Vance Joy, Sia Furler, Lorde and Birds of Tokyo were among the big winners at the annual APRA Awards, held Monday night at Brisbane City Hall.
Melbourne-born singer-songwriter Vance Joy (real name James Keogh) took out the coveted song of the year and pop work of the categories for his international hit “Riptide.” APRAs glory continues a rapid rise for the artist who, in the space of a few hours in January, saw his joyful, ukulele-driven tune take the top spot on Australian radio network Triple J’s Hottest 100 poll and crack the U.K. top 10 for first time. "Riptide" is now closing-in on a million global sales.
Sia took out the prestigious songwriter of the year award in recognition of her writing for some of the biggest names in pop music in 2013, including Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Rihanna and Katy Perry. It’s the second successive year she's taken the trophy, a feat never before achieved. The camera-shy Adelaide-born artist nearly stole the show with her kooky acceptance video, in which her voice was dubbed over a male stand-in wearing a platinum wig. She thanked the Aussie artists who “taught me subconsciously how music should be” as she reeled off a long list that included Crowded House, Hoodoo Gurus, INXS, Icehouse, the Divinyls, Nick Cave and Men at Work, whose frontman Colin Hay performed on the night. Watch Sia's acceptance video below.
Perth-bred alternative rock outfit Birds of Tokyo took out the most played Australian work of 2013 and the rock work of the year categories for “Lanterns,” a song that has made an impression on U.S. airplay charts this year.
Also during the APRAs, New Zealand-based songwriters Ella Yelich-O’Connor -- otherwise known as Lorde -- and Joel Little took out the inaugural outstanding international achievement award. In her acceptance video, Lorde quipped, “sorry I couldn't be there but Joel is much funnier and more charismatic than I am.” And she went on to say the APRA honor was as gratifying as any of those already in her safekeeping, which include two Grammy Awards, a Silver Scroll, a Billboard Music Award and an ASCAP Pop Award.
For the second year straight, Wally De Backer -- aka Gotye -- and Luiz Bonfa won most performed Australian work overseas for “Somebody That I Used To Know” (featuring Kimbra). Gotye teased the audience with an acceptance video in which he was seemingly caught off guard whilst messing about on a retro toy synth. “Sorry I can't be with you, I'm back in 1986 working on some new music,” he said, before signing out with ”see you in a few decades.”
Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and Clifford Harris took out the international work of year award with their hit, “Blurred Lines.”
Meanwhile, Lee Kernaghan, Colin Buchanan and Garth Porter won country work of the year with "Flying With The King," Kernaghan’s personal tribute to the late Slim Dusty. Multiple ARIA Award winning electronic producer Harley Stretton – aka Flume – took out dance work of the year for "Holdin’ On," which takes lyrical inspiration from Otis Redding’s "Can't Turn You Loose" while Bliss n Eso’s collab with Bluejuice (with co-writer Alexander Burnett) on "Act Your Age" took out the urban work of the year category.
Prolific songwriter Louis Schoorl won breakthrough songwriter of the year in recognition of a hot stretch in 2013 during which he wrote or co-wrote 88 songs and collaborated with such acts as 360 and Daniel Johns, Taylor Henderson and Jessica Mauboy.
John Butler’s "Only One" won blues & roots work of the year, marking the fourth time he’s won this category.
The APRAs was held in Brisbane for the first time its 32-year history. The city and its artists was a celebratory theme that resonated across the show. Members of homegrown greats Powderfinger were in the audience, local artists Kate Miller-Heidke and Go-Betweens songwriter Robert Forster presented awards, and Brisbane artists Sheppard, Ben Salter and Megan Washington were among the line-up of performers.
The biggest cheers of the night went out to another local artist Lindy Morrison, drummer with the Go-Betweens. Morrison was feted with the Ted Albert Award For Outstanding Services To Australian Music, in recognition of her stellar work with her critically-acclaimed group, and for her tireless advocacy for artists and people working in the music industry. Morrison’s commitments to the music industry are many and varied. She’s the National Welfare Coordinator of music industry charity Support Act Limited, and she has sat on the board of Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) for 20 years, representing artists. Her work includes advocating for copyright law reform, and she teaches copyright at Sydney Institute Music. She's also author of the short workbook and video “Australian Women in Rock and Pop Music,” and she’s musical director of community band The Junction House Band.
Go-Betweens bandmate Amanda Brown inducted Morrison, describing her as a “dear friend and musical comrade” and dropped the f-bomb – “feminism” – while talking of Morrison’s trailblazing work as a female drummer. “She was the first woman drummer I saw, playing ‘Cattle and Cane’ on ‘Countdown’,” she recalled.
Morrison becomes a member of an elite club which includes AC/DC’s Angus & Malcolm Young, promoter Michael Chugg, veteran singer-songwriter Paul Kelly, Pink’s manager Roger Davies, Sony Music Australia’s longtime chairman/CEO Denis Handlin and last year’s honorees, the Seekers.
Morrison teamed up with Brown, Go-Betweens bandmate Robert Vickers and members of Big Scary for a performance of “People Say,” the Go-Betweens' second single, from 1979.
For the final act of the night, local singer Carol Lloyd led a tribute to the late Jim Keays with a performance of Master’s Apprentices’ 1971 hit “Because I Love You”.
From next year, organizers announced, the annual APRA Awards will be held in March during the busy summer touring season.