New Zealand is far away; traveling here from the U.S .means you arrive on a different day. That isolation has always had the obvious negative effects, but rather than sit around and complain about it, early New Zealanders just “gave everything a go.” New Zealand was settled by both European and Pacific people who travelled here on boats mostly before they even knew where “here” was, pretty much just to see if they could.
That ethos is still a part of the fabric of New Zealand culture, and is probably one of the main reasons that New Zealanders can hold their own on any world stage. In the music scene, that manifests itself in a way that creates an organic, collaborative, and unique scene. International metal heavyweights team up with local symphony orchestras , Dub darlings collaborate with U.K Soulbirds, and the guy who was the guitarist in everyone’s favorite reggae band was also an elf, and then moved to New York to work on a comedy with HBO.
New Zealanders love to shine on any stage, and though making waves internationally hasn’t always been easy, being hampered by our isolation is starting to become less of a roadblock. New Zealand music is starting to get consistent representation at SXSW, more acts are starting to get noticed and signed by labels state-side, and one of our own recently topped the Billboard charts (albeit with a little help from a few Australians).
Here’s some music from New Zealand that you should know about. Check it out, get familiar, and keep an eye out for NZ.
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