Benee's catchy pop song Glitter has won the 2020 APRA Silver Scroll.
It is the first win for the 20-year-old singer and her co-writers Joshua Fountain and Djeisan Suskov. They were also nominated last year for Soaked.
Benee, real name Stella Bennett, was presented the award by Joel Little. The award recognises New Zealand's top songwriting talent and is voted for by APRA members.
The ceremony was pre-recorded and finalists and APRA members gathered at Auckland's Powerstation to watch. The ceremony was streamed online for the first time amidst Covid-19 uncertainties.
Benee thanked her fans and voters for the award in a video message. The award adds to a massive year for the artist, who has appeared on US talk shows, performed a sold-out nationwide tour, and had her song Supalonely go viral on the social media app TikTok.
"This is nuts. Thank you very much. This is crazy. I just want to say to all the other finalists, you guys are insane," she said.
"Thank you so much to everyone who has listened to my music and supported the music that I'm making and the kind of music that I want to be making…the support that I've received over the past couple of years now has been insane, and I feel like everyone in New Zealand is so welcoming and supportive of new artists, which I think is very important, and it's been a very great time for me, so thank you very much."
The award cements Bennett, Fountain, and Suskov as a New Zealand pop songwriting powerhouse. Glitter beat songs from Troy Kingi, Nadia Reid, Reb Fountain, and L.A.B. for the gong. Fountain won the Tui award for best producer in 2019, and he and Suskov are members of the group Leisure.
The ceremony included covers of the songs from a slew of talented performers. In APRA Silver Scroll tradition, the songs are covered by artists picked by a music director. This year, Fur Patrol's Julia Deans helmed the show and selected artists to perform the finalists' tracks.
The performers included Alien Weaponry, Neil MacLeod, Mousey, members of Shapeshifter, Tiki Tane, Tomorrow People, and Disciple Pati. Delaney Davidson and The All Girl Big Band covered the winning song Glitter.
Continuing the celebration of NZ songwriting talent, other awards presented were the best original music in a feature film, which went to Karl Steven for his score of the horror movie Come To Daddy. David Long's work on the TV adaptation of The Luminaries won him the award for best original music in a television series. The APRA Maioha Award was presented to Rob Ruha for Ka Mānu and the SOUNZ contemporary award was presented to composer Michael Norris for Mātauranga (Rerenga).
Benee joins a list of notable New Zealand artists to win the prestigious songwriting award, including Aldous Harding, Marlon Williams, Lorde and Dave Dobbyn.
2020 APRA Silver Scroll finalists
WINNER: Glitter written by Stella Bennett, Joshua Fountain and Djeisan Suskov, performed by Benee.
- Don't You Know Who I Am, written and performed by Reb Fountain.
- Get The Devil Out, written and performed by Nadia Reid.
- Mighty Invader, written and performed by Troy Kingi.
- In The Air, written by Arapekanga Adams-Tamatea, Brad Kora, Stuart Kora, Joel Shadbolt, and Miharo Gregory, performed by L.A.B.