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APRA Country Music Awards 2024: Finalists Revealed

The annual awards highlight the top talent in Aotearoa country music

Holly Arrowsmith

Holly Arrowsmith


The finalists for the 2024 APRA Best Country Music Song award have been announced, highlighting the top talent in Aotearoa country music:

“Desert Dove” by Holly Arrowsmith
“Do You Think of Me?” by Katie Thompson
“Madeline” by Jamie McDell
“Racing Through he Night” by Delaney Davidson

Arrowsmith’s “Desert Dove” is the first release from the Arrowtown raised, singer-songwriter in over two years, and is a touching alt-country ballad inspired by her grandfather.

“In Tucson, Arizona my grandfather fed the birds every morning” Holly explains. “There was a dove that would wake me while I was visiting, mournful and resolute in its song. When he died, I heard that same dove in New Zealand and it filled me with a sense of him. It is a song about distance, loss and grief, and finding courage in the face of these things.”

Katie Thompson makes a return to the finalist list after her 2020 nomination with her haunting, lost love song “Do You Think of Me?” Collaborating with Victoria and Andrew Knopp, the West Coast artist recently opened for Don McLean at the Christchurch Town Hall.

Jamie McDell, another former finalist, earns a nomination for “Madeline” from her 2023 Beach House EP, following her fourth album recorded in Nashville.

“I wrote “Madeline” in the echoey wing of a house dear friends had recently bought on Denman Island, BC” Jamie notes. “A few women surrounded me at the time, all freed from bad relationships and determined to be anything but confined or defined. It inspired this story of the road less travelled and the uncertainty that ultimately leads to real growth and fulfilment.”

And of course, we have the regular finalist Delaney Davidson back on the list. Hailing from Lyttelton, Davidson has collaborated with big names like Tami Neilson and Marlon Williams. His solo track, “Racing Through the Night”, from his tenth studio album, Out of My Head, explores themes of seeking connection and solace in a dark soundscape.

“These songs dive deep into beautiful universal tales of life, love, and the road less travelled, and it is a privilege to celebrate them. Incredible songs by incredible songwriters,” says Ant Healey of APRA AMCOS. 

The APRA Best Country Music Song Award will be presented at the Country Music Honours (formerly the NZ Country Music Awards) on Friday, May 24th at St James Theatre in Gore.