Williams star has been on the rise for many years, having first garnered attention in Christchurch alt-folk band The Unfaithful Ways, before partnering with first Delaney Davidson and then Tami Neilson (Silver Scroll nominee and winner respectively) on two collaborative records.
He released his first solo album in 2016 to much acclaim (including a Silver Scroll finalist spot for his song Dark Child), and significant international attention, before cementing his name as one of New Zealand’s most charismatic singers and songwriters with his second solo album Make Way For Love released earlier this year.
The Silver Scroll Award is the metaphorical cherry on top. It acknowledges excellence in songwriting and has been given to some of the most recognisable names and songs in New Zealand music during its 53 year history, from the Swingers’ ‘Counting The Beat’ and Bic Runga’s ‘Drive’ to Scribe and P Money’s ‘Not Many’.
Critically acclaimed musician and songwriter Bic Runga was the music director of tonight’s 53rd APRA Silver Scrolls ceremony, which saw a host of other Kiwi songwriters collect awards.
Esteemed songwriter Ria Hall, along with co-writers Tiki Taane and Te Ori Paki took the APRA Maioha Award, recognising exceptional waiata featuring te reo Māori, for their rich and heartfelt ballad Te Ahi Kai Pō. The song raises awareness of inter-generational cultural disenfranchisement and draws on Ria’s own family history.
Wellington composer Michael Norris won the SOUNZ Contemporary Award for the second time (his previous win was in 2014 for Inner Phases), with his composition Sygyt for throat singer, chamber ensemble, and live electronics. Sygyt was commissioned by contemporary ensemble Stroma to explore the interesting textures and harmonics of throat singing.
Conrad Wedde, Lukasz Buda, and Samuel Scott, who are best known for their work in The Phoenix Foundation, received the APRA Best Original Music in a Series Award for their nuanced and beautiful soundtrack for Australian TV series Cleverman, a futuristic drama with roots in Aboriginal mythology.
Local luminary David Long (The Muttonbirds, Teeth) won the APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film Award for his dramatic score for McLaren - the acclaimed documentary about NZ racing driver Bruce McLaren.
Rounding off the evening was the induction of Jenny Morris into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, with a wonderful tribute to the trailblazing rock n roll icon from long-time fan Jacinda Ardern, and a performance of Break In The Weather by Ladyhawke.
The winner of all awards were:
APRA Silver Scroll: Marlon Williams – Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore
APRA Maioha Award: Ria Hall, Tiki Taane, Te Ori Paki – Te Ahi Kai Pō
SOUNZ Contemporary Award: Michael Norris – Sygyt
APRA Best Original Music in a Series: Conrad Wedde, Lukasz Buda, Samuel Scott – Cleverman
APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film: David Long – McLaren
Hall of Fame: Jenny Morris
The event was hosted by Anika Moa, and broadcast across Radio NZ’s airwaves, as well as their Facebook page and website.
The awards are proudly supported by Hallertau Brewery, Soho Wines, and NZ On Air.
More highlights of the night can be found in the image gallery further below.