Princess Chelsea wins 2023 Taite Music Prize for her album Everything Is Going To Be Alright
Also honoured at the ceremony: Alt-pop artist Theia’s te reo Māori project TE KAAHU, Rough Peel Music owner Paul Huggins, Pōneke podcasters Namnita Kumar & Nadia Freeman, and groundbreaking electronic music act micronism.
Tonight, the 2023 Taite Music Prize presented by IMNZ, that highlights outstanding New Zealand albums released in the previous calendar year, was awarded to Princess Chelsea for her critically praised album, Everything Is Going To Be Alright released on Lil Chief Records. "The songs on Everything is Going to be Alright are, I think, the best Princess Chelsea has written," wrote RNZ’s Tony Stamp (last year's Outstanding Music Journalism winner) and the judging panel agreed.
The much-lauded “nervous breakdown album” was crafted at home in pastoral Aotearoa New Zealand and chronicles Chelsea Nikkel's recovery, with a hopeful and cathartic listen, while showcasing her skills as an arranger and producer. The classically trained pianist (ex Teen Wolf, The Brunettes) now has a solo music career spanning 11 years. Embracing femininity and cynicism under her nuanced princess persona, Nikkel has 5 albums, one EP and 11 singles under her belt. Viral hits ‘I Love My Boyfriend’ (5.5 mil YouTube views) and ‘Cigarette Duet’ (90 mil YouTube views) grew her reach and notoriety as a dreamy pop singer the world over. Chelsea receives a $12,500 cash prize thanks to the support of Founding Partner Recorded Music NZ.
The Auckland Live Best Independent Debut went to TE KAAHU for her album Te Kaahu O Rangi. The album contains nine waiata written and sung entirely in te reo Māori. The magical live performance of Te Kaahu O Rangi is described as an immersive experience, in which the alt-pop artist Theia’s “ethereal and dreamy vocals” and “warm nostalgic sound” nod to a bygone era. TE KAAHU is awarded a $2,000 cash prize plus a performance or technical upskilling opportunity thanks to Auckland Live.
The Independent Spirit Award was granted to Paul Huggins for his enduring contributions to the local music community, including managing and then buying Real Groovy Christchurch in 2008, and the opening of Rough Peel Music (RPM) and the label Rough Peel Records (RPR) in Wellington 2011. Paul has actively supported and encouraged many Aotearoa musicians for over twenty years including Trinity Roots, Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding, and Reb Fountain, leaving the creativity to them, while he focused on the results being released on vinyl. Paul has served as an IMNZ Board member and Treasurer for a number of years, and his DJ name is "spotlightkid’!
The NZ On Air Outstanding Music Journalism award was presented to Namnita Kumar & Nadia Freeman for their work creating the Eastern Sound Stories Podcast produced by Eastern Sound Collective in conjunction with Radio Active.FM. Namnita and Nadia receive a $2500 cash prize, thanks to NZ On Air.
The Independent Music NZ Classic Record award was presented to micronism - inside a quiet mind (Kog Transmissions 1998). The recording artist ‘micronism’ - also known as Denver McCarthy, was a mysterious electronic music act who emerged as part of the burgeoning ‘90’s electronic scene in Auckland that gathered around the collective label Kog Transmissions. inside a quiet mind was initially released by Kog on compact disc in 1998, and then re-issued by Loop Recordings twenty years later for vinyl and digital platforms.
Dylan Pellett, General Manager Independent Music New Zealand says, “My hearty congratulations to all our finalists and winners this evening, may their music and work within the wider music community continue to inspire and elevate us all! And big hats off to all our partners for the Taite Music Prize with particular mention to Founding Partner Recorded Music NZ."
The 2023 Taite Music Prize was held at Q Theatre in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland and featured performances by 2022 Taite Music Prize winner, Anthonie Tonnon, and 2023 IMNZ Classic Record winner, micronism.
The ceremony was hosted by NZ On Air's Sarah Thomson, with awards presented by Warren Maxwell - multi-instrumentalist, composer, and Massey University lecturer, Suzanne De Spong - NZ On Air, Chris Chetland - Kog Mastering, Nicky Harrop - Rhythmethod & Independent Rights Holder Director, Recorded Music NZ, and Taite Music Prize 2023 winner Anthonie Tonnon.
The event was attended by 300+ industry, media, and artists from across the country and was a joyous celebration of outstanding creative works made in Aotearoa.
The Taite Music Prize panel tasked with determining the finalists was made up of an extensive selection of music media/industry specialists. The finalist judges made their decision based entirely on the artistic merit of the album. Sales, genres, artist recognition or popularity are not contributing factors in their decision-making process.
2023 Taite Music Prize Judges:
Damon Newton - Auckland Live
Pennie Black - 95bFM
Lisa Paris - The Label
Laura McInnes - Sniffers
Hunter Keane - Flying Out / 95bFM
Fi Carr - Programme Director at Radio Control
Emma Hall Phillips - Aw B / Moments / Warner Music NZ
Martyn Pepperell - Freelance Writer
Jana Te Nahu Own - RNZ Music producer, Music101
Rachel Ashby - 95bFM
2023 Taite Music Prize winner presented by IMNZ with the support of founding partner Recorded Music NZ; Princess Chelsea - Everything Is Going To Be Alright (Lil Chief Records)
Auckland Live Best Independent Debut winner; TE KAAHU - Te Kaahu O Rangi (Theia Music Ltd.)
Independent Spirit Award presented to Paul Huggins
NZ On Air Outstanding Music Journalism Award to Namnita Kumar & Nadia Freeman
Independent Music NZ Classic Record award presented for micronism - inside a quiet mind (Kog Transmissions)