Kellie Given

While our industry might be small in comparison, there’s a lot to love about NZ music. Authentic, multicultural, at times humorous, and filled with a ton of love and pride, our sound reflects who we are as Kiwis and truly sets us apart from the rest of the world. In celebration of 21 years of NZ Music Month, here are 21 of our fave things to love about our awesome music scene.

1. We Love A Good Drinking Tune

Kiwis love pubs, it’s no secret. In fact, we love them so much that up until the mid 2000s pub rock was one of our primary…

Kellie Given

The new seven-part docuseries Waiata / Anthems, a follow-up to the 2019 compilation album of the same name, has officially arrived on TVNZ On Demand and it certainly has a lot to teach us. Featuring a deep insight into some of our country’s greatest artists re-recording their songs in te reo Māori, each episode aims to shed a light on NZ heritage and culture by asking familiar musicians to recreate their iconic stories.

With a focus on creating a bilingual music scene here in Aotearoa, the series aims to transform the minds and attitudes of Kiwi’s surrounding te…

Kellie Given

It’s been 25 years since our very own OMC released their first and last album How Bizarre, and while the record produced a string of singles, most notable is the eponymous smash hit. A nonsensical musical mixed bag, ‘How Bizarre’ took the world by storm. Its fusion of Polynesian pop, dance and hip hop, mixed with the eccentric cool of Pauly Fuemana, instantly became a hit and helped break NZ into a bustling international music market.

But no one, not even NZ music impresario Simon Grigg who helped bring the track to life, could have guessed it would…

Kellie Given

When he wasn’t working as a postman in Airdrie, Scotland, 27-year-old Nathan Evans was perfecting his songwriting and uploading covers to social media in the hopes that soon enough he’d be living out his dream in becoming a successful musician. But it wasn’t until someone asked the Scotsman to cover a sea shanty: an ancient form of work song familiar with men on sailing ships, that that dream actually came to life.

In that blink-of-an-eye-casualness we often see with internet fame, Evans became a star overnight. All thanks to his sea shanties. His rendition of the NZ 19…

Kellie Given

Girl power, in all it’s fantastic glory, has been rumbling under the foundations of the pop world for decades. As more and more female artists rewrite the very narrative that’s been set to destroy them, the archaic and misogynistic tropes we constantly see in the music world slowly begin to fade as they make room for an equal and inclusive aerosphere. From breaking moulds to speaking up and fighting for change, women in pop are no longer afraid to hold anything back and they’re no longer apologising for their strength, aptitude and courage, but instead commemorating it.


Kellie Given

For all its worth, the British hip hop scene has always remained somewhat of a mystery. If you didn’t actually live in the United Kingdom or you didn’t consider yourself an underground muso, you’d have no idea that a world beyond America’s reigning hip hop industry ever existed. Sure, the occasional hits from the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah and Drake’s few dabbles helped land British hip hop a spot on the charts; but for the most part the genre has never weaved its way into the mainstream. Of course, until now.

Enter the new generation of…

Kellie Given

Caught somewhere between a technicolour vision and a dancefloor rave, you’ll find Glass Animals. The English psychedelic band have quickly become one of the world’s best indie counterparts, earning a string of accolades including a spot on the Mercury Prize shortlist for their sophomore album How to Be a Human Being. Currently, their hit ‘Heat Waves’ (from latest album Dreamland) is number 40 on the Global Spotify Chart, number one on the NZ Hot Single Chart and it’s even been remixed into a TikTok sea shanty, which actually, frontman Dave Bayley admits is so much better than the…

Kellie Given

‘Drivers license’ sort of popped out of nowhere. The gorgeous power ballad from 17-year-old Disney star Olivia Rodrigo has quickly become the centre of the internet’s attention; its candid exploration of heartache relating to millions around the world. But for all its pain, vulnerability and extreme aesthetic, the debut track (which, by the way, continues to break multiple records) is most representative of one of the biggest forces that’s lived within pop music for years: the obsession with car culture.

At its core, ‘drivers license’ isn’t just a break-up song. Instead, it represents an adolescent dream that revolves…

Emma Ellwood

Phwoa. It’s a new year!

To say we’ve been and gone through the works would only be an inch of the truth. Now it’s time to take a breather, reset, and bring ourselves back into the swing of things as we head into a fresh year.

To kick things off, we thought we’d get a bit of a list going for the artists on the rise for our bright and shiny 2021. With so much talent floating around, we know how it feels to be overwhelmed with the ever-rising sea of artists and the challenge of keeping a…

Kellie Given

Whether it’s a classic rags to riches journey or an outcast-turned-hero achievement, we all love a good musician story. They’re gritty, passionate, raw, and show sides of our favourite artists that we can’t see from just the music alone. And, lucky for us, artists (or people close to them) absolutely love writing them.

To prepare for your relaxing summer ahead, here’s a list of 15 of our favourite music biographies to add to your reading list.

1. ‘Me’ — Elton John

His first and only autobiography sees John reveal every ounce of truth regarding his rollercoaster life. Taking you further than what was…

UMUSIC NZ Updates, stories, quizzes, videos and articles about all your favourite artists.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store