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Vera Ellen Awarded Taite Music Prize 2024

Vera Ellen Awarded Taite Music Prize 2024

Liam Hansen / Vera Ellen and Ben Lemi photo credit: Dave Simpson / Wednesday 24th April, 2024 11:45AM

Named after legendary Aotearoa music journalist and broadcaster Dylan Taite, the annual Taite Music Prize sets out to celebrate independent music from around Aotearoa, merging the DIY nature of our local artists and amplifiers with a level of care and passion toward the music that makes you feel like you’re sitting amongst the stars at the Grammys (if it was way smaller and WAY cooler.)

After winning the 2022 Aotearoa Music Award for Best Alternative Artist, Te Whanganui-a-Tara songwriter Vera Ellen was the fifteenth artist to be awarded the Taite Music Prize, for her album Ideal Home Noise (Flying Nun Records). She was presented with the award by 2023 winner Princess Chelsea and Recorded Music NZ Independent Artists Representative Nick Atkinson. Alongside the hefty trophy, Vera took home $12,500 in cash courtesy of RMNZ — who co-founded the awards alongside Independent Music New Zealand. She celebrated the success onstage alongside album producer / engineer and bandmate Ben Lemi.

Across the evening's other accolades presented at Tāmaki Makaurau's Q Theatre, Tāmaki Makaurau rapper Jujulipps was awarded the Auckland Live Best Independent Debut award for Get That Shot (Big Pop Records), one of the most dynamic and fun local releases of last year. Her acceptance speech saw her shout out supporting amplifiers at Big Pop, fellow nominees for the award D.C. Maxwell and Soft Plastics, and her collaborators that helped put the award-winning EP together.

The NZ On Air Outstanding Music Journalism Award went to Cushla Dillon and Andrew Moore (joined on stage by Chris Heazlewood) for their mahi on King Loser, a documentary paying loving tribute to the eponymous 1990s surf / noise / rock group across their wild career. NZ On Air Head of Music Teresa Patterson said the film “plays a part — alongside more mainstream day-to-day music journalism - in helping to tell the many and varied stories within our music industry.”

Teremoana Rapley MNZM was bestowed with the Independent Spirit Award by Brown Boy Magik, recognising her incredible mahi in our music community, advocating for Pasifika artists and releasing solo and with Upper Hutt Posse, Moana and the Moahunters, Unitone Hifi, Dam Native and much more.

Lastly, Ōtepoti legends Look Blue Go Purple and their 1991 self-titled Compilation (Flying Nun Records) received the Independent Music NZ Classic Record. They were introduced by a short documentary paying tribute to their impact across Aotearoa and the world, and a short speech from Jan Hellriegel, who gushed about seeing them live so many years ago as a student at the University of Otago and watching them grow into the Aotearoa music icons they are today.

The night saw a trio of live performances, with Princess Chelsea performing the title track from her 2023 Taite-winning Everything is Going To Be Alright, Lawrence Arabia performing ‘I’ve Smoked Too Much’, the penultimate track off of the inaugural Taite Prize winning Chant Darling, and the two acts coming together to pay tribute to LBGP through an incredible cover of ‘Circumspect Penelope’ — MC Sarah Thomson referred to the combination as the mysterious Princess Arabia (alternatively, ‘Lawrence Chelsea’ could be an option if they work together in the future).


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