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Scuba Diva wins the NZ On Air Critics’ Choice Prize

Media release

2 November 2016

Scuba Diva wins the NZ On Air Critics’ Choice Prize

Scuba Diva has been announced as the winner of the NZ On Air Critics’ Choice Prize as part of the 2016 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

He was awarded the Prize after performing at the Tuning Fork in front of an enthusiastic live crowd and fellow finalists Kane Strang and SPYCC & INF.

Scuba Diva aka Auckland’s Jimmy Mac showcased his own brand of hi-fi alt pop – mixing elements of classic rock, 80’s electronic, funky-jazz fusion with a sprinkle of synth to top it all off.

He’s taking home a NZ On Air grant worth $8,000 to go towards recording a single or music video and $1,500 voucher for audio services from Stebbing Recording Centre.

He’ll also receive expert advice and professional guidance about working in the music industry from Lynda Parsons Entertainment Accounting, Eccles Entertainment and 12 months’ access to the Music Managers Forum – including one-on-one mentoring and access to educational resources.

Jimmy Mac says he’s thrilled to have been chosen as the 2016 Critics’ Choice Prize winner.

“Felt a bit like a sports competition, I’m very flattered, thanks everyone. I’m super stoked, every other band was super amazing.

“I want to thank Emma my wife, I didn’t really want to write songs but she pushed me on to do it. I also want to thank my band, they make it sound good,” he says.

The NZ On Air Critics’ Choice Prize is now in its seventh year and was created to identify and recognise our up-and-coming Kiwi musicians as future Tui award winners.

Previous shortlisted artists include The Naked and Famous, Janine and the Mixtape and Homebrew while the likes of Kimbra, Randa and Bespin have taken out the Prize.

This year eligibility rules have changed to include artists who have already released an album, as long as the album hasn’t charted in the New Zealand Top 40.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says this has created a larger pool of upcoming talent eligible for the Critics’ Choice Prize.

“With this year’s shortlisted artists, we dug deep into what New Zealanders are listening to. From indie and rock through to electronic and hip hop, we’re showcasing the diversity and quality of the fresh talent on our shores.”

NZ On Air’s Head of Music and Radio David Ridler said discovering the new musical gems we have in New Zealand is an important element of the Music Awards season.

"The Critics’ Choice prize is a wonderful reminder that the lifeblood of our music ecology is bringing through exciting new talent - and all the surprises that they bring. It’s a great event and we’re very proud to be associated with it.”

Musician Notes

Scuba Diva

Jimmy Mac is no stranger to the music scene. He’s toured with Lorde and played with local bands Popstrangers and The DHDFDs. And now his alt-pop project Scuba Diva is making waves in all the right circles, with local legend Kody Nielson involved with the production of his first two tracks 'What's The Point?' and 'Marimba'.


Part of the Onehunga hip hop collective SWIDT, SPYCC & INF have seen their own successes as individual artists as well as part of wider collaborations. Working with SmokeyGotBeatz, their music is rooted in experiences and unapologetically Southside. Now the two are looking forward and are planning to release a joint album in the near future – watch this space.

Kane Strang

Kane Strang’s debut album Blue Cheese was written during a two-month period in his hometown of Dunedin. But with fans all over the world, it’s not hard to see his brand of guitar-pop growing from here. He’s already planning his next album, most of which is already written.

Follow the Awards news online:


About Recorded Music New Zealand: Recorded Music NZ is a non-profit industry representation and licensing organisation for recording artists and their labels. It divides its services into three main areas. The Member Services team delivers projects including the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, the weekly Official NZ Top40 Charts and the Music Grants programme. Recorded Music NZ’s licensing division administers broadcast and public performance licensing either directly or through its joint initiative with APRA called OneMusic. The Pro-Music team is dedicated to protecting and promoting the interests of artists and labels across the New Zealand recording industry.

About the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards: The Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards is owned and hosted by Recorded Music NZ and produced for Recorded Music NZ by J&A Productions Limited.

About Vodafone: Vodafone New Zealand is passionate about music and proud to be the principal sponsor partner of New Zealand’s premier music awards. Through their leading loyalty programme, Vodafone Fantastic Fridays, Vodafone are saying a big thanks with exclusive deals on the hottest music events, ticket offers and chances to win awesome music experiences for their customers.

About NZ On Air: NZ On Air supports local music so that NZ audiences can find and enjoy music by local artists wherever they choose to listen. New Zealand music is as good as any in the world – we want to hear more of it on streaming services and local radio.

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