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9 NZ Artists You Should Know

The Aotearoa music scene is overflowing with a dynamic range of promising star-talent, pushing the culture forward and beyond New Zealand’s shores, we’ve handpicked 9 artists who have caught our attention, hoping to put you on to more of Aotearoa’s music scene.

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The Aotearoa music scene is overflowing with a dynamic range of promising star-talent, pushing the culture forward and beyond New Zealand’s shores. The range of eclectic voices are growing each year, with fresh newcomers and other more seasoned artists who are honing their sound and developing their artistry to the point of undeniability. There is such a wide variety of talent that demands our attention. From underground hip-hop, to electronic, R&B, hybrid alternative sounds and indie music, there’s something for everybody.

In honour of New Zealand Music Month, we look across the ditch to the musical prowess brewing on the shores of Aotearoa. Representing New Zealand’s cultural melting pot and showcasing sounds that are authentic to their lived experiences, we’ve handpicked 9 artists who have caught our attention, hoping to put you on to more of Aotearoa’s music scene. Check them out below.

01. Rhys Rich

Rhys Rich is without a doubt one of the most gifted musical voices in Aotearoa right now. The Pōneke-Wellington based artist has one of best vocal ranges in the country, with raspy tones that seamlessly switch from vigorous rapping reminiscent to the sound of André 3000, to hypnotizing and soulful singing chords that sound more like silky crooning. Both equally as alluring but each providing a sound that is starkly different to one another, this only speaks to the magnitude of Rhys Rich’s talent. His music is a mesh of contemporary, alternative R&B and hip hop, taking you to another dimension with his effortless flow and passion.

Follow Rhys Rich here for more.

02. Brandn Shiraz

Rapper Brandn Shiraz is an exciting voice at the forefront of Tāmaki Makaurau’s underground hip-hop scene. An underrated Aotearoa artist that’s authentic to his Kuki roots, Shiraz fuses Polynesian soundscapes with a range of genres, mixing traditional Cook Island drums and the sound of his indigenous language with hard-hitting trap, reggae, afrobeats and R&B. Shiraz spits boastful, straight up bars and has an unyielding energy he brings to all his live shows. He built a name for himself over the past couple of years under the rap duo Shiraz & LSJ, and just recently released his debut solo project, a self-titled EP. Shiraz has a magnetic musicality and flair that is undeniable. He just opened for NZ hip-hop artist Melodownz’s national tour and with head nods from the best names in Aotearoa’s hip-hop scene, Brandn Shiraz is on our radar for 2023.

Follow Brandn Shiraz here for more.


The internet’s favorite phonk rapper, and SXMPRA has the numbers to prove it. The Wellington-based artist has been blazing a trail in underground rap, breaking out in 2021 with their hard-hitting single COWBELL WARRIOR!, and quickly becoming the most streamed rapper in New Zealand with the song gaining over 100 million plays on Spotify. SXMPRA’s built an ever-growing cult fan base by reviving a certain SoundCloud era of phonk music, a subgenre of hip hop and trap and then fusing it with nu metal, creating a distinct style of sound. With fast-hitting deadly verses and a cutthroat delivery, SXMPRA caught the attention of American rapper Ski Mask The Slump God, who jumped on the COWBELL WARRIOR! remix expected to drop sometime soon. We’re waiting with anticipation!

Follow SXMPRA here for more.

04. Leaping Tiger

Leaping Tiger is definitely New Zealand’s best kept secret, or was. Now based in London, Jacob Park AKA Leaping Tiger is a producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist whose sound is a cathartic blend of electronic, alternative, dreamy pop, hip hop and R&B. With his talents reaffirmed by his 2022 Aotearoa Music Award win for Best Electronic Artist, Leaping Tiger is an outstanding force representing the superpower of New Zealand music. Since his beginnings in music at the age of 14, the multidisciplinary artist broke out in 2019 with the jazzy single Screw Face, featuring Church & AP, Disciple Pati and JY Lee. No stranger to collaboration and putting on his NZ music peers, Leaping Tiger’s latest album Godspeed is an ode to his time in Aotearoa, with features from some of the country’s most talented. There’s no doubt Leaping Tiger is an artist to keep an eye on.

