From Youngbloods to Rainbow Children: 2018 ARIA Awards a showstopping showcase of Australian music
‘Time in a bottle’, a song lyric went. Last night’s ARIA awards at the Star in Sydney showed how true that phrase is when it comes to how fast pop music moves.
Amy Shark only began commercially recording in 2016 but walked away with four trophies, including prestigious album of the year.
“I really really wanted this,” she confessed.
“Not just for me but my whole team, because there’s so much that has gone into this because everyone believed in me and let me go away and write an album which was dangerous but they did it.”
It is still all fresh for Shark, whose winner speeches became more tearful as the weight of the night sank in.
Breakthrough artists are meant to be young – but in this case, it was 16-year old Ruel who quipped to the guests, “If anyone has a fake ID for the after parties, hit me up.”
Five Seconds of Summer, red-hot from a 53-date international tour (and seemingly joined by Sgt. Peppers) as they opened the show, later recalled during their song of the year win how Australia had witnessed them growing up since they were 16.
To paraphrase: We’re men now, we’re proud of what we’ve achieved and we’re proud of where we came from.
Yet for all the glitz and glamour and fast-paced and innocence, the two greatest – and poignant – moments were acknowledgements of two people whose honesty and integrity struck major chords with people around the world.
Kasey Chambers was inducted into the hall of fame, the youngest to date, with a powerful poetic message from Paul Kelly on the first night he met her.
Chambers too was affected by the sniffles as she recalled life from travelling the Nullarbor with the family band (“our whole world revolved around music, it was beautiful”), to writing ‘Not Pretty Enough’ about her determination to remain honest, to the night’s honour she never imagined would be accorded to her.
“The two things I have learnt in the music industry is to always be true to yourself and to find your tribe.
“If you find your real tribe, they’ll make sure you keep true to yourself.”
She also revealed that the best advice she ever got was from her father and mentor Bill Chambers: “Don’t be a dickhead”, as in stay on the ground and treat people properly.
Kasey admitted. “I still have days when I look in the mirror and think ‘am I not pretty enough’?
“ My answer now is ‘I don’t give a fuck!”
Missy Higgins, Kate Miller-Heidke and Amy Sheppard joined her for a heart-stopping ‘Not Pretty Enough’ before Chambers and her band nailed it with another rebellious song, ‘Ain’t No Little Girl’ delivered with such soulful abandon that it had the audience up on its feet.
Gurrumul, who passed away last July at 46 without experiencing the acclaim his ambitious Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) would receive, had four wins for the record.
Jessica Mauboy and Briggs from A.B Original paid a musical tribute, joined by Dr G’s daughter Jasmine Yunupingu and string section on a rendition of ‘Wulminda’.
Jasmine stated: “I am here representing my father and I would like to thank the ARIAs and the Yolngu people.
“He was a special person on to everyone he met and all he wanted was for people to like his music and Yolngu music and stories.”
Keith Urban, relaxed and laid back in a T-shirt, set the tone of the night with the observation “Music resonates because it’s the truth.”
He came up with a couple of zingers through the night.
In warning winners to be careful about the sharp pointy ends of the ARIA trophies: “They’re not the biggest pricks in the room but they are close.”
Another was: “Remember, the more drunk you get, the more talented we become.”
Urban was the only one to thank the road crew (the Star’s) and while triple j got many hand-on-the-hearts, nothing was said about agents, promoters, community radio or street press.
Unexpected presenter Bob Geldof, looking more like Moses with his white hair, couldn’t read the autocue and ad-libbed instead.
Sophie Monk good-naturedly huffed about how she hadn’t won an ARIA since her Bardot days and wondered why they couldn’t just make up a category that she could win.
Dean Lewis spotted the Nine Network TV crew on the red carpet and gushed about his days working with them.
Apple Music album of the year: Amy Shark – Love Monster (Wonderlick Recording Company
Best male artist: Gurrumul – Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) (SFM/MGM)
Best female artist: Amy Shark – Love Monster (Wonderlick Recording Company)
Best dance release: Pnau – Go Bang (etcetc Music)
Best group: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Youngblood (Capitol UK/EMI)
Breakthrough artist: Ruel – Dazed & Confused (RCA Records/Sony Music)
Best pop release: Amy Shark – Love Monster (Wonderlick Recording Company)
Best urban release: Hilltop Hoods – Clark Griswold (feat. Adrian Eagle) (Hilltop Hoods/Universal Music Australia)
Best independent release: Gurrumul – Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) (SFM/MGM)
Best rock album: Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel (Milk! Records/Remote Control Records)
Best adult contemporary album: Vance Joy – Nation Of Two (Liberation Records)
Best country album: Kasey Chambers & The Fireside Disciples – Campfire (Essence Group Entertainment. Marketed and distributed by Warner Music Australia Pty Ltd)
Best hard rock/ heavy metal album: Parkway Drive – Reverence (Resist Records/Cooking Vinyl Australia)
Best blues & roots album: Tash Sultana – Flow State (Lonely Lands Records/Sony Music)
Best original soundtrack or musical theatre cast album: Jimmy Barnes – Working Class Boy: The Soundtracks (BLOODLINES)
Best children’s album: Justine Clarke – The Justine Clarke Show! (ABC KIDS/Universal Music Australia)
PUBLIC VOTED AWARDS
Apple Music song of the year: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Youngblood (Capitol UK/EMI)
Best video: Dean Lewis – Be Alright (Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
Best Australian live act: .5 Seconds Of Summer – Meet You There Tour (Capitol UK/EMI)
Best international artist: Camila Cabello – Camila (Syco/Epic/Sony Music)
Music teacher of the year: Scott Maxwell (Grant High School, Mount Gambier SA)
2018 ARTISAN AWARDS
Best cover art: Caiti Baker for Gurrumul – Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow) (SFM/MGM)
Engineer of the year: Burke Reid For Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel (Milk! Records/Remote Control Records)
Producer of the year: Dann Hume & M Phazes for Amy Shark – I Said Hi (Wonderlick Recording Company)
2018 FINE ARTS AWARDS
Best classical album: Slava Grigoryan – Bach Cello Suites Volume II (ABC Classics/Universal)
Best jazz album: Jonathan Zwartz – Animarum (Jonathan Zwartz/Planet/MGM)
Best world album: Gurrumul – Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow (SFM/MGM)
Best comedy release: Bridie and Wyatt, Tonightly With Tom Ballard – Sex Pest (ABC Music/Universal)