‘We can’t believe it’: King Stingray take top honours in the 2022 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition

Get the latest from Beat


‘We can’t believe it’: King Stingray take top honours in the 2022 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition

King Stingray
Credit: Sam Brumby
words by staff writer

Northeast Arnhem Land's King Stingray has emerged victorious in the highly esteemed 2022 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition.

The band’s electrifying track, Milkumana, co-written by childhood friends Roy Kellaway and Yirrŋa Gotjiringu Yunupingu, has secured them the coveted first place prize, as well as an additional third place prize for their song Camp Dog, earning them a total of $55,000 in cash prizes.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Renowned for their unique blend of “Yolŋu surf rock,” King Stingray has been making waves with their captivating music, which features lyrics in both English and Yolŋu Matha. Their undeniable talent has garnered them numerous accolades, including the prestigious Best Song award at the 2022 National Indigenous Music Awards.

Adding to their ever-growing list of achievements, Milkumana made an impressive entry into the triple j Hottest 100, securing the 56th spot. Furthermore, the song was shortlisted for the APRA Song of the Year 2022 and nominated for Most Performed Rock Work of the Year at this year’s APRA Music Awards.

“We can’t believe it, we are so over the moon to win the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition. It means so much to us, we really do believe what we are singing about and our songs tell a story and a message. We feel really lucky that we can share stories. The song ‘Milkumana’ is about leadership and the people we look up to and now, all of a sudden, we’ve become leaders in our community and that concept is just so amazing. We come from a small place and we’re singing about big things,” said Kellaway.

“Thanks so much for the love, we can’t believe it.”

Second place and $10,000 courtesy Banki Haddock Fiora goes to North Coast NSW breakthrough artist Budjerah for the breezy, soulful Ready for the Sky, which he wrote with acclaimed songwriter Ainslie Wills.

Head here for more information.