Follow Leaping Tiger here for more.

05. 0800

There’s an electrifying alt-hip hop collective making a name for themselves in Aotearoa called 0800. Made up of 7 members who all bring something different to the table, from vocals to visual design to producing 0800’s sound, together they produce an intoxicating dynamic that’s redefining the rap supergroup. 0800 pulls from an eclectic range of musical influences like A$AP Mob and Gorillaz, breeding a unique soundscape that guarantees something different every time they drop fresh music. They debuted in 2019 with their breakout hit DONDE, a smooth and thumping tune reminiscent of Pharrell’s golden years, which has attracted over 2 million plays on Spotify. 0800’s been keeping their foot on the gas since then, consistently dropping music videos that flaunt their creativity, making them a must-watch collective coming out of the 09.

Follow 0800 here for more.


New Zealand’s alt-rap enchantress FERBY is an emerging star in the making, despite only having a few singles to her name. Hailing from the South Island, FERBY’s music extends far beyond her small town of Lyttelton and had caught the attention of experimental American rapper JPEGMAFIA, who handpicked her to open for his Auckland show last year. FERBY’s sound is a fusion of dark alt-pop and emo trap, inspired by idols like Ashnikko and Baby Keem. Her sinister beats are self-produced by the 23-year-old artist herself, complemented with a signature nonchalant flow, menacing lyricism and thumping basslines. No one in Aotearoa is doing it quite like FERBY.

Follow Ferby here for more.


No one does high energy quite like WHO SHOT SCOTT. The Auckland-based producer and experimental hip hop artist has a unique origin story that has built the foundation for his being and bold artistry. At the age of 2, he and his mum emigrated to Aotearoa after fleeing war-torn Iraq and created a new life here from the ground up. 20-something years later, WHO SHOT SCOTT is an undeniable visionary and unapologetic creative artist making waves in New Zealand music and beyond. His sound fuses hip hop and punchy punk-rock, paired with witty lyricism and a fun cadence that makes WHO SHOT SCOTT simply magnetic. With a series of three MERCY EPs, WHO SHOT SCOTT is unmatched in the local scene with his consistent music video drops and his signature dark and moody color palette expressing exactly who he is as an artist.

Follow WHO SHOT SCOTT here for more.

08. Freddy Reynold

South Auckland hip-hop prodigy Freddy Reynold is an absolute must-watch artist in the New Zealand music scene. His sound is a hybrid mix of hip hop, electronic, house and dance music, pulling from inspirations like the 2010 UK grime scene and their most prolific MC, Skepta. Reynold caused a ruckus in Down Under with his 2021 EP Southside Run It, an infectiously energetic body of work that paid tribute to the Southside culture that raised him. His razor-sharp verses, catchy hooks, and rapid yet impeccable flow is irresistible to the ear, but his Southside Run It visual takes it to the next level. With Reynold’s freshest drop, SILVER GREEN AND GOLD dropping this Friday, the up-and-coming 09 artist holds a definite future representing the versatility of Aotearoa music on the world stage.

Follow Freddy Reynold here for more.

09. hanbee

Korean-Kiwi indie-pop singer hanbee makes music for the daydreamers. Her soothing and sweet lullaby-esque vocals caress the ear, complemented with summer pop production which makes a journey through her discography an intimate listening experience. With her sound likened to Benee, Clairo and Kali Uchis, hanbee is a fast rising New Zealand songstress who strikes the perfect balance between melancholy and warm-feel good melodies. Apart of the Korean-New Zealand creative collective ABG (Always Be Grateful) with Aotearoa singer Taebz and rapper Hans., hanbee reflects her diasporic experience through bilingual tunes like Kawakawa. Since debuting in 2021 with her silky EP in and out, hanbee has been turning heads fast and is an irresistible talent we can’t help but keep our eye on for 2023.

Follow hanbee here for more.