The Brag Media
Features March 30, 2021

The stories behind the five contenders for APRA Song of the Year

The stories behind the five contenders for APRA Song of the Year

Some of the country’s best songwriters are in the running for this year’s peer-voted APRA Song of the Year.

Here, the writers involved talk about their creations.

‘Lost In Yesterday’

Artist: Tame Impala

Writer: Kevin Parker

Publisher: Sony Music Publishing

Background: All the instruments and vocals on the track were handled by Parker.

Kevin Parker: “This song is about regret and just the way that regret can consume you.

“I guess the challenge with writing a song like that it has a tendency to be kind of depressing.

“So I wanted to make sure it wasn’t depressing it was still kind of optimistic in a way and more dreamy.

“No matter what happens in life, I feel like we’re hardwired to things that we did when we revisit them in our minds.

“I guess that’s why these lyrics exists.”

‘Gadigal Land’

Artist: Midnight Oil ft Dan Sultan, Joel Davison, Kaleena Briggs & Bunna Lawrie

Writers: Joel Davison / Rob Hirst* / Bunna Lawrie^

Publishers: Sony Music Publishing* / Universal Music Publishing^

Background: The Oils’ first single in 17 years.

Rob Hirst: “You never know what’s going to happen to a song. You have the best intentions and you try your best.

“That song had been around for so long, it was a real jigsaw puzzle or putting all the parts together and of course Joel and Uncle Bunna’s parts were the final parts of this long journey for this song.

“Dan Sultan does this scream in the middle of it, which felt like 223 years of dispossession and injustice all in that one scream.”

Bunna Lawrie: “It’s an honour for me to sing welcome to Mirning land and Wenyo Wenyo put our language on that was pride of the Mirning people and pride of the country and it was just amazing.”

Joel Davison: “I’d like to think that if a small poetry artist can collaborate with Midnight Oil and can be nominated for a peer-voted APRA Song of the Year Award, then that should be an inspiring message to anyone out there.”

‘Carry You’

Artist: Missy Higgins

Writer: Tim Minchin

Publisher: Kobalt Music Publishing

Background: The song was performed by Missy Higgins on Minchin’s television series Upright and the pair teamed up to sing it for the Music From The Home Front concert.

Tim Minchin: “’Carry You’ is about the bittersweet burden of loss. For me it’s very much about the fact that when you have lost someone, they’re not gone from your experience of the world.

“And that sometimes that’s great, and sometimes it feels heavy and you wish they weren’t so present and it wasn’t so burdensome.”

‘Standing With You’

Artist: Guy Sebastian

Writers: Guy Sebastian / Jamie Hartman* / Greg Holden^

Publishers: Universal Music Publishing / Mushroom Music* / Warner Chappell Music

Background: Guy Sebastian and James Hartman used their personal experiences of friends going through depression and mental health issues to write the song which explores just being there for somebody.

Guy Sebastian: “I wrote this with Jamie Hartman and Greg Holden who are just amazing writers.

“It’s a pretty simple thing, there’s obviously a lot of attention to mental health in this song.

“It’s a very important message, especially from the onset of the pandemic.

“People are already alone, they’re already isolated and suffering and the pandemic made it so much worse.

“To be honest I think this song is more about not having the answers and just being there for somebody.”

‘Everybody Rise’

Artist: Amy Shark

Writers: Amy Shark / Joel Little*

Publishers: Mushroom Music / Sony Music Publishing*

Background: Released as the lead single from Amy Shark’s second album Cry Forever, it won her an ARIA for Best Pop Release in 2020.

Joel Little: “The four words that describe ‘Everybody Rise’ are…”

Amy Shark: “Loving someone from afar.”

Joel: “Honest, raw, absolute banger.”

Amy: “I wrote a really rough blueprint of the song and Joel just gave it new life.

“He literally just turned around and within a minute turned the guitar chords into pizzicato strings.”

Joel: “The pizzicato strings thing, that was the first thing that popped into my mind.

“She was playing it on guitar, and pizzicato strings have a certain emotion to them that I really felt really fit with what she was saying.”

The five Song of the Year contenders were released this morning (March 30) as part of an announcement of the 2021 APRA Music Awards nominees.

They include Tash Sultana, Tones And I, Don Walker, Morgan Evans, Angus Stone, Jessica Mauboy, Dom Dolla and The Teskey Brothers.

The full list of nominees is available here.

The APRA Awards are held on Wednesday April 28 at the Sydney International Convention Centre Grand Ballroom.


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