Hometown hero Benny Tipene is up against nine up-and-coming Australian artists for Spotify's Australasian Emerge Award.
If Tipene wins, the ex-Palmerston North musician will feature on the music-streaming service's home page for three weeks.
Every stream of his music on Spotify counts as a vote.
Tipene said he had already garnered new listeners, who had helped him get to third place in the running for the award.
"Streaming music is the easiest way to get your hands on new music. Everyone's getting involved in it, so I'm super stoked.
"It's good exposure."
The competition ends in five weeks, with one artist being cut from the competition every week until then.
Since The X-Factor last year, the "Prince of Palmy" has shifted to Auckland, signed with Sony Entertainment, released an EP and performed at high-profile music festivals around the country.
"I slipped into doing music fulltime really easily.
"I'm writing different chords and lyrics. You can get stuck in a rut of writing the same song over and over again. Rather than just writing love songs, I'm writing about everything."
Tipene said his new tracks had a lot more instruments and ranged from indie folk rock/pop to psychedelic melodies. They are all originals.
"I've never released a cover of another song.
"Live shows are more believable when you sing from the heart."
He said he wanted to keep playing and writing and would definitely aim to have more No 1 hits, like Walking on Water.
"I want people to enjoy my music. That's what I really like," he said.
He said he really missed Palmerston North and was keen to do another show in the city.
"If I wasn't concentrating on my music I'd be back in Palmy trying to improve the music scene. There's heaps of cool people down there, but it's not as good as it used to be."
Tipene is embarking on a So Good They Named It Twice tour starting this week, from Kerikeri to Naenae, with Anika Moa.
His debut album is coming out in September.
Tipene's music can be streamed at spotify-emerge.com.au/bennytipene.
- Manawatu Standard
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