Olivia Newton-John, Kylie Minogue Celebrated In Australia Day Honors List

Olivia Newton-John
John Sciulli/Getty Images for G'Day USA

Olivia Newton-John attends the 2018 G'Day USA Black Tie Gala at InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown on Jan. 27, 2018 in Los Angeles. 

Pop legends Olivia Newton-John and Kylie Minogue, vocal group Human Nature and Universal Music Australia Classics and Jazz General Manager Cyrus Meher-Homji have been recognized in the Australia Day Honours.    

Newton-John, the Grease actor, Grammy winner and five-times Billboard 100 chart champion said she was “excited and delighted and honored” after she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), the highest award in the awards system, for her service to community health. “I am so proud to be an Aussie and this couldn’t have come at a better time,” says the artist, who is currently battling cancer for a third time.  

The “Physical” singer, who received a received an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 1979, was recognized for her “eminent service to community health, particularly for people living with cancer, through support for medical research, and as a songwriter and performer."  

Fellow ARIA Hall of Fame inductee and cancer survivor Kylie Minogue was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the General Division for "distinguished service to the performing arts as a national and international recording artist and entertainer," while Human Nature, comprising Andrew Tierney, his brother Michael and long-time friends Toby Allen and Phil Burton, received the Medal of the Order of Australia for their services to music. It’s a particularly special honor for the veteran act, which still calls Australia home despite relocating to Las Vegas a decade ago. Presently, the foursome is booked solid at The Venetian. playing doo-wop, Motown, soul and pop classics. “We are the proudest Aussies on the planet,” the bandmates write in a social media post. “We mention our love of our country every night in our Vegas show because Australia really is the lucky country. There is nothing better than our people, our beautiful land itself but most of all – the Aussie mateship, humor and at times naive will to just  'go and gettem'... which we have done so many times over the years. This mateship is our foundation."

Other music industry figures recognized for their endeavors include Bakehouse Studios and SLAM co-founders Helen Marcou and Quincy McLean, announced as Member (AM) in the General Division for "significant service to music”; classical music composer Elena Kats-Chernin (Officer of the Order of Australia); music retail veteran Barry Bull (OAM); while Tiddas singer Lou Bennett (Member of the Order of Australia) and Sherbet's Garth Porter were named as Member (AM) in the General Division.

Also, Universal Music Group's Classics & Jazz exec Cyrus Meher-Homji received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the performing arts, particularly through music. UMG chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge congratulated Meher-Homji for his award. “There are few people in Australia, or the world for that matter, who have done as much as Cyrus to advance jazz and classical music and bring these essential and important art forms to even greater audiences,” comments Grainge in a statement. “On behalf of all your colleagues at Universal Music, our heartfelt congratulations.”

Dutch classical crossover star André Rieu added: “After having searched for twenty years for someone in the vast world of record companies who would understand what I was doing, I can say that finally, in Australia, I found a real treasure named Cyrus Meher-Homji. Not only did he understand and love our music, but his unflagging dedication meant that our recordings dominated the top of the charts (and stayed there) and that we quickly developed an enormous audience for our music. So, dear Cyrus, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for us, wish you the very best and congratulate you on your well-deserved honor of the Medal of the Order of Australia.”

Also on the day, buzzy indigenous hip-hop artist Baker Boy (real name Danzal Baker) was named 2019’s Young Australian Of The Year.

A total of 1,127 awards were approved by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, representative of Queen Elizabeth II, and handed out on Australia Day, Jan. 26.

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