In this new Rolling Stone AU/NZ series, we take a look at some rising Aotearoa artists who are looking to impress in 2023 and beyond. It may still be an uncertain time for the Kiwi music industry at large, but exciting new artists like those included in this series keep on emerging.
From as early as she can remember, Alannah Prins was music-obsessed. At just four-years-old, she recorded little melodies on cassette tapes and hasn’t stopped exploring the possibilities of her voice since.
Now 28, Alannah is a pop artist with a fierce electronic edge working under the name PRINS, fulfilling the potential she showed at such a young age.
She’s making steady moves with a series of acclaimed hits under her belt and has graced the stages of some of New Zealand’s biggest music festivals.
Her songs demand attention, combining catchy melodies with confident vocals, while her lyrics delve deep into understanding all scales of emotional connection.
With guidance from heavyweights like SIX 60‘s Marlon Gerbes, Drax Project and Carlie Hanson from House of Wolf, she released her debut EP, Life Is Better Now, last year.
The EP showcases a sassy songwriter working underneath the electro-pop sheen, with her work scoring top 10 placements in the Hot 20 NZ Singles Chart and the Official Top 20 NZ Album Charts.
And to watch PRINS do her thing live is to watch her passion become abundantly clear, with her endless energy naturally inviting crowds to be as carefree as they want.
At the end of last year, she crowned her stellar 2022 with her first ever stadium show, opening for Six60 with Lee Mvtthews, a feat she labels a “very surreal” moment.
And she’s already started 2023 promisingly, releasing a fiery “Something New” earlier this month. There’s nothing stopping the Christchurch artist ascension to pop stardom right now. In the below interview, PRINS opens up about her career progress and her outlook for the year ahead.
PRINS’ “Something New” is out now.
How did you discover your passion for making music?
The radio was always on at home and my brother and I would always be singing and performing together all the way up to the end of high school before moving to Christchurch. I never really thought it would be possible as a career but in hindsight I don’t know if I could’ve seen myself doing anything else.
What drew you toward electronic and pop music?
I’ve always loved upbeat electronic music especially having been a dancer my whole life. When I first started writing music I wanted to make sure that when I had enough songs to start performing as PRINS, it was a fun and enjoyable night out for people.
You’ve had a pretty exciting run so far! Tell us about some of the highlights from your perspective?
It’s been an incredible journey so far and I feel like it’s only just beginning. I was fortunate enough to perform my songs with Lee Mvtthews while opening for Six60 at the end of 2022 and it was my first ever stadium show – a very surreal moment. Playing festivals such as Bay Dreams and Electric Ave is up there, as is getting some major Spotify playlist support, radio rotation and touring The Philippines in 2019. There’s too many to choose from.
What are you most excited about for the year ahead?
Since most of my music career has existed through COVID-19, it’s easy to say 2023 is going to be my biggest year yet. I’m so excited to release my favourite songs I’ve written to date and to finally get back on the road to tour again – watch this space.
You’ve had two hits with Lee Mvtthews – what did you learn from working with them?
The boys are legends! I learnt how to really begin to enjoy the process and trust my ideas which was huge coming out of working with my previous producer. I also learnt to do my research after realising when I walked into the studio in Auckland that Lee Mvtthews was actually 2 guys! We still laugh about it to this day.
What experience did you have working with Marlon from Six60? Was there anything about the songwriting process you were able to take away from that collaboration?
Heading in to work with Marlon at his incredible home studio in Auckland was a bit of a pinch me moment. I was initially quite nervous and felt pressure to be at my best, but it’s difficult to stay like that around him – he’s the most chill guy ever! We spent the first half of the session in the lounge, writing melodies on acoustic guitar before heading into the studio. I feel like you can always tell whether a song is good if it’s able to be stripped back and played on guitar or piano.
What does it mean to you to have big radio stations supporting your singles?
2022 was a big year for me in terms of radio play, getting rotation on every major station in New Zealand. It really does feel like a dream receiving messages and videos from people who are listening to one of my songs on air, I don’t think I could ever get used to it.
What kind of commitment does it take to have wins like that in the music industry in New Zealand? Have there been challenges?
I will permanently have a love/hate relationship with this industry because within a matter of minutes it can give you the highest highs and the lowest lows. It really matters where you get your identity from because the entire industry is built on attention and your ability to harness it. It takes a deep understanding of all things songwriting, performing, social media, and the acceptance that you are essentially running a business.
With the combination of COVID and trying to make a music career in a country as small as New Zealand, I continue to face relentless challenges, but this is the only thing I truly care about, so I will find a way to overcome anything and will never stop.
What piece of work are you most proud of?
At the time of writing this, I’m most proud of “Something New” as it represents a brand new era for PRINS.
How can we hear more of your music?
You can follow me everywhere except for Twitter! TikTok and Instagram (@prinsmusicofficial), Facebook and YouTube (@PRINS.music), and all streaming platforms of course!