Dunedin-trained singer nominated for two Grammys

Auckland-based tenor and University of Otago alumnus Simon O’Neill ...
Auckland-based tenor and University of Otago alumnus Simon O’Neill will perform with the DSO for the first time. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
World-renowned opera singer Simon O'Neill is nominated for two Grammy awards.

The tenor singer hails from Ashburton, and recently returned to New Zealand. He is currently staying in an MIQ facility, where he learned of the nominations on Wednesday morning.

University of Otago alumnus O'Neill is nominated for best choral performance and best-engineered album, classical.

The solo tenor says he is excited by the nominations and hopes to take his 10-year-old daughter to Los Angeles for the ceremony in the new year.

He said in a media statement: "My 10-year-old daughter Violet is so excited that she might accompany me to LA to sit beside Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber or Ariana Grande at the award night! …dreams are great aren't they!"

His double nomination recognises his contribution as a solo tenor in the role of Doctor Marianus in Mahler's Symphony No.8, which was conducted by Gustavo Dudamel for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

"It was a huge thrill to make my debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the incredible Walt Disney Concert Hall conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. This Mahler Symphony is massive and I was so honoured to be part of the amazing soundscape that was captured by Deutsche Grammophon," O'Neill says.

The Grammy nods mark O'Neill's third nomination - he was previously nominated for the prestigious music award in 2006 in the 'Producer of the Year' category for his recording of Chausson Le Roi Arthus with fellow New Zealand Wagnerian bass-baritone, Sir Donald McIntyre.

He told RNZ this morning he was really proud of the nominations and called the honour a "great thrill".

Multi-genre performer Jon Batiste leads the nominations for the 2022 awards with 11 nods. Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, and H.E.R. are all tied for the second-most nominations, each earning eight.

Billie Eilish is also up for seven awards.

Lorde missed out on nominations for her latest album Solar Power. The New Zealand star won two Grammy awards in 2013 for song of the year and best pop solo performance for her track Royals.

Her second album Melodrama earned her a nomination for album of the year.

The awards will be handed out in Los Angeles on January 31, 2022 (February 1 NZ time).


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