If variety is indeed the spice of life, Six60 must be the music industry’s equivalent of a ghost pepper. Because to pigeonhole this New Zealand quintet into a single genre is an exercise in futility. Are they pop? Soul? R&B? Dubstep? Roots? The answer: all of the above.

Formed in 2008 while the members were students at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, Six60 quickly gained a local following thanks to a unique—but catchy—sound. The group officially exploded in October 2011 with its first full-length, self-titled album, which topped the New Zealand charts. Not only did it go quadruple-platinum, but it earned Six60 a half-dozen New Zealand Music Awards. A second self-titled album in 2015 also went platinum.

In between those successful recordings, Six60—whose name is an homage to 660 Castle Street, the address of the flat the members shared in college—grew its fan base via a two-pronged strategy: leverage social media at every turn and crisscross the globe to perform such hit singles as “Rise Up 2.0,” “Don’t Forget Your Roots” and “Special.” Now more than seven years into a somewhat improbable journey, Six60 has proven that a group of gifted musicians can enjoy success without having to succumb to the pressure of being something they’re not.

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