celebrates this concept – the musical realm is their home, and their playing connects them as brothers. Three unique artists, collaborating out of a shared passion for their own historical lineages. The crooning balladeer with unparalleled ability on lead guitar, the falsetto RnB vocalist with impeccable bass and ‘ukulele skills, and the soul singer with faultless rhythmic guitar playing required to kick up a groove with good vibes a plenty for all who listen. After searching for years to form a genuine Samoan group, the three artists finally crossed each other's paths, saw the clear unity of their roots and musical abilities, and the rest is history.