turns the spotlight on Mark Vanilau

Mark Vanilau

Mark Vanilau could be described as one of NZ music's best-kept secrets, but that's all set to change thanks to music discovery website

His name is relatively unknown yet he plays in Dave Dobbyn's band, is part of a trio with Warren Maxwell, has performed with Trinity Roots and Eru Dangerspiel, and recorded with the likes of Hollie Smith.

And now, the in-demand session musician and singer with the distinct, soulful voice, has stepped out from the shadows to work on his own songs, posting 'GIANT OF THE SEA' on and watching the track hold firm at #1 throughout the month.

This success sees him secure the NZ ON AIR 'WILDCARD' MAKING TRACKS funding, which goes towards the recording of the single and video.

"I was so surprised to go to number one on the first day, let alone to stay there for a month. Feedback started to come through from people who were discovering the song and sharing it here and overseas….amazing messages and response", says Vanilau.

"Warren Maxwell has been helping me work up a handful of songs that I've been sitting on for far too long, so it's great to see 'Giant Of The Sea' being well received."

Mark Vanilau is the third recipient of the NZ On Air 'Wild Card' Making Tracks grant, finishing in the #1 position at midnight on 31 August. His song 'Giant Of The Sea' was the most popular 'unreleased' track on the Focus Chart for the month of August on, and you can listen to his winning track .

As with the previous months, announcing the funding also marks the beginning of a new chart month on Who will be in the running for September - head to to discover new music and have your say.