28 May 2024

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Troy Kingi


Troy Kingi (Te Arawa, Ngapuhi, Te Whanau-a-Apanui) is an actor and multi-award-winning, multi-genre musician from Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Described by the New Zealand Herald as “One of our finest Songwriters ”, Kingi rose to fame after the release of his first two multi-award-winning albums Guitar Party at Uncles Bach and Shake That Skinny Ass All the Way to Zygertron, along with memorable major roles in Kiwi films including ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’, ‘The Pa Boys’, ‘Mt Zion’ and ‘The Breaker Upperers’.

Since then he has gone on to roles in multiple New Zealand Films, TV Series, and television commercials.

Over and above his love for acting, Kingi’s passion for music has led to a successful and ever-expanding artistic career. A hard task master on his own creativity, Troy is nearing the end of his aspirational 10 10 10 Series (to release 10 albums in 10 genres in 10 years). He is a prolific songwriter and serial collaborator, with voracious capacity and freakish efficiency.
The 10 |10 | 10 Series, has so far travelled through genres of Blues, Deep Roots, Psychedelic Soul, Funk, Folk and 80’s. Troy’s audience have lovingly followed him on this journey, never knowing what the next release will bring, avidly collecting all formats of the releases and attending all the many & varied shows - putting rest to all the Industry “Nay Sayers” who said “genre jumping” could not be done! AAA Records bought into his vision and over the last 7 years have made this a reality .

Guitar Party at Uncle’s Bach was a major debut statement – it was recorded live in just seven days with Ben Edwards in Lyttelton. What came immediately was recognition: best Maori pop artist and solo male artist at the Waiata Maori Music Awards.

The following year, now with Matt Smith if AAA Records on Board, Troy delivered the even more out-there Shake That Skinny Ass All the Way to Zygertron, (influenced by The Isley Brothers, Shuggie Otis, Al Green, the Meters ), and Aztechknowledgey, the opening track on the album, saw him nominated for the APRA Silver Scroll.

2019 saw the release of deep roots consciousness reggae in Holy Colony Burning Acres. Troy Kingi and the Upperclass referenced 70's Jamaican reggae, and spoke to colonialism around the world. The track Mighty Invader was nominated for the APRA Silver Scroll shortlist and in 2020 Troy won the prestigious Taite Music Prize for the album.

Album number four was released in September 2020. The Ghost of Freddie Cesar is Troy Kingi’s world of funk. The story behind the album has been called both strange and sad, with the inspiration being Kingi’s most personal to date. In 2005, Kingi’s father mysteriously went missing, and has not been seen or heard of, to this day. Two years into his disappearance, Kingi was sorting through his father’s belongings when he came across a cassette entitled “Freddie Cesar” in hand drawn marker. The tape contained a live set from Cesar – whom Kingi had never heard of before, but could gauge from the songs that he had lived through military service and the ensuing trauma and addiction. As a therapeutic exercise, Kingi wrote out Cesar’s lyrics into a notebook and when the tape was lost, the notebook was all that was left. Years later, the scrawled lyrics of Freddie Cesar became the building block of Kingi’s new album, of which everything else was built.

Sad and Strange, the release was a hit, topping the NZ Album Charts and making it to No.2 in the Official Album Charts.

In 2021 Troy Kingi released his fifth album, Black Sea Golden Ladder, produced and co-written by Delaney Davidson. It was the result of Troy receiving the Matairangi Mahi Toi Maori Artist in Residence. Troy was invited to live at Government House in Wellington and record at Massey University’s studio. Black Sea Golden Ladder, received the Best Folk Artist Tui (NZ Music Awards), and Delaney Davison and Jol Mulholland also received Te Kaiwhakaputa Toa/Best Producer award for their work on it.

Troy King’s sixth album, Year Of The Ratbags And Their Musty Theme Songs, an 80’s Synth Pop instalment, saw, Troy Jumping in the Delorian and taking us back to 84, the year of his birth.

Inspired by television theme songs and the superstars of the period such as Prince & Talking Heads, even the radio friendly sound of bands such as Tears for Fears, The Human League and Duran Duran … Troy’s main goal with Ratbags was to hit a nostalgic nerve for those born belonging to the era and for those who are true aficionados of 80's pop culture.

The latest release in the 10|10|10 Series, is due for release in November 2023 - Time Wasters: Soundtrack to Current Day Meanderings, an “ambient instrumental vibe” and a introspective look at his own musicianship.





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