Savage (rapper)

Demetrius Savelio (born 28 June 1981), better known by his stage name Savage, is a Samoan recording artist and a former member of hip hop group the Deceptikonz. Savage was the first New Zealand hip hop artist in history to have a commercial single achieve platinum certification status in the United States.[2] The "International Breakthrough" accolade of the Pacific Music Awards was created in his honour.[3] Savage has recently applied his recognisable voice in the electronic dance music space with 5x platinum hit 'Freaks' with Timmy Trumpet, and 4x platinum hit 'Swing' with Joel Fletcher.[4]

Savage performing in Adelaide, Australia, in June 2007.
Background information
Birth nameDemetrius Savelio
Born (1981-06-28) 28 June 1981
OriginSouth Auckland, New Zealand
GenresHip hop[1]
Years active1997–present
LabelsMinistry of Sound Australia, Dawn Raid, Universal Republic
Associated actsDeceptikonz, Dawn Raid All-Stars, Akon, Aaradhna, Scribe, Joel Fletcher, Timmy Trumpet

The Deceptikonz

Savage joined with friends to form a hip-hop group, the Deceptikonz, in 1997. Success was not instant, however, as the group struggled through several talent shows and small concerts. Their big break came in 1999 when they were signed to South Auckland (Papatoetoe) hip hop label Dawn Raid Entertainment.

In 2002, the Deceptikonz released Elimination; a studio album that peaked at number four on the New Zealand albums chart.[5] In late 2003, Savage featured as a member of the Deceptikonz on the Mareko hit single Stop, Drop and Roll; a number six hit on the New Zealand singles chart.[6]

Solo career

Moonshine era (2005–07)

Savage's first solo single; Swing, was released in January 2005. The hit would eventually crack the Australian singles chart in 2014 and peak at number one for five weeks in the New Zealand singles chart. Three months later, Savage released his debut solo album Moonshine which reached number two in the New Zealand album chart and included a title track as a follow-up single. This became an even bigger success than the previous single; spending seven weeks at number one on the New Zealand singles chart, and reaching the top ten in the Australian singles chart. The Moonshine single would eventually become certified twice platinum in New Zealand and gold in Australia.[7] The third single from the album; They Don't Know reached number three in the New Zealand singles chart and was also a hit for several weeks on the Australian singles chart. In 2007, Swing featured in a club scene for the United States film Knocked Up and was also included on the movie soundtrack album.[8]

Savage Island era (2008–09)

Following the success of appearing in "Knocked Up", Swing was released as a single for the United States in 2008, and remix versions were made with American rappers Soulja Boy Tell 'Em and Pitbull. Upon re-release, Swing reached number forty-five on the US Billboard Hot 100, re-entered the New Zealand singles charts peaking at number twenty-three. By the end of January 2009, the song had sold over 1.5 million units in the United States alone. Because of this; Swing was certified as a platinum single in the United States.[2]

In February 2009, Savage released Savage Island, the second studio album of his solo career. The release became his second consecutive top-ten entry on the New Zealand album chart debuting at number nine. The album included Moonshine from the previous album as well as a remix version of the New Zealand number-one hit Not Many. The release also featured two new singles Wild Out (Chooo Hooo) and Hot Like Fire. These songs became New Zealand singles chart hits with the former becoming Savage's fourth top-ten peaking song in the national chart. Savage appeared in an issue of Source Magazine to discuss the lyrical meanings behind the tracks of Savage Island the following month. In October, Savage performed the Savage Island album track I Love The Islands, to raise funds for the Samoan tsunami relief effort.[9] In December, the video for Wild Out (Chooo Hooo) was named as one of the five most-watched YouTube music videos in New Zealand.[10]

Battle of the Century era (2010–12)

In 2010, Savage featured in "Battle of the Century", a nationwide tour across New Zealand alongside internationally successful New Zealand rapper Scribe.[11] The same year, the Presents... The Tribal Council album was released.[12] In 2012, Savage featured on the Jade Louise single "Vibrations"[13] which was the theme song for the television series The GC.[14]

Collaboration era (2013–present)

In 2013, "Swing" was remixed by Australian producer Joel Fletcher. The song peaked at number 2 on the ARIA Singles Chart[15] and has been certified quadruple platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments exceeding 280,000 copies.[16] In 2014, Savage added vocals to Timmy Trumpet's song "Freaks". The song peaked at number one in New Zealand and was certified 2× Platinum by Recorded Music NZ. In Australia, it peaked at number 3 and was certified 5× Platinum by ARIA. It also reached the top five in Finland[17] and won "Highest Selling Single" at the 2015 New Zealand Music Awards.[18]

In 2015, Savage teamed up with Kronic and Far East Movement on "Push". The track was featured in the trailer for Fast and the Furious' eighth installment "The Fate of the Furious".[19] This trailer was premiered during Super Bowl LI.

In 2016, Savage released "Zooby Doo" with Tigermonkey. The official video was overseen by world-famous choreographer Parris Goebel who runs the Palace Dance Studio in Savage's hometown of Auckland.[20] The dancers, The Ladies of ReQuest, Mini ReQuest & Ezra from The Palace Dance Studio, New Zealand, were featured in Justin Bieber's mega YouTube hit "Sorry".


