Heart First by Kaylee Bell is the nation's Best Country Music Albumfor 2014 while Tami Neilson and Delaney Davidson's Whiskey & Kissesis the Best Country Music Song.
Both awards were presented last night (May 23) at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore.
Kaylee Bell's Tui for the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album will rest in a trophy cabinet filled with awards. In 2013 Bell won Best Female Artist at the National Country Music Awards in Hamilton and later became the first Kiwi since Keith Urban (1990) to win Australia's Toyota Star Maker title.
The 25-year-old rising star, originally from South Island's Waimate, is now based in Australia.
Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says Bell is one of the most promising young New Zealand artists. "With earnest lyrics and uplifting performances, Heart First is an outstanding example of the exceptional country music produced in NZ."
Tami Neilson and Delaney Davidson are no strangers to the country music scene. Neilson's past three recordings have all taken home Tuis for Best Country Music Album and Davidson won the award last year with Marlon Williams. It's also the third time he has won the APRA award for Best Country Music Song.
The pair collaborated to make Whiskey & Kisses on Neilson's latest album ‘Dynamite!' The song is a duet featuring the vocals of Neilson and Ben Woolley.
APRA AMCOS Director of NZ Operations Anthony Healey says Whiskey & Kisses encapsulates the country music genre. "Tami and Delaney have written a country song that will be remembered for many years. It is emotional and honest and it has proved to be the best country song of the year."
The New Zealand Country Music Awards are hosted in Gore as a part of a week-long celebration of country music. It attracts more than 5,000 fans annually.
The other finalists for Best Country Music Album were Marian Burns for The Paris Sessions and Anna van Riel for Whistle and Hum.
Burns was also a finalist for Best Country Music Song with Finger in Too Many Pies. Neilson claimed the other finalist spot in this category with her solo effort Texas.
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