26 Feb 2024

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Sons Of Zion


Sons of Zion have well and truly earned their place in the upper echelons of New Zealand music. From their humble Kiwi beginnings, to playing shows across the globe and dominating charts, Sons of Zion have amassed an impressive 48.5 million streams on Spotify, more than 15 million views on YouTube and 100,000-plus followers on social media.

For members Rio, Sam, Joel, Matt, Ross, and Caleb, it’s a track record that has established them as one the southern hemisphere’s most-loved and well-respected bands. In autumn 2018 the band made their mark with latest single Drift Away. Drift Away has been the #1 most played song on New Zealand radio for 3 weeks running, achieving the #1 NZTop20 NZ Single and almost 3 million streams and over 130,000 video views.

The track is featured on their brand new album Vantage Point, alongside a slew of their other hits including Now and Is That Enough (Ft. Aaradhna) – both #1 NZ & Urban Airplay Singles. Vantage Point hit #3 on the iTunes Album Chart, as well as entering the Billboard’s Reggae Chart at #9. Sons of Zion made their mark in 2009 with their self-titled debut album, following it up in 2013 with their full-length studio album Universal Love, which included the smash singles Be My Lady, Good Love and Tell Her - the latter two songs achieving #1 Urban and #1 NZ Airplay respectively. The hits continued to flow with Stuck on Stupid, Fill Me Up, I’m Ready and Hungover, winning over new and old fans alike.

The band, who write, record, produce and mix all of their music, doubled down and invested in their very own studio in 2017 No Filter Studios. All their new material has been skilfully created in the purpose-built Auckland space, which also became home to a few of the members as they found themselves working around the clock, stealing only a few hours of sleep while putting the finishing touches on the Vantage Point record. The studio is a one-stop shop for recording, music and TV production, which reveals a savvy business-minded side to the boys from Sons of Zion.

“We’re really proud of this place,” Rio says of the studio they’ve built and where they all now work from. “We know how hard it is to be musicians and then to create a business around it, it’s a lot of pressure. But we’ve just finished a year of business and the IRD’s not after us,” he laughs. It’s all part of the community-minded Sons of Zion ethos that’s helped them to grow a massive fanbase. And it’s this love from all corners of the globe that’s seen the band clock up tens of thousands of air miles over the last decade. A highlight from their explosive live set is witnessing their un-rivalled musicianship, as much like in the studio between songs, members seamlessly switch from vocals, to guitar to drums and then back again.

They’ve toured New Zealand more times than they can count and have also played sold out shows across Australia, Tahiti, Japan, Rarotonga, Samoa and the US, and deemed rock stars in places like Hawaii, thanks to their track ‘Stuck on Stupid’ taking out the honour of being Island 98.5’s second biggest song of 2015.

Sons of Zion’s hard work and commitment to taking their music to their fans has established them as one of the best live acts on the touring circuit. It’s a reputation reinforced by surging live performances at some of biggest festivals around, including Homegrown, One Love and Ragamuffin.

Their accolades include Vodafone Music Awards - Best Roots Band 2019, Island Music Awards 2019 Nominee - Group of the Year, NZ On Air Best Music Video Award for Superman and nominations for Best Maori Urban Roots Album, Best Song By A Maori Artist and Best Song Writer at the Waiata Maori Music Awards.

Drift Away - Platinum, Is That Enough - Gold, Universal Love Album - Gold, Vantage Point Album - Gold!

You could crunch the numbers but with a band like Sons of Zion, the music speaks for itself.

And there’s no stopping them!

Band Members:
Samuel Eriwata (percussion, vocals)
Rio Panapa (lead vocals, guitar)
Joel Latimer (keyboards, vocals)
Caleb Haapu


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