Women in Music 2018

Amy Shark, Sia, Paul Kelly Among Winners at 2018 APRA Music Awards

Suzi Pratt/WireImage
Sia performs at KeyArena on Sept. 29, 2016 in Seattle. 

Rising singer-songwriter Amy Shark, urban producer M-Phazes and veteran chart-topping acts Paul Kelly, Birds of Tokyo and Sia were among the big winners at the 2018 APRA Music Awards, held Tuesday night at Sydney’s International Convention Centre.

Paul Kelly, the master songwriter who in 2017 landed his first No. 1 album in a 40-year-plus career, claimed the coveted peer-voted APRA song of the year for “Firewood and Candles,” which he co-wrote with The Ferrets’ Billy Miller.

Meanwhile, indigenous hip-hop outfit A.B. Original added the APRA songwriter of the year award to a heaving trophy cabinet which already includes the Australian Music Prize, Triple J’s J Award and a collection of ARIAs. Briggs and Trials, the group’s core members, become the first hip-hop artists to receive the honor, in recognition of their celebrated debut album Reclaim Australia.

Canberra electronic act Peking Duk took out the most played Australian work and dance work of the year for "Stranger," written by Adam Hyde, Reuben Styles, Kaelyn Behr (Styalz), Elliphant, Daniel Goudie and Ashley Milto, while M-Phazes, who along with Illy, Grant Michaels and Suzanne Shin, won for urban work of the year award for “Catch 22” (performed by Illy feat. Anne-Marie). M-Phazes (real name Mark Landon ) also claimed pop work of the year for his collaboration with Amy Shark on her breakthrough hit "Adore," which last year came in at No. 2 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 poll. 

Perth alternative rock outfit Birds of Tokyo flew off with a fifth APRA as “Brace” won for rock work of the year, while Sia took her career APRAs tally to nine (including three successive songwriter of the year wins) with the most played Australian work overseas award for her 2016 Billboard Hot 100 chart leader, “Cheap Thrills.”

As previously reported, Ed Sheeran and co-writers Kevin Briggs, Kandi Burruss, Tameka Cottle, Steven McCutcheon and John McDaid scored the international work of the year for “Shape of You” and veteran rockers Midnight Oil accepted the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music.

Established in 1982, the Australasian Performing Right Association's annual songwriters' ceremony is one of the Australian music industry's most treasured events, a kindred of Britain's Ivor Novello Awards. 

Also during the night, APRA chair Jenny Morris paid tribute to the outgoing APRA AMCOS CEO Brett Cottle, who leaves the organization this June after more than 40 years’ service, 28 of those as CEO.

Cottle received two standing ovations during his own speech, during which he spoke of the “surreal and extraordinary miracle” that has been his career, The Industry Observer reports. 

“This wonderful career that I’ve been blessed with has brought me to a situation where I’ve had dinner with Mike Stoller and I’ve hung out with Lamont Dozier… and this incredible trip has allowed me to represent and advocate on behalf of Courtney Barnett and Kasey Chambers and Archie Roach and Grant McLennan and Nigel Westlake -- and an endless list of my heroes – some of whom have become dear friends of mine,” he said. “So you’ll understand what a surreal and extraordinary miracle it seems to me.”

For the full list of winners, visit apraamcos.com.au.