The Music Victoria Awards celebrated the Victorian music communities huge achievements this year, despite facing one of their toughest times in history.
In a testament to the strength and diversity of Victorian’s thriving music scene, the star-studded winners of the 17th annual Music Victoria Awards have been revealed, with more than 20 acts nabbing a well-deserved prize following another incredibly gruelling year for artists.
Taking place as part of Melbourne Music Week at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Thursday night, the in-person ceremony (which was also live-streamed on Youtube and broadcast via Channel 31) revealed the winners of 16 industry-voted categories, and seven public-voted categories, as well as formally inducting the 2021 Hall of Fame inductees. Co-presented by RRR 102.7FM and PBS 106.7FM and MC’d by none other than Australian music industry veteran Myf Warhurst, these awards are an absolute stand-out celebration of the past 12 months of local music, and the sheer amount of nominees and awardees are indicative of the thriving local music industry in the area, which is certainly a cause for celebration.
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This year’s standout triumph – and only act to receive more than one award – is Emma Donovan & The Putbacks. The soul virtuosos took home three awards for Best Soul, Funk, R’n’B or Gospel Act, Best Group, and Best Album for their long-awaited and utterly powerful Crossover LP, winning a pool of prizes thanks to public-voting including a $5,000 media package from Plakkit and a $2,000 voucher for Yamaha gear.
The band were also one of the night’s captivating live performers, sharing the stage with fellow award winner Maple Glider who the public voted the year’s Best Breakthrough Act sponsored by Soundmerch and Bakehouse, as well as Kerryn Fields and Mindy Meng Wang x Tim Shiel, with Mindy taking out this year’s public-voted award for Best Musician sponsored by Yamaha.
In a truly massive feat and clear reflection of the industry’s resilience, half of the industry-voted winners in 2021 were first-time Award nominees including Female Wizard (Best Electronic Act), The Weeping Willows (Best Country Act), Candlesnuffer (Best Experimental or Avant-Garde Act), Dr. Colossus (Best Heavy Act), JahWise Productions (Best Reggae and Dancehall Act), CIVIC (Best Punk/Rock Act), Ajak Kwai (Best Intercultural Act) and Eliza Hull who took home the inaugural Arts Access Victoria Amplify Award (for Deaf and Disabled Acts) with $3000 cash from Arts Access Victoria and a rehearsal package from Bakehouse.
Other first-time wins in the industry categories included seven-time Awards nominee, DRMNGNOW who was crowned the year’s Best Hip Hop Act, Best Blues Act winners Dan Dinnen & Shorty, Best Folk Act winners Charm of Finches and the inaugural Best Pop Act winner Alice Skye.
Solo artist Allara was awarded the Archie Roach Foundation Award for Emerging Talent taking home $3000 cash thanks to the Foundation plus a Bakehouse rehearsal package, while 2019 winner Andrea Keller added 2021 Best Jazz Act to her winnings, and former multi-award winner Baker Boy received $3000 cash from Bendigo Bank for his Best Regional/Outer Suburban Act win.
Other notable achievements this year included Hiatus Kaiyote claiming the year’s Best Song for their 2021 single ‘Red Room’, previous award winner Sampa The Great voted the Best Solo Artist and Amyl and The Sniffers were awarded Best Live Act.
2021 Music Victoria Hall Of Fame inductee, Kylie Minogue accepted her induction via video message and was formally inducted by music journalist and podcast writer for LISTNR, Cameron Adams, while fellow 2021 inductee Pierre Baroni was presented his posthumous induction by close friend Ginger Light, PBS 106.7FM presenter Vince Peach and Australian Music Vault’s Olivia Jackson, with close friends Jimmy Barnes and Archie Roach sending in video messages in honour of his induction.
To top the evening off, Victorian Minister for Creative Industries, Danny Pearson announced a total of $6,500 of support for the 13 genre awards winners. Thanks to this additional support from the Victorian Government, 2021 marks the first Music Victoria Awards where every winner takes home a prize.
These awards are the follow up to the Industry Awards which honoured our struggling Victorian live music venues and Victoria’s best producers, venues, festivals and women in music back in October. Theatre Royal, Northcote Social Club and Isol-Aid Festival were among those to take home gold, alongside Charlotte Abroms taking out the Outstanding Woman in Music award.
Check the full list of winners below and open up your Spotify… these are the acts you NEED to know.
Music Victoria Awards Winners 2021 (industry-voted)
ARCHIE ROACH FOUNDATION AWARD FOR EMERGING TALENT (FOR FIRST NATIONS ACTS)
(prize: $3,000 cash from Archie Roach Foundation + rehearsal package from Bakehouse)
ARTS ACCESS VICTORIA AMPLIFY AWARD (FOR DEAF AND DISABLED ACTS)
(prize: $3,000 cash from Arts Access Victoria + rehearsal package from Bakehouse)
Eliza Hull – (Castlemaine)
BEST REGIONAL/OUTER SUBURBAN ACT
(prize: $3,000 cash from Bendigo Bank)
Baker Boy – (Ocean Grove)
BEST BLUES ACT
Dan Dinnen & Shorty
BEST COUNTRY ACT
The Weeping Willows
BEST ELECTRONIC ACT
BEST EXPERIMENTAL OR AVANT-GARDE ACT
BEST FOLK ACT
Charm of Finches
BEST HEAVY ACT
Dr. Colossus – (Surf Coast)
BEST HIP HOP ACT
DRMNGNOW – (Shepparton)
BEST INTERCULTURAL ACT
BEST JAZZ ACT
BEST POP ACT
Alice Skye – (Warrandyte)
BEST REGGAE AND DANCEHALL ACT
BEST PUNK/ROCK ACT
BEST SOUL, FUNK, R’N’B OR GOSPEL ACT
Emma Donovan & The Putbacks – (Castlemaine/Melbourne)
Music Victoria Awards Winners 2021 (public-voted)
(prize: $5,000 media package from Plakkit)
Emma Donovan & The Putbacks – Crossover – (Castlemaine/Melbourne)
(prize: $2,000 voucher for Yamaha gear)
Emma Donovan and The Putbacks – (Castlemaine/Melbourne)
(prize: $500 cash grant from Music Victoria)
Hiatus Kaiyote – Red Room
BEST SOLO ARTIST
(prize: $1,000 voucher for Yamaha gear)
Sampa the Great
BEST BREAKTHROUGH ACT
(prize: $1,000 value of custom-made merch from Soundmerch + rehearsal package from Bakehouse)
(prize: $1,000 voucher for Yamaha gear)
Mindy Meng Wang
BEST LIVE ACT
(prize: $3,000 outdoor billboard package from Civic Outdoor)
Amyl and The Sniffers
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
More info via musicvictoria.com.au