Troy Kingi (Te Arawa, Ngāpuhi, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui) is an actor and a multi-genre musician originally from Rotorua, Te Kaha and Te Aute. A small-town boy at heart, Kingi is now based in Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, where he lives a pretty simple life with his wife and five children.
Described by the New Zealand Music Commission as “our Northland treasure”, Kingi rose to fame after the release of his first two multi-award-winning albums Guitar Party at Uncles Bach and Shake That Skinny Ass All the Way to Zygertron, along with memorable major roles in Kiwi films including Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Pā Boys, Mt Zion and The Kick.
Over and above his love for acting, Kingi’s passion for music has led to a successful and ever-expanding artistic career. A hard task master on his own creativity, Kingi is nearing the mid-point of his aspirational 1O 1O 1O Series (to release 10 albums in 10 genres in 10 years). He is a prolific songwriter and serial collaborator, with voracious capacity and freakish efficiency.
He is also an experienced teacher with an affinity for empowering the young, having been a New Zealand Music Commission mentor since 2015, working with high school students across Aotearoa, as well as a mentor on Songs From the Inside, a TV series aimed at rehabilitating inmates through songwriting.
His third album, Holy Colony Burning Acres – a hard-hitting deep roots-reggae album focused on major issues facing indigenous peoples all around the world and “a strong political bent”, won the prestigious 2020 Taite Music Prize, and a nomination for the coveted Silver Scroll Award for “Mighty Invader”. The album also earned Kingi two awards at the 2019 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards – Best Roots Album, and for a second consecutive year, Best Māori Artist.
Kingi’s fourth album, The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, is inspired by memories of his father who disappeared fifteen years ago, 70s funk, and the music and stories of Freddie Cesar – an exceptional yet relatively unknown African-American funk musician; the record is set to release on September 11th, 2020.
He will next be collaborating with award-winning singer/songwriter and producer Delaney Davidson on the fifth installment of his grand 10 10 10 Series: a folk music compilation of free-form compositions set to ten original poems documenting the life cycle of humankind. Tentatively titled A 75+ Year Trip to Perpetual Sleep, the alternative folk record will be launched at the 2021 Auckland Folk Festival.
Kingi is the 2020 recipient of the Mātairangi Mahi Toi Māori Artist Residency at Government House, a partnership between the Office of the Governor General of New Zealand and Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts at Massey University Wellington.