The recording industry’s flagship event also paid homage to Gurrumul, the late singer whose final album Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) (SFM/MGM) made history when it topped the ARIA Albums Chart, becoming the first album in an indigenous language to do so.
Gurrumul, who died in July 2017 at the age of 46, was posthumously awarded ?ARIAs for best male artist and best independent release, adding to the best world music album he won ahead of the big show.
5 Seconds Of Summer set the tone of the 32nd ARIA Awards with a curtain-raising performance of “Youngblood,” which led the ARIA Singles Chart for eight weeks earlier in the year. 5SOS also collected the night’s first award, the fan-voted best live act award, and the pop-rock four-piece made multiple trips to the podium, to receive song of the year and best group trophies.
Courtney Barnett made history when she became the first ever solo female artist to win the best rock album category, for her No. 2 ARIA Album Tell Me How You Really Feel, while Dean Lewis took out the public-voted best video honor for his hit “Be Alright,” which led the ARIA Singles Chart for five weeks. Electronic trio Pnau took out best dance release for “Go Bang,” becoming the first artist to win the category three times.
The night’s biggest cheers went out for Kasey Chambers, who, at 42, became the youngest female inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. The alt-country hero delivered an emotional speech which triggered tears and sniffles throughout the The Star Event Centre. When fellow Hall of Famer Paul Kelly read out a poem he wrote for her, there were few dry eyes to be seen.
Chambers also performed her powerful 2001 song “Not Pretty Enough” with support from Missy Higgins, Kate Miller-Heidke and Amy Sheppard and, during the induction, welcomed her family to the stage, whom she thanked for a lifetime of support and sound advice.
“The best advice my dad ever gave me was, just don’t be a dickhead. I know it doesn’t sound very profound,” she said, “but it’s been the best advice to follow. Seriously, you don’t need to be a dickhead to get ahead in this business, you really don’t. You don’t have to drag other people down to get to the top.”
Chambers also praised her mother as “the most inspiring woman I know. Over the years, she’s taught me that being a bitch doesn’t make you strong, and to be strong doesn’t make you a bitch.”
While the biggest acts in rock, pop and country owned the stage, there was no shortage action outside the venue. In the run up to the ceremony, meteorologists warned a low pressure system would bring heavy storms, strong winds and flash floods. They weren’t wrong, as Sydney’s average monthly rainfall was dumped in a matter of hours earlier in the day. Flights into the city were delayed and, as a precaution, Warner Music relocated its aftershow party to dry ground.
There was nothing soggy about the ARIAs performances, which featured British singers Rita Ora and George Ezra, and the event’s host Keith Urban, who closed the show with a mash-up of “Parallel Line” and was joined onstage by Amy Shark for a rendition of “The Fighter.”
See below for the full list of winners.
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 Presented By PPCA: 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)
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 5209)
(* public voted awards)