Church & AP take home three Pacific Music awards

Monday 5 October 2020 | Written by RNZ | Published in Small World


The winners of the 2020 Pacific Music Awards have been announced in an online ceremony, which included musical performances from the cream of the Pacific music community.

Elijah Manu and Albert Purcell – better known as hip hop duo Church & AP – won Best Pacific Group, and Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist, for their debut album Teeth, as well as the Radio Airplay Award for their single Ready or Not. The pair’s producer Dera Meelan took out Best Producer for his work on Teeth.

Singer songwriter Olivia Foa’i of Te Vaka and Moana fame celebrated with three awards of her own, recognising her tremendous success as a solo artist.

She won Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist, Sunpix Best Pacific Language, and Recorded Music NZ Best Pacific Music Album for her debut solo album Candid.

The legacy of the late Fijian guitarist Daniel Rae Costello was honoured with the Manukau Institute of Technology Lifetime Achievement Award.

Costello released his debut album Tropical Sunset in 1979 and went on to put out 19 more throughout his lifetime.

His hits such as Take Me to the Island, Dark Moon and Samba, are ubiquitous on radio, and at nightclubs and family gatherings across the Pacific to this day.

Gospel singer Lani Alo, who took a break from his work with previous winners EFKS Te Atatu Junior Youth Choir, to release his first single Alo I Ou Faiva. The track won Best Pacific Song, and Lani took home Best Pacific Gospel Artist.

Kiwi hip hop sensation Kings won the Streaming Award for his single 6 Figures, while the award for Best Pacific Male Artist went to rapper Poetik for Hamofied EP 2, which continues to put Polynesian culture and issues on the map.

A Special Recognition Award was presented to Jawsh 685 – AKA Josh Nanai – a 17-year-old producer from Manurewa who’s catchy Laxed (Siren Beat) went viral on social media platform TikTok, before being picked up by US pop star Jason Derulo.

The resulting collaboration Savage Love / Laxed (Siren Beat) has seen global success, reaching the #1 spot in seventeen countries including New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Performances on the night showcased the new wave of Pacific talent with sets from finalists Church & AP, Lomez Brown, Lou’ana, Shepherds Reign, Lani Alo, and Disciple Pati. There was also a special tribute performance for Lifetime Achievement recipient Daniel Rae Costello by Stevie Heatley and TCB – the band that toured with Daniel across New Zealand and the Pacific from 2013 to 2015.

Chairman and spokesperson Reverend Mua Strickson-Pua said, “The 2020 Pacific Music Awards again travel new oceans of richness, diversity and inclusivity, mirroring the Pasifika wairuatanga – the spirit of overcoming life struggles – and giving back to loved ones from Atua, to sacred tupuga/tupuna/ancestors.”