Savage discography
Studio albums3
Compilation albums1
Music videos16

Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
US Heat
Moonshine 2
Savage Island
  • Released: 23 December 2008
  • Label: Dawn Raid, Universal Republic
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Mayhem & Miracles
  • Released: 29 June 2012
  • Label: Dawn Raid
  • Formats: CD, digital download
"—" denotes a release that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albums

Title Album details
Savage Presents... The Tribal Council
  • Released: 5 October 2010
  • Label: Dawn Raid, SMC
  • Formats: CD, digital download


Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album

"Swing" 2005 136 Moonshine
(featuring Akon)
"If You Love Savage"
"They Don't Know"
(featuring Aaradhna)
"Street Music"
(with Mareko)
2007 N/A
(featuring Soulja Boy Tell'Em)
2008 2345 Savage Island
"Wild Out (Chooo Hooo)"
(featuring Angel Dust & Baby Bash)
2009 6
"Hot Like Fire"
(featuring Rock City)
"I Love The Islands"
(featuring Rock City)
"This Is Me" 2011 Mayhem & Miracles
"I Promise"
"Twerk" 2012
"Because of You"
(featuring (Spawnbreezie)
(with Joel Fletcher)
2013 2
  • ARIA: 4× Platinum[34]
Non-album singles
(with Timmy Trumpet)
2014 13[upper-alpha 1]116
  • ARIA: 4× Platinum[35]
  • RMNZ: 3× Platinum[36]
"Take These Shots"
(featuring ATP & DJ Butcher)
"Like Michael Jackson" 2015
"Not Many If Any"
(with Death Ray Shake and Scribe)
(with Kronic and Far East Movement)
"Zooby Doo"
(with Tigermonkey)
"—" denotes a release that did not chart or was not released in that territory.
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Not Many - The Remix!"
(Scribe featuring Savage and Con Psy)
2003 221 The Crusader
"Turn Me Loose"
(Young Divas featuring Savage)
2007 15 New Attitude
(Jade Louise featuring Savage)
2012 7 The Jade Louise EP
"Team, Ball, Player, Thing"
(#KiwisCureBatten featuring Lorde, Kimbra, Brooke Fraser, et al.)
2015 2 Non-album single
"—" denotes a release that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Other appearances

Title Year Artist Album Note
"Big Things" 2002 P-Money featuring Mareko, Patriarch, Koma, Hepaklypz, Hazaduz, Unique, Tyna, Savage, Che Fu & Scribe Big Things
"Freestyle" 2003 Savage Mareko Is the Future
"Capital SA" 2004 Alphrisk featuring Savage The Best Kept Secret
"Savagefeel" Tha Feelstyle Break It to Pieces Vocals
"Ain't Got Nothing" (New Zealand Remix) 2005 David Banner featuring Savage & Tyree N/A
"The Nod" Weapon X & Ken Hell featuring Savage Sneakerpimpin Aint Easy
"Live It Up" King Kapisi featuring Savage Dominant Species
"Freestyle" 2006 Savage Street Dreams Vol. 1
"Move, Make Way" Savage featuring Tyree and PNC Sione's Wedding – Music from the Motion Picture
"Chains Reloaded" Che Fu featuring Savage Hi-Score – The Best of Che Fu
"The Warmth" Juse featuring Kaeson, Savage & Young Sid Global Casino
"Expectations" (Dawn Raid Remix) Amiel featuring Savage & Mareko Be Your Girl
"Straight Drop" 2008 C-Loc featuring Savage & Young Crucial Anybody Can Get It!
"Neva Been"
"You Gon Lose"
"Make Way" C-Loc featuring Savage
"God Chose Me" Devolo featuring Savage Heaven & Hell
"We Made It" 2011 Monsta featuring Savage Pacific Coast Highway
"Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That)" 2012 Flight of the Conchords N/A Guest vocals

Music videos

Title Year Director
"Swing" 2005 Sophie Findlay[39]
(featuring Akon)
Kai Crawford[40]
"If You Love Savage"
"They Don't Know"
(featuring Aaradhna)
(U.S. Version)
2008 Kai Crawford[41]
"Wild Out (Chooo Hooo)"
(featuring Angel Dust & Baby Bash)
2009 Chris Graham[42]
"Hot Like Fire"
(featuring Rock City)
Ivan Slavov[43]
"I Love the Islands"
(featuring Rock City)
Chris Graham[44]
"I Promise"
(featuring Ria)
2011 Olivia Laita[45]
"Come Out (Wrath of a Menace)"
(featuring Monsta G & Jah Free)
"Twerk" 2012 Askew One[47]
"Because of You"
(featuring (Spawnbreezie)
Anthony Plant[48]
(with Joel Fletcher)
(with Timmy Trumpet)
"Take These Shots"
(featuring ATP & DJ Butcher)
AshCon Street Proz[49]
"Like Michael Jackson" 2015 James Chappell[50]
"Zooby Doo" 2016 Parris Entertainment


