Parsons wins with ‘Hardest Thing’

MLT Songwriting Award winner Mel Parsons performs her song 'Hardest Thing' at the Country Music...
MLT Songwriting Award winner Mel Parsons performs her song 'Hardest Thing' at the Country Music Honours last night. PHOTO: BEN ANDREWS
Indie folk and alternative country singer Mel Parsons is this year’s MLT Songwriting Award winner.

Parsons received the award for her song Hardest Thing.

The Westport-raised artist was one of 10 finalists who performed their songs during the Country Music Honours evening held at Gore’s SBS St James Theatre last night.

Gore country music artist Nicola Mitchell’s song The Man Who Told Me was the runner-up.

New Zealand Songwriters’ Trust chairwoman Vanessa Small said Parsons was a deserving and unique artist.

"Her music is very captivating and her voice is too."

The other finalists were Mark Casey and Lavina Williams, Jon Collins, Fiona Louise, Chad Robinson and Kate Targett-Adams, Rosie Teese, Karra Rhodes, Barry Saunders and Zac Griffith and co-writer Allan Caswell.

This year there were 159 entries for the award, compared to 88 last year.

"We’re extremely happy with that outcome. We put a lot into social media this year, pushing artists to enter."

The quality of the entries had been high and the calibre of finalists "better than ever".

"Really amazing. The quality of that top section is just amazing.

"I think it just shows the talent in New Zealand and beyond."

A lot of entries had been received from Australia, including finalist Jon Collins.

"It’s amazing that in Gore we have this [festival] and someone from Australia decides to come over."

The four finalists for the 2024 Apra Best New Zealand Country Song also performed their songs at the event.

The finalists were Desert Dove, written and performed by Holly Arrowsmith; Do You Think of Me?, written by Katie Thompson, Victoria Knopp, and Andy Knopp and performed by Katie Thompson; Madeline, written and performed by Jamie McDell; and Racing Through The Night, written and performed by Delaney Davidson.

Arrowsmith was the winner of that award.

She also won the award in 2019 for her song Slow Train Creek.