Queenstown’s Holly Arrowsmith wins 2016 Folk Tui

(Holly Arrowsmith)
(Holly Arrowsmith)

Southern songwriter Holly Arrowsmith has won the NZ Music Award for Best Folk Album of 2016 with her debut record For the Weary Traveller.

The Tui award was presented last night at the annual Auckland Folk Festival. The competition was tough, with Arrowsmith nominated beside her friends, acclaimed artists Amiria Grenell and Nadia Reid.

She tells Newshub it was a very relaxed evening though.

"It was great to have three ladies as finalists this year," she says. "We are all advocates for each other's music. When the envelope was opened, I really had no idea who it might be. Amiria has taken out the Folk Tui previously with another beautiful album of hers and Nadia's record is doing so well internationally.

"When it comes down to it, we don't make music to get recognition but when something you've worked really hard on does get acknowledged in some way, whether that is a message from a stranger saying it has resonated with them, or in our case being nominated for this award, it feels kind of like someone giving you a big hug, and imparting some encouragement to keep doing what you are doing."

The award-winning album was recorded in a studio in the mountains of Queenstown.

Born in the American desert city of Santa Fe, New Mexico and raised amongst the Southern Alps in New Zealand, Arrowsmith, 21, has already toured both the North and South Islands extensively, opened for international artists like Rodriguez, and played Australia's biggest cities.

This year she embarks on a two-month tour of the United States. She says it will be an amazing experience and is looking forward to spending time in her birthplace where she will reconnect with relatives and her earliest memories.