NZ Artists Offshore News: February 2018

February 8th 2018
The Aotearoa summer is a good time to reflect back on some of the recent amazing achievements of our homegrown musicians. It feels like the past twelve months represent a watershed year for New Zealand music on the global stage – and as 2018 kicks off, there is much to look forward to for the year ahead.

Brooke Ligertwood (better known by her maiden name Fraser by her homegrown fans in New Zealand) took the stage at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in New York City in January as the winner of the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song as part of Australian Christian music Collective, Hillsong Worship for her song, with Aussie Ben Fielding, ‘What a Beautiful Name'. In 2017, the song topped Billboard's Hot Christian Songs and earned Hillsong Worship its place as Billboard's Top Christian Artist of 2017 as well as Song of the Year and Worship Song of the Year at the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards in the USA.

In December, Auckland turnatablist DJ K-SWIZZ was crowned the IDA (International DJ Association) Technical World Champion at the international competition in Krakaw, Poland. This made him the youngest person to ever take away an IDA Championship - as he is only 14-years old. The future looks to be very bright for K-SWIZZ and his craft as just last year he also took second place in the NZ DMC final (a very prestigious international DJ competition), took 5th place in the DMC Online World Championships (won by DJ Spell, also of New Zealand) and also took part in A-Trak's Goldie Awards in New York City. More recently he put down a 30-minute mix for the dJCity podcast which has over 473,000 likes on Facebook.

Māori Soul artist Teeks is all set to take on the world having signed on with two international booking agencies in December - 13 Artists in the UK and Niche Talent in Australia. He joins artists such as Radiohead, Paolo Nutini, Alabama Shakes and Michael Kiwanuka on the 13 Artists roster and local heavyweights Fat Freddys Drop, Six60 and Ladi6 on the Niche Talent roster. Teeks also participated in an artist retreat in Sydney in December where he worked in one-on-one sessions with songwriters such as Sacha Skarbek (Adele, Miley Cyrus, Backstreet Boys) and August Rigo (Justin Bieber, Kehlani, One Direction). His ‘The Grapefruit Skies' EP also received some great international press, with US-based entertainment conglomerate AXS naming him one of their ‘Best Emerging Artists of 2017' and saying the EP sounds ‘how some may imagine the heavens opening up would feel like'.

Following a huge write-up in The Atlantic, local rockers Alien Weaponry have continued to garner attention from within the USA with Ashley Westerman presenting a feature about them on NPR's Morning Edition on December 5th. Lifegate, an Italian website (with over 571k Facebook likes) dedicated to conscientiousness and sustainability, also wrote about the band's integration of heavy metal music and Māori culture. However, this and their recent signing to Das Machine management in Germany is just the beginning of Alien Weaponry's European domination. They have also been announced for three European metal festivals - Metal Days in Slovenia, Weltturbojugendtage XIV in Germany and Wacken Open Air, also in Germany. Years ago, the boys made a pact to play Wacken Open Air (the world's largest heavy metal festival!) by the age of 20 and at the ages of 17 and 15, they are about to live that dream.

One of the US's largest music festivals, Coachella, recently announced their always massive line-up and this year Auckland's Fazerdaze, aka Amelia Murray, will be performing. The festival in 2018 will be headlined by Beyonce, Eminem and The Weeknd among hundreds of other acts. Fazerdaze will also be performing three shows in California around the two-weekend festival and one at the renowned Bowery Ballroom in New York City. Fazerdaze's 2017 tour was a huge success with both LA and New York shows selling out.

Announcements for the artists to be performing at The Great Escape, a major three-day UK festival in May, have been rolling out and have included local R&B singer Louis Baker and Auckland band Yukon Era. Many New Zealanders have played The Great Escape in the years since its inception including Lawrence Arabia, Six60, Delaney Davidson, Broods and Kane Strang.

After a truimphant performance at Laneway Auckland this January, Noah Slee has also been announced for SXSW. The West Aucklander, who is now based in Berlin, will be joining fellow Kiwi acts, Marlon Williams, HEX Tiny Ruins and bass-artist Quix at the mid-March event in Austin, Texas.

The buzz surrounding Alae track ‘Too Strung Up' released in November last year has been huge. It's journey began with the song and its video premiering in Rolling Stone Australia who called it "sprawling, strikingly confident". The song was then added to a plethora of prominent Spotify playlists, earning its place at #31 on the USA Spotify Viral Chart (in all genres) in December and #41 on the Global Spotify Viral chart (in all genres). Music blog Wolf In A Suit called the song "a must listen gem of honest emotions and inviting lyricism". Malaysia's Broadtube Music Channel featured the video accompanied by an interview with Alex, Allister and Jayden who make up the band. Northern Europe's Alfitude also featured the video on their blog.

Maisey Rika, Rob Ruha, Seth Haapu and Horomona Horo recently embarked on a 4-date tour of Hawaii called "Finest of Aotearoa", sharing their tikanga with audiences on O'ahu, Maui and Hawai'i through contemporary waiata and Horomona Horo's use of taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments). In the lead-up to the tour, Jon Woodhouse interviewed Maisey Rika for The Maui News. Rob Ruha also released his album ‘Survivance' with The Witch Dr in December.

Nadia Reid has been touring internationally for quite a while now but her five December shows in the US were her first in the country. It seems they went down a treat with Sachyn Mital praising the her New York City show in
Brooklyn Vegan. December also saw her being added to more end-of-year lists with Vice's Noisey naming her 2017 album ‘Preservation' in their top 100 albums of the year, Rolling Stone Australia naming it #4 on its Top 50 albums of 2017, and four of The Guardian's music writers naming her in their favourite songs and albums of the year.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF of tour dates around the world for NZ artists.

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