Fly My Pretties are New Zealand's favourite live collaborative group starring a selection of the country’s finest contemporary musicians, all set to a visual backdrop. Since its inception, Fly My Pretties has produced four platinum selling albums and grown to become a local legend that continues to reach people all over the world.
A rotating collective of musicians with an ethos of mixing established and well-known performers with undiscovered and up-and-coming talent, Fly My Pretties has welcomed into the fold members of New Zealand’s most respected bands that include: Trinity Roots, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Kora, The Phoenix Foundation, Head Like A Hole, Cassette and Flying Nun greats The Hasselhoff Experiment.
A loose collective that unites at rare - and at times - fleeting moments, Fly My Pretties have toured New Zealand but a handful of times and played just a select number of additional shows that have included: an international sell out Melbourne performance in 2011 and appearances at WOMAD 2013 plus Queenstown Blues & Roots Festival 2014.
Fly My Pretties entered New Zealanders’ hearts and minds in 2004, with the idea from The Black Seeds front-man Barnaby Weir and Mikee Tucker (Loop), to assemble a talented and exciting group of Wellington-based musicians.
The objective: To meet, exchange ideas, and then perform and record the results in front of a live audience. Fly My Pretties performed their first season at Wellington’s Bats Theatre over five nights. It was a hit, and Fly My Pretties became Bats most attended event of 2004. Likewise, the album ‘Fly My Pretties - Live at Bats’ achieved platinum-status, received 6 B-Net nominations (winning Best Pop Album), and was released internationally.
Then in 2006 building on the first event, ‘The Return of Fly My Pretties’ saw key members reunite with new faces Hollie Smith and Adi Dick. Their new repertoire encompassed an even more diverse range of styles and the theme reflected the state of contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand: A nation isolated in the pacific that is searching for its identity, while remembering where we have come from.
Once again the Fly My Pretties shows were a sell out nationwide and the second album ‘The Return of Fly My Pretties’ also went on to achieve platinum status, worldwide popularity and won ‘Best Roots Album’ at the 2007 NZ Music Awards.
In 2009 Fly My Pretties returned again, featuring 16 musicians from all over NZ including some of the original Wellington crew and many new faces. The concept of ‘Fly My Pretties - A Story’ saw Fly My Pretties joined on stage by Barnaby Weir’s legendary radio broadcasting father, Dick Weir who wrote and narrated the story that the show was based around.
The collective’s third album of live recordings ‘Fly My Pretties – A Story’ was released on Monday 17th August 2009 in New Zealand, debuting at #1 on the Top 40 RIANZ album charts and has since sold platinum. That December, two final ‘A Story’ encore shows were performed to sell out audiences. In 2010, the album was officially recognised with nominations for ‘Best Roots Album’, ‘Best Album Cover’ and ‘Best Engineer’ at the New Zealand Music Awards.
In late 2011, Fly My Pretties united once again with a brand new show that saw a fresh cast collaborate with visual artist, Flox, and homegrown fashion labels, Cybèle and MisteR. The tour also marked the collective’s first international foray, playing a sold out Melbourne date as part of the tour.
The new show saw the 16-strong cast unite with an exciting new concept, re-inspired style and re-invigorated sound to challenge audience’s senses and redefine what Fly My Pretties was to their fans. Via a unique collaboration, renowned visual/street artist Flox found inspiration in each song to create 16 original pieces of art. A unifying thread throughout the show, the artworks were brought to life on stage through projection, animation and visual trickery. These new songs were performed, filmed and recorded live across nine sold out shows.
‘Fly My pretties IV’ was released on Monday 19 March 2012. Like its predecessors, the album charted highly on the RIANZ album Top 40 – debuting at #3 – and is also of platinum status.
In September 2013 - Fly My Pretties triumphantly reformed to embark on ‘The Homeland Tour’: a musical journey that charted 18 towns and saw them perform 23 shows throughout New Zealand. Impressively, despite being an alternative act, the collective’s tour saw them performing to mostly sell out shows – a true illustration of the collective’s underground impact and local grassroots following.
Harking back to their musical origins with a sound reminiscent of their first two live albums - Live at Bats and The Return Of – an unashamedly kiwi sound steeped in folk, roots, soul and rock – the refreshed 12-strong cast delved deep into heartland New Zealand for their inspiration.
The tour saw partnerships forged with Archives New Zealand and the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand - both content partners providing precious historical footage from the regions toured, which were visually woven into each song’s performance to craft a unique story of our nation.
The result of the tour is Fly My Pretties fifth album. The Homeland Recordings – 13 truly inspired tracks, captured live and released on a beautifully packaged compact disc to acclaim on Friday 29 November 2013.
Fly My Pretties has always uncovered, cultivated and presented exceptional Kiwi talent to music lovers and fans; with many performers going on to achieve acclaim and success in their own right. The collective has included:
Barnaby Weir, Jarney Murphy, Mike Fabulous, Nigel Patterson, Daniel Weetman (all in The Black Seeds), Age Pryor (Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra / The Woolshed Sessions), Hollie Smith, Samuel Flynn Scott & Luke Buda (both The Phoenix Foundation) Fran and Laughton Kora (Kora), Nathan ‘Nato’ Hickey (Grand Prix & Beastwars), Lee Prebble (The Woolshed Sessions) Mailee Matthews (CASH), Brendan Moran (The Hasselhoff Experiment), Craig Terris (Cassette), Darren Siggley, L.A. Mitchell (Dave Dobbyn / Dukes), Lisa Tomlins (Sola Rosa), Mara T.K (Electric Wire Hustle), Paul McLaney (Gramsci), Ryan Prebble (Spartacus R & The Nudge), Tom Watson (Cassette and HLAH), Riki Gooch & Rio Hunuki-Hemopo (both TrinityRoots & Fat Freddy’s Drop), Ned Ngatae (Dimmer, Eru Dangerspiel), Aaron Tokona (AHoriBuzz, Weta, Cairo Knife Fight) James Coyle & Iraia Whakamoe (The Nudge), Shaun Blackwell (John The Baptist), Louis McDonald (Five Mile Town), Mark Vanilau (Dave Dobbyn / Vanilau, Maxwell, Baker) Justin “Firefly” Clarke (The Woolshed Sessions), Anika Moa, Mel Parsons, Kara Gordon, Adi Dick, Tessa Rain, Module, Anna Coddington, Eva Prowse, Jayson Norris, Amiria Grenell, Flip Grater, Ria Hall and Bailey Wiley (all successful solo artists).