  1. "Freaks" did not enter the Ultratop 50, but peaked at number 16 on the Walloon Ultratip chart.[25]

Awards and nominations

Pacific Music Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
2006 Swing Best Pacific Song Won[51]
2009 International Breakthrough Won[3]
2010 Savage Island Best Pacific Urban Artist Won[52]
Best Pacific Music Album Nominated[53]
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD – Outstanding Achievement Won[2]

New Zealand Music Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
2008 International Achievement Won (shared with Flight of the Conchords)[54]
2015 Won (shared with Lorde)[18]
Freaks Highest Selling Single Won[18]

MTV Europe Music Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
2015 Like Michael Jackson Best New Zealand Act Won[55]


  1. "Kiwi musicians have taken to Twitter to support Aaradhna in calling out the 'urban' category". The New Zealand Herald. 18 November 2016.
  2. "Vince Harder And Te Vaka Big Winners in Pacific Music Awards". Scoop Media. 10 June 2016. Retrieved November 2016
  3. CATH BENNETT (24 May 2009). "Give it up for Savage". Sunday News. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  4. Sound, Ministry of. "Timmy Trumpet's Freaks Sets A Ministry of Sound Record". Ministry of Sound. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  5. Elimination -
  6. Stop, Drop and Roll -
  7. "Savage's Moonshine single goes Gold across the ditch". amplifier. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  8. Knocked Up -
  9. "Samoan tsunami 'I Love The Islands' gig - live updates". 3 News. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  10. YouTube reveals New Zealand's most watched videos Press Release: YouTube 17-12-2009 11:41 (subscription required)
  11. Scribe vs Savage - Battle of the Century
  12. Presents... The Tribal Council - Retrieved April 2012
  14. Jade Louise Releases Her Debut Single Featuring Savage
  15. "Joel Fletcher & Savage – Swing (Song)". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  17. Lydia Jenkin (November 2015). "Broods clean up at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards". Retrieved November 2016
  18. Fast & Furious (5 February 2017), The Fate of the Furious - Big Game Spot - In Theaters April 14 (HD), retrieved 27 February 2017
  19. Ministry of Sound Australia (20 December 2016), Savage & Tigermonkey - Zooby Doo (Official Video feat. ReQuest Dance Crew), retrieved 27 February 2017
  20. "SAVAGE [NZ] IN NEW ZEALAND CHARTS". Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  21. "Savage – Chart history: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  22. "New Zealand album certifications – Savage – Moonshine". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  23. "Savage [NZ] in Australian Charts". Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  24. "Savage [NZ] in belgian Wallonia Charts". Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  25. "Savage [NZ] in French SNEP Charts". Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  26. "Savage [NZ] in Swedish Sverigetopplistan Charts". Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  27. "Savage". Billboard. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  28. "New Zealand single certifications – Savage – Swing". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  29. "New Zealand single certifications – Savage feat. Akon – Moonshine". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  30. "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2006 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  31. "RIAA's Gold & Platinum Program". RIAA. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  32. "New Zealand single certifications – Savage feat. Baby Bash – Wild Out (Chooo Hooo)". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  33. "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2018 Singles". ARIA. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  34. "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2015 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  35. "New Zealand single certifications". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  36. Charts as a featured artist in New Zealand:
  37. Charts as a featured artist in Australia:
  38. "Credits". NZ On Screen. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  39. "Savage Filming Video in NY". Dawn Raid Entertainment. 1 January 2005. Archived from the original on 7 February 2005. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  40. "Savage Swings Past One Million in US!!!" (PDF). Dawn Raid Entertainment. 13 November 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  41. "Savage – Wild Out". Vimeo. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  42. "Savage – Hot Like Fire OFFICIAL Video". YouTube. Google. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  43. "Savage – Love the islands". Vimeo. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  44. "Savage "I Promise" featuring Ria – Official Video Sione's 2 Soundtrack". YouTube. Google. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  45. "Savage – Come Out (Wrath of a Menace) feat. Monsta G & Jah Free STREET VIDEO". YouTube. Google. 27 May 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  46. "Savage – Twerk OFFICIAL VIDEO". YouTube. Google. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  47. "Savage – Because of You Feat. Spawnbreezie (Official Video)". YouTube. Google. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  48. "Savage – Take These Shots feat. ATP & DJ Butcher (Official Video)". YouTube. Google. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  49. "Savage – Like Michael Jackson (Official Video)". YouTube. Google. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  50. Winning night for Dei Hamo - STUFF — MANUKAU COURIER — AUCKLAND — 16 MAY 2006 (subscription required)
  51. S3 Pacific Music Award Winners Announced Press Release: Pacific Music Awards 30-5-2010 (subscription required)
  52. JESSIE COLQUHOUN (28 April 2010). "Pacific music finalists named". Papakura Courier.
  53. "Stars make political statements on red carpet". Sunday News. 2008. Retrieved November 2016
  54. "Savage named MTV EMA's best New Zealand act for 2015". New Zealand Herald. 20 October 2015. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
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