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The drive behind the success of NZ music legend Savage

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A dedication spanning 20 years shows no signs of slowing as New Zealand artist Savage continues an execution method resulting in a string of internationally acclaimed successes. Ballin’ on a Budget uncovers the drive behind his determination and how his hard work cemented his place as a hip-hop idol.


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It’s been about commitment to the music for Savage from the beginning and through relentless desire he stands today with a series of hits famed hits credited to his name.
As if it was embedded in his nature Savage overcame tribulations that could have possibly tried counter him. Through hard work the now-36-year-old struck gold when he was able to break through gaining international recognition and today is regarded by many, not only in his homeland but around the world, as a symbol of hip-hop.

Savage demonstrated a dedication to music from day one which saw his music top charts globally. He said it’s the gratitude from a worldwide audience that keeps him motivated: “It’s amazing to know I get emails and Facebook messages from people that speak different languages and to get to see how much my music goes throughout the world.”

His arrival onto the music scene didn’t happen overnight – yet almost 20 years since the inception of his journey toward devotion to music began, he still craves more. His contributions have been consistently impressive but it was a passion pursued with an opportunity taken rather than one that was given.


It was in 1997 when Savage teamed up with three friends, Devolo, Mareko and Alphrisk to form Deceptikonz. Two years later the street-wise crew were to be picked up by Dawn Raid Entertainment – a partnership that would solidify Savage’s placement in the music industry from there on out.

The wider public’s acknowledgment of Savage’s talent took a little longer but in 2001 the sound created by the group from South Auckland began to resonate with many and so launched an appreciation of Savage’s intuitive hip-hop beats and catchy tunes. More than that Savage gained respect.

Savage said he was always inspired by local artists around him: “I was a huge fan of Che Fu, he let me believe I could be an artist in this country.”

Now, as an inspiration to many himself, Savage said it’s great to see a new generation of artists coming through like Onehunga hip-hop collective SWIDT. “I’m from the era of RES (Red Eye Society) so to see what the SWIDT boys are doing is amazing.

“You know New Zealand hip-hop has been waiting for something like that for a very long time. Especially the quality of their music, production wise, to the lyrics, to them being themselves is definitely something we’ve been without for a long time. It’s refreshing.”

Recently his track *** was picked as the feature track showcased on the official trailer for The Fate of the Furious – the eight installments for one of the biggest and most successful franchises of all time.

Since launching his solo career in 2005 Savage dropped a series of hits, some making their way to the U.S charts, others hitting Hollywood, such as Swing gaining traction in the 2007 movie Knocked Up or hitting four times platinum.
At the New Zealand Pacific Music Awards in 2016 Savage was recognized for Outstanding Achievement to music and took home the NZ On Air Airplay Award for his hit Freaks featuring Timmy Trumpet.

He humbly accepted both awards but moved the audience when giving his acceptance speech. The father-of-** took a moment to encourage viewers to think of the many people throughout New Zealand who were feeling the winter weather while sleeping in their cars and struggling through tough times.
Afterwards, he revealed why it was so important to take the time to raise awareness around people doing it tough in his moment of victory.

“I know the feel. I’ll be honest with you, I turned up (to the awards) and it was the first thing I thought about – that while we’re over here celebrating, there are some people going through some real-life struggles and I’ve been through that. It’s hard to not think about it.”

The victories he accomplishes are an attribute to the skill Savage has worked hard to maintain and something he doesn’t take for granted. He confessed his efforts are about trying to make a difference for the next generation to come.
“Success to me is when you’ve accomplished all that you can accomplish, in order to help the next generation, in order to make a difference or have done something that’s definitely going to impact the next generation and make their process a lot easier.”
Savage has new music in the mix and unquestionably will keep audiences intrigued as to where his music will journey next. “I’m just trying to keep the ball rolling and the momentum going.”

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