Current popular music artists
Kimbra, Willy Moon, Lorde, The Naked and Famous
Today is February 6, which means that it's Waitangi Day, better understood to Yanks as New Zealand Day, celebrating the 174th anniversary of the signing of the country's founding document. It seems as good a reason as any to do some digging into the recent contributions of a country that has often been historically overlooked for its pop music. New Zealand has not originated too many worldwide superstars on the level of neighboring Australia - like Kylie Minogue, Olivia Newton-John or the recent surprise breakout Gotye - or even an easily identified sort of unofficial national anthem on the level of Men At Work's enduring '80s classic "Down Under."
Of course, another recent surprise star might end up changing that. 17-year-old Ella Yelich O'Connor, also known as Lorde, wouldn't be the first Kiwi musician to hit it big in North America - alt-rock legend Neil Finn did so in the '80s with both the new wave group Split Enz ("I Got You") and crossover stars Crowded House ("Don't Dream It's Over"), while pop/rock duo OMC had one of the most unavoidable hits of the late-'90s with "How Bizarre, " and comedy-pop duo Flight of the Conchords got their own eponymous HBO show in the late '00s.
But Lorde has a chance to be easily the most popular, with the chart-topping "Royals" giving the young singer/songwriter a visibility rarely seen by New Zealand imports in the United States, and a follow-up Top 10 hit in "Team" (as well as a couple big wins at the GRAMMYs) suggesting that "Royals" was far from a fluke.
While Lorde is the country's biggest success story at the moment, she's far from all the country has to offer in terms of pop riches. Here's a look at some of the other artists doing the Other Land Down Under proud in recent years - some of whom have already made an impact on American shores, and some of whom you might yet be hearing more from in months to come.