Bay country artist to star

The feature artist for this year’s New Zealand Country Music Star Awards is Waihi-raised Michael Roycroft.

Mike, who now lives in Australia, is a special guest at this year’s awards on Labour Weekend.

After performing with a number of bands in Waihi, Hamilton and Auckland, Mike found the Star Awards while holidaying in Tauranga in 1981.

He was inspired to enter one year later, where he won the male vocal award, the duo (with Jan Cooper) prize, and eventually the overall Star Award winner’s trophy.

His accolades include New Zealand Country Music Entertainer of the Year in 1983; and in 1985 he was named male vocalist of the year, and credited with best album, by the Professional Country Music Recording Industry.

Mike’s album, ‘Slow Burnin’, was released in 1986 with its first single hitting number one in 12 American states.

The country singer made history as the first Australasian to represent both New Zealand and Australia in the US, at the Nashville Country Music Fanfair.

After touring Australia with his country rock group Cosmic Cowboys for five years, Mike again teamed up with his duo partner Jan Cooper.

Their album ‘Good Friends’ won the coveted Gold Guitar Award for best duo in 1992.

The same year, Mike was honoured with an induction into the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame. He later recorded another award winning duo, with his daughter Raebekah, at the 2000 Tamworth Country Music Tiara Awards.

The NZ Country Music Awards is on October 26-27 at Bethlehem College Performing Arts Centre. Auditions are from 8am to 5.15pm on Saturday, with a premier concert on Sunday from 1pm.

Entry costs $10 for adults and $3 for children on Saturday, and $25 on Sunday, with tickets available from SBS Bank.

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