This is the seventh year in a row that the highly anticipated Pacific Music Awards have descended on South Auckland for a spectacular night of live performance and Pacific pride. The PMA’s are so unique, there is still the flash of photographers, but surrounded by laughter and excitement, not duty. The red carpet is not cluttered with bouncers or ticket checkers making the vibe relaxed and welcoming. As you enter, the foyer is not just filled with the hottest young artists of New Zealand Music and their entourages, there is no pretense, they are usually surrounded only by their family and friends. The PMA’s are all about sharing the new wave of Pacific music while till acknowledging the founders that forged it into the limelight, along side gospel and traditional language music. Don't get me wrong the atmosphere is still one of light competition, musicians all vying for a coveted Pacific Music Award. But the night is completely harmonious with so many diverse artists and combinations of cultures and ancestry being the forefront of the night, all receiving well deserved recognition for their hard work and distinctively beautiful soul filled sounds.
Christchurch-born artist Ladi6 was the stand out of the night, her second album ‘The Liberation of…’ won the award for Best Pacific Urban categories, while her soulful and distinctive vocals secured her the award for Best Pacific Female Artist, which she competed against pop-R&B diva Erakah and Wellington-based artist, the beautiful Bella Kalolo. Ladi6 who was in Berlin where she has crafted much of her art over the last few years, eloquently thanked her fans back home via video. Joining her in thanks was her Father who accepted her awards on stage with great love and appreciation to family and fans along with a couple of classic Samoan stories.
Hip-hop sensation J Williams was a no show unfortunately, despite going head-to-head with Young Sid and Vince Harder for the hotly contested Best Pacific Male Artist title. Vince Harder eventually taking home the award in that category.
Much-loved hip hop and R&B group Nesian Mystik took out award for the peoples choice, which really couldn’t have gone to anyone else a culmination of 10 years of integrating pacific style into mainstream, their fan base is so extensive there really was no competition. The Auckland-based six-piece band won three of the their four categories, including the NRadio 531PI Best Pacific Group and Polynesian Blue Best Pacific Music Album for "99AD" and took out the APRA Best Pacific Song award for "Sun Goes Down". They missed out to Ladi6 in the forth category.
The best part of the night would be the hi-jinxs of the MC, the stunning and hilarious Yolande Ah-Chong who every year drops lines to guys in the crowd and mocks some poor unsuspecting audience member with great jest, all this and manages to pull of the brightest dress in the room. She interacts with the crowd and artists who put on their own amazing performance which perfectly match rhythms of Pacific ‘Lali’ drums and acoustic guitars along side the new school of hip-hop and 'r n b', a night of total pacific pride and achievement. The performances by Young Sid with Halo, Bella Kalolo, K.One with Tyson Tyler & DJ CXL, Pacific Underground, Koile and Three Houses Down had the whole crowd in awe and some up on their feet. You should all experience this mesmerizing event, for 2012!
Other winners on Pacific music’s biggest night were: Tagata Pasifika Best Pacific Language Award – Koile for "Te Hua" Best Gospel Music Album – Mutalau Ululauta Matahefonua Trust Choir for "Lologo Tapu Tokiofa Mutalau - Niue Taofi Lologo 4" Radio Airplay Award – J Williams feat Scribe for "You Got Me" Manukau Institute of Technology Lifetime Achievement Award – Annie Crummer Phillip Fuemana Award, Most Promising Artist – Grace Ikenasio.