Sampa The Great becomes first act to win Australian Music Prize twice
She becomes the only artist in AMP’s 15-year history to claim the award more than once, after winning AMP in 2017 with debut record Birds And The BEE9.
In addition to taking out the prestigious award following the release of her acclaimed sophomore album The Return, Sampa’s bank balance grows by $30,000 in prize money today.
She was up against some stiff competition for the highly-coveted award, including Julia Jacklin’s Crushing, Thelma Plum’s Better In Blak and Amyl & The Sniffers self-titled LP.
The Return was chosen by the panel of 48 judges including acclaimed Australian artists, well-renowned journalists, retailers and programmers.
Sampa The Great wins the 2019 Australian Music Prize. Photo by Barun Chatterjee.
“I want to thank the AMP for recognising the music and stories behind The Return,” said Sampa The Great after learning of her history-making triumph.
“[The album] was not written for radio play or commercial appeal,” she added. “It was written to bring to light the journey of a person who began her career in a country far away from home.
“It was to bring to light the sense of displacement felt in that journey and in a global sense throughout the world. It allowed me to tell my full story – without having it told for me.
“I thank the AMP for looking at solely the music and judging only that. As in this day and age it seems that is not the norm.”
In what organisers defined as a “serious and robust process”, the judges collaborated across the year to compile the long-list before heavily debating the AMP shortlist, and eventually finalists.
The final meeting was held in Melbourne last Thursday, where a selection of the judging panel met to select the last year’s recipient.
“This year we had over 400 albums that met the eligibility criteria for the award,” said Australian Music Prize director Scott Murphy, “which is a truly unbelievable nod to the amazing body of work being produced by Australian musicians in just the past twelve months.”
“Although it was an extremely hard decision to make, with so many amazing albums on the finalist list this year, we couldn’t be happier to award the prize to Sampa The Great.
“The Return is a truly important record that will no doubt be held up as one of the all-time great bodies of work, for years to come.”