Genre. Taste in music. Things that perhaps characterise a nation’s attitude as a whole, as much as other things. When you mention music in New Zealand, it’s heavily influenced by the broody, blokey attitude that the Kiwis wear on them. Rock, hip-hop, country music have had a big influence on New Zealand’s music. From the pre colonial Maori music, when the tasmanian population was tribal dominated, to the western music from late 20th century, the music consumption in the country has massively changed.
Blue Smoke by Pixie Williams was perhaps the start of pop music in the country, the first single to be locally produced and manufactured in NZ. He further went on to achieve a Triple Platinum in NZ for the same.
Split Enz was the first big thing in Kiwi music, helmed by Phil Judd, Tim Finn and Neil Finn. The Finn brothers gained huge popularity country-wide. At one point-in-time they even made it to The Queen’s Birthday list. Their breakthrough album True Colours truly pur Kiwi music into international acclaim, breaking open the door to US and UK music.
The television industry gave rise to another of country’s sweethearts, Sandy Edmonds. Rose to widespread fame by the TV pop show C’mon . This gave her a diva status in the country, endorsing various fashion brands. Truly NZ’s Paris Hilton of the 20th century. Riot 111 had a rather unusual path to fame, staging a raucous concert in front of the Hutt Valley protest over alleged banning of a musical video.
Loyal is widely regarded by the Kiwi natives to be ‘greatest New Zealand song ever’. Dave Dobbyn, the voice behind the magical song has a cult status in the country. Songwriting is as much his forte as playback, having written more songs than any other Kiwi.
The naughties have seen bands like Fat Freddy Drop burst to instant fame in ’05 with the album Based on a true story. Incredibly it hit no.1 on NZ charts, being an independently distributed album! And finally, who else but Lorde, the next big thing in NZ music space. Made a record of being the youngest artist at US no.1, in 1987. The fact that she was signed in her teens by Universal Music Group is a testament to her child prodigy.
So this was a brief timeline of a not-so-vast but a blessed Kiwi music industry, and with stars like Lorde, more is surely, yet to come.