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Aldous Harding has won the coveted Taite Music Prize for her "bewitching sophomore album'' Party, at an awards ceremony in Auckland tonight.
The 28-year-old former Dunedin resident was one of eight finalists in the competition, which included fellow Dunedin musicians Nadia Reid (Preservation) and Kane Strang (Two Hearts and No Brain).
From her base in London, Harding said she was delighted with the award.
She thanked everyone involved in the making of the album, "not just the music itself but the air around it, things around it and the people supporting the future of Party''.
Harding planned to record a new album in London in the next few days, and with a wry smile, she said: "I'll put the [$10,000 prize] money towards making the same mistake''.
The judging panel paid homage to the high calibre of the other finalists - Nadia Reid, Kane Strang, The Bads, Grayson Gilmour, Mermaidens, Teeks and Fazerdaze - but said their decision to award Harding the prize, was unanimous.
Independent Music New Zealand chairman Matthew Davis said it was no surprise looking at the calibre of the nominees, that international attention on New Zealand music continued to grow.
The Taite Music Prize recognises the outstanding creativity of an entire collection of music contained on one New Zealand album released in the past year.
It is open to all genres of music from any record label, and is judged on artistic merit, regardless of genre or sales.
As well as the cash prize, Harding will receive recording time at the Red Bull Studios, in Auckland, and a year's supply of Red Bull product.
The Auckland Live Best Independent Debut 2018 Award was won by West Auckland bayou-blues folk quintet The Miltones for their self-titled album.
The Headless Chickens won the Independent Music New Zealand Classic Record Award for their landmark 1988 album Stunt Clown.
The award acknowledges a New Zealand record released more than 20 years ago on an independent label, which has become a quintessential gold nugget of our musical history.