Kings, Adeaze and Tomorrow People among finalists at 2019 Pacific Music Awards

The finalists for the 2019 Pacific Music Awards have just been announced and confirm a strong year for Pasifika hip hop, and growth across a range of music genres and cultures.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Pacific Music Awards in Aotearoa, after starting off at the Pasifika Festival in March 2005.

RNZ Music favourites Kings and SWIDT each have five finalist spots, and much loved R&B / soul duo Adeaze are welcomed back after a break from music.

Kings (Kingdon Chapple-Wilson to his family) won five Pacific Music awards last year after his song ' Don't Worry Bout' It' spent 33 consecutive weeks at the top of the NZ singles chart. That's longer than Lorde, and qualified it as the 'Highest Selling New Zealand Single' and 'Radio Airplay Record of the Year' awards at the 2017 New Zealand Music Awards.

This year King's work is being considered for 'Best Pacific Male Artist', 'Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist', 'Best Producer' (with Tenei Kesha) and 'Best Pacific Music Album' for his third album Lov3 and 3go; as well as 'Best Pacific Song' for ‘6 Figures’.

Following on from being crowned best hip hop artists at the 2018 NZ Music Awards, Onehunga crew SWIDT are also up for 'Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist' and 'Best Pacific Music Album' for their successful EP The Most Electrifying; as well as Best Pacific Music Video for ‘Who Run It’, directed by 10Daniel16, and 'Best Pacific Group'. Producer SmokeyGotBeatz is also nominated for 'Best Producer' for his work on the EP.

New Zealand R&B & soul duo Adeaze took a hiatus from music after the release of their second album and have been working in South Auckland performing arts programme for kids, Saintz Up.

Brothers Nainz and Viiz Tupa’i's new album A Mother’s Love, is dedicated to their late mother Selepa – their greatest supporter and fan. The brothers are nominated for 'Best Pacific Group', 'Best Pacific Gospel Artis't, and 'Best Pacific Language'.

After being recognised for their widespread influence and significant contribution to Samoan music and culture as last year’s 'Lifetime Achievement Award' recipientsPunialava’a are back this year.

They’re nominated for three awards: 'Best Pacific Gospel Artist', 'Best Pacific Language' and 'Best Pacific Song' for 'Ana le Seanoa'oe' by Rev iosefa Lale Peteru.

Seven-piece ‘sunshine reggae’ collective Tomorrow People are finalists for three awards - 'Best Pacific Group', 'Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist' and 'Best Pacific Music Album' for BBQ Reggae.

Mangere youth worker and singer extraordinaire Latoia Sasa-Tepania aka La CoCo is nominated for Auckland Council Best Pacific Female Artist and Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist for song ‘Waiting’, the lead single off her upcoming EP Out Of Time.

The biggest change to this year's awards is the splitting of Best Pacific Urban Artist into three separate categories – Best Pacific Soul/R&B Artist, Best Pacific Hip Hop Artist, and Best Pacific Roots/Reggae Artist. This follows some debate over the use of the term "urban" music in the industry over recent years, but also demonstrates the strength and growth of these music genres.

The organisers say this aims to highlight the ever-changing Pacific music landscape and acknowledge all the artists who are creating and composing music across a wide range of genres.

The awards event will also present four additional awards; the Manukau Institute of Technology Lifetime Achievement Award, NZ On Air Radio Airplay Award, Phillip Fuemana Award for Most Promising Pacific Artist, and the SunPix People’s Choice Award – Best Pacific Artist.

The Pasifica Music Awards will be held at Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau on 24 May 2019. The winner of the 'Best Pacific Music Album' is presented with an official Tui and recognised at the New Zealand Music Awards later this year.