News November 28, 2017

ARIA awards show a dazzling display of Australian music’s sound and age diversity

ARIA awards show a dazzling display of Australian music’s sound and age diversity

There weren’t as many female winners as expected, especially where the multi-nominated Jessica Mauboy and Tash Sultana were concerned.

Nevertheless, the 2017 ARIA Awards still managed to convey the vitality and age diversity of Australian music in 2017.

It was obvious from the tone of the acceptance speeches from three of the main winners.

Just a year ago, Amy Shark was a video editor for the Gold Coast Titans and toting a large chip on her shoulder because the music industry wasn’t rushing to embrace her music.

Last night, post-‘Adore’ and her first international foray, Shark nervously admitted she was overwhelmed at how her record company and management were working “brilliantly:” to move her up the escalator.

Gang of Youths also had a slow fuse to their start. Singer Dave Le’aupepe said, “You have no idea how important it is for us to win this because no one gave a shit about us for so long.”

But Gang of Youths have moved past that point now.

But they are still sorting out how elements of their spirituality, their Pacific and Jewish backgrounds and sense of justice fit in with their music.

A.B. Original have evolved well past that.

Reclaim Australia was a record made to show the indigenous community of how it was easy to break stereotypes, to use their centuries-only heritage to create a fire that proved what indigenous artists could achieve musically and politically in modern day Australia. 

“We didn’t expect to win these awards,” Briggs said early in the night. He later admitted that one of the record’s intentions was to “upset all those rednecks.”

On the other end of the spectrum were Paul Kelly and Daryl Braithwaite, exceptional veterans who remain major drawcards because they’re still having fun with, and being passionate about, what they do. 

Kelly opined that the reason he got Best Male was that he surrounded himself with the best people.

Braithwaite, as he was being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, recounted the ups of his career, first with Sherbet (“more hits than a heavyweight boxer”, Jimmy Barnes said), a stumble early in his solo career when he had to work in a road gang to feed his kid, and then up again when the solo career finally took off with ‘Days Go By’ and ‘Horses’.

He offered a piece of advice to those who will follow behind him and his generation of artists: “Listen to the voice inside your head and take a chance. It really is worth it.”

Last night when the various generations met onstage, the results were sublime.

A.B. Original, Dan Sultan and the Dungala Childre’s Choir joined Paul Kelly for ‘Dumb Things’, adding raps that turned an intense self-confessional into a sneering monster. 

Similarly, Braithwaite’s rendition of ‘Horses’ gained an ambience with its input from Guy Sebastian and Vera Blue.

The ARIA awards have long suffered from walking the tightrope of working out how much it was a music show and how much it was a television show. 

Last night’s event was certainly one of the best looking ARIAs, especially with the production values utilised for performances by Lorde on ‘Green Light’, Pnau on ‘Chameleon’ and the Jessica Muboy/Peking Duk mash-up of their respective hits ‘Fallin’’ and ‘Stranger’.

Thankfully though, it also had its moments of being a nasty rock show. First when Gang of Youths kept the throttle on during ‘What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out? 

Then when the night ended with a Barnes-led star-studded rendition of ACDC’s ‘High Voltage’ as a farewell to Malcolm Young (whose funeral was earlier in the day), with all amps suitably turned up to 11 and the entire sold out audience at The Star Event Centre in Sydney up on its feet.

This year the ARIs honoured music teachers.

Next year, given the number of artists who thanked their road crews during their acceptance speeches, maybe there should be an acknowledgement of road crews’ place in Australian music.



Apple Music Album Of The Year

Gang Of Youths for Go Farther In Lightness (Mosy Recordings/Sony Music Australia) .


Best Male Artist 

Paul Kelly


Best Female Artist



Best Dance Release

Pnau for ‘Chameleon’ (etcetc Music)


Best Group

Gang Of Youths


Breakthrough Artist 

Amy Shark


Best Pop Release

Amy Shark for Night Thinker (Wonderlick Recording Company/ Sony)


Best Urban Album

A.B. Original for Reclaim Australia (Golden Era Records/Universal Music Australia)


Best Independent Release 

A.B. Original for Reclaim Australia (Golden Era Records/Universal Music Australia)


Best Rock Album

Gang Of Youths for Go Farther In Lightness (Mosy Recordings/Sony Music Australia)


Best Adult Contemporary Album

Paul Kelly for Life Is Fine (EMI)


Best Country Album

Kasey Chambers for Dragonfly (Essence Music/Warner Music Australia)


Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album

Northlane for Mesmer (UNFD/Warner Music Australia)


Best Blues & Roots Album

All Our Exes Live In Texas for When We Fall (ABC Music/Universal Music)


Best Children’s Album

Jimmy Barnes for Och Aye the G’Nu! (ABC Music/Universal)


Best Video 

Bliss N Eso for ‘Moments (feat. Gavin James)’ (Illusive)


Best Australian Live Act



Apple Music Song Of The Year

Peking Duk for ‘Stranger (feat. Elliphant)’ (Sony Music Australia)


Best International Artist

Harry Styles


Music Teacher of the Year

Renee McCarthy (Woodcroft College, Morphett Vale SA)




Producer Of The Year 

Gang Of Youths and Adrian Breakspear for Gang Of Youths’ Go Farther In Lightness (Mosy Recordings/Sony Music)


Engineer Of The Year 

Steven Schram for Paul Kelly’s Life Is Fine (EMI)


Best Cover Art

Peter Salmon-Lomas for Paul Kelly’s Life Is Fine (EMI)




Best Classical Album

Slava Grigoryan for Bach: Cello Suites Volume I (ABC Classics/Universal Music)


Best Jazz Album

James Morrison, BBC Concert Orchestra, Keith Lockhart, Harry Morrison & William Morrison for The Great American Songbook (ABC Jazz/Universal Music)


Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show Album

Nigel Westlake & Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with Joseph Tawadros, Slava Grigoryan & Lior for Ali’s Wedding (ABC Classics/Universal Music)


Best World Music Album

Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp for Songs of the Latin Skies (KIN Music/Universal Music)


Best Comedy Release

John Clarke for Clarke’s Classics (ABC Classics/Universal Music)

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