31 July 2023
Pacific Music Awards Lifetime Achievement awarded to Toni Williams
2023 Pacific Music Awards live on 9th August, tickets available from Eventfinda
The Pacific Music Awards is proud to announce this year's Manukau Institute of Technology Te Pukenga Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is the late Toni Williams, a remarkable recording artist whose contributions to the music industry have left an indelible mark on the hearts of many.
Toni Williams, also known as Antoni Williams, captivated audiences with his soulful voice and remarkable talent throughout the 1960s and beyond.
Born in Rarotonga, Toni Williams' musical journey began in the mid-1950s when he co-founded one of Auckland's first skiffle groups, The Housewarmers.
His undeniable passion for music led him to become the lead singer and guitarist of the hardworking rock and roll group, The Tremellos, showcasing his versatility and dedication to his craft. The Tremellos were booked by Harry M Miller, as part of the Showtime Spectacular which toured for 21 weeks and they were also the support act for international artists such as the Everly Brothers, Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Ray and Connie Francis. They would late record for Miller’s label La Gloria.
Toni Williams’ recording debut was also with La Gloria, in 1960, with the first of many singles ‘Cradle of Love’. During an era where emulating overseas hits was commonplace, Toni Williams stood out as more than just a covers artist.With a swinging croon reminiscent of Sam Cooke, he charmed audiences with his interpretations of popular songs, but it was his originality that truly set him apart.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, his solo career flourished, and his live performances became legendary, leaving a lasting impact on the music scene. He would spend 10 years working the cabaret circuit in Australia, returning to New Zealand in 1976.
One of Toni Williams' most notable accomplishments was the success of his single ‘The One I Sing My Love Songs To’, which secured a spot at number nine on the New Zealand charts for two weeks in August 1977.
Preceding this hit, ‘Rose (Can I Share A Bed With You)’ written by Peter Posa, reached number 28 in April 1977, becoming a local classic, further solidifying his position as a prominent figure in the New Zealand music landscape.
Additionally, his song ‘Tellabout’ featured on the 1972 album Studio One Hits showcased his ability to create memorable and timeless tracks. From 1979, Toni would take the place of Wi Wharekura for occasional reunions of the Howard Morrison Quartet. His career lasted over 50 years and he had an impeccable professional reputation. Gerry Merito from the Quartet nicknamed him ‘Mr Reliable’.
Pacific Music Awards Trust spokesperson Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua says:
“2023 Pacific Music Awards humbly announces the Manukau Institute of Technology Te Pukenga Lifetime Achievement Award recipient as Cook Island's Toni Williams. Mr Williams migrated to Aotearoa Niu Sila becoming a popular singer, music legend, and pioneer. The Pacific music contribution to our migrant nation of New Zealand's musical history is again acknowledged, honoured, and celebrated.”
There will be a special presentation at the 2023 Pacific Music Awards in August to celebrate Toni William’s legacy and contribution to the Pacific music scene. Toni’s family will be present to accept the award on his behalf.
Announcing an exciting line up of performers
Alongside celebrating the legacy of Toni Williams, the 2023 Pacific Music Awards will feature performances by Finalists: Melodownz, Lou’ana, Lepani, Jordyn With A Why, Jaro Local, Poetik and Victor J Sefo.
There will also be special performances with a collective featuring Three Star Nation, celebrating Niue, the rock of Polynesia; and performing in honour of our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will be Cook Island String Band, the KabinBread Boyz.
The 2023 Pacific Music Awards will take place on Wednesday 9th August at the Due Drop Events Centre (formerly named the Vodafone Events Centre) in Manukau.
Tickets for the 2023 Pacific Music Awards can be purchased through Eventfinda: https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2023/2023-pacific-music-awards/auckland/manukau-city
Issued for the Pacific Music Awards by Pead
Alice Grigg, Pead | 021 299 5665 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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