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Music News - NZ On Air Critics' Choice Prize winner

NZ On Air Critics' Choice Prize winner

30 October 2014 - 0 Comments

Randa has been named as the winner of the NZ On Air Critics’ Choice Prize in the 2014 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

Finalists Estere, Lake South and Randa each performed a live set at the King’s Arms in Auckland last night (Wed. Oct. 29) in front of a packed crowd and a panel of 11 music critics.

The judges were tasked with selecting just one recipient; a musical prodigy they believe has the potential to become a future Tui winner.

Following an impressive set Auckland based Randa took home the $10,000 recording and music video grant from NZ On Air.

Randa says: “I’m just super blown away. I can’t wait to celebrate with my family and friends. This grant means I can record a project and get back in studio.”

The NZ On Air Critics’ Choice Prize, now in its fifth year, is designed to recognise and promote up-and-coming Kiwi music talent and potential future music awards winners.

Past finalists include The Naked and Famous and Homebrew while the likes of Kimbra and Sheep, Dog & Wolf have taken out the laurels.

“I want to congratulate all three acts; they delivered incredible performances last night. However, there can only be one winner and I believe the critics made a fantastic choice,” says Recorded Music NZ chief executive officer Damian Vaughan.

NZ On Air Music Manager Brendan Smyth says: “The calibre of finalists every year in this category shows local music is in great shape. We look forward to seeing what Randa produces with the NZ On Air prize and will be watching the trajectory of Randa’s career from here with interest.”

In addition to recognition from top music industry experts and the NZ On Air recording and music video grant, Randa also gains professional guidance and advice from several heavyweights in the music industry. This includes meetings and mentoring sessions from Brent Eccles Entertainment Ltd, Entertainment Accounting Services Ltd and McLaughlin Law.

Randa also receives a 12-month membership to the Music Managers Forum where Randa can attend seminars free of charge and also make use of one-on-one mentoring sessions.

This year marks the 25thanniversary for NZ On Air and as a way of showing its commitment to finding and encouraging new talent, the organisation sponsored the 2014 Critics’ Choice Prize.

Musician Notes


Mainard Larkin is a 21-year-old rap artist from Auckland’s North Shore producing work under the name Randa. After being inspired by the music videoYonkers by Tyler, The Creator Mainard fell in love with rap and began investing in a bedroom set up to start recording. Randa performed at the 2014 Big Day Out and video Frankenstein was nominated for Best Music Video at the 2013 Vodafone NZ Music Awards.


Estère is a girl with an MPC she calls Lola. She produces all her own songs with Lola, mostly at home in her pyjamas. Estère plays/records a mixture of bass, synth, drums, guitar, vocal harmonies, keyboard, whistles, claps, kazoo, desk tapping and anything else that might take her fancy. She then layers her production with pulsating rhythms and evocative melodies that adhere to the genre of Electric Blue Witch hop.

Lake South

Lake South was formed in early 2014 from the ashes of electricUTOPIA band Urbantramper. His "downbeat anthem for disillusion" Good Keen Man was shortlisted for the APRA Silver Scroll. Lake also makes up one half of New Zealand’s most ‘sea worthy’ sea shanty group the Wellington Sea Shanty Society.

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