Sons of Zion on their rise to the top of NZ music

What started as a cellphone voice memo has resulted in Kiwi reggae band Sons of Zion's biggest hit.

Their song 'Drift Away' has become one of the year's most-played songs - and for the band, their patience is starting to pay off.

"I think this is the beginning of our moment to blow up," says singer and guitarist Caleb Haapu.

Sons of Zion's third album Vantage Point is their first in five years - and their first since they quit their jobs to focus on music full-time.

"I know there's a lot of Kiwi musicians out there who still go to work Monday to Friday, and then do the music thing after work. So we're really blessed, but at the same time we've worked really hard as well," says singer and guitarist Rio Panapa.

The band released a steady stream of singles in the gap between albums, but only wanted to release an album once they were happy with the collection of songs - even if they didn't sound like their past material.

"We weren't so worried about whether it was gonna be 'a reggae song from the reggae band Sons of Zion' or whatever. We just kind of made what we liked, and we just hope everyone else feels it," says bassist Matt Sadgrove.

Vantage Point reached No. 2 in the New Zealand album charts, and has been racking up millions of streams - helped by their mega-hit 'Drift Away'.

The song started out as a voice memo on Sadgrove's phone - and it's become one of the biggest Kiwi hits of the year.

"I actually thought it was great at the time. I was like 'this is an awesome song', but it's also just kind of an easy-going song - so I didn't really expect it to pick up and go as big as it has," says Sadgrove.

It's been getting played in places the band never dreamed of - and not just on different radio stations.

"I heard it at the mall, a little bit's like [embarassed] 'oh my God' and then some of me's like 'yes!'" says Haapu with a fist-pump.

"I heard it at the dentist!" he continues.

And it's attracting a different crowd on their new tour.

"It used to just be reggae heads and people with dreads, but now it's people of all ages. We played in the Mount [Maunganui] last week and we had probably about 50 people who were probably over 60 years old, and they looked like they were having an amazing night!" says Panapa.

This summer, the band's in for an amazing night of their own - playing to 50,000 people at Western Springs, supporting Six60.

"They sort of just approached us and we'd have been stupid to say no, so we definitely said yes," says Panapa.

And with the band's new mantra being "make what you like and hope other people like it too," it seems to definitely be working.