Courtney Barnett Wins Big at Australia's Independent Music Awards

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Clusterfest
Courtney Barnett performs onstage at the 2019 Clusterfest on June 22, 2019 in San Francisco, Calif.

With the two top prizes, Courtney Barnett was the outright champion Thursday night (July 25) at the AIR Awards in Adelaide, the annual celebration of Australia’s independent music community. 

The singer-songwriter won for best independent artist for the second time in her career, and shared the best independent album or EP trophy for her second full-length set, Tell Me How You Really Feel, which last year hit No. 2 in Australia and No. 9 in the U.K. 

Gurrumul jointly-received the best independent album or EP for Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow), his posthumous release which made history in 2018 as the first LP in an indigenous language to lead the ARIA Albums Chart.

Also during the event at Freemasons Halls, Mojo Juju’s APRA song of the year-nominated “Native Tongue” took the AIR Award for best singer, rising singer G-Flip (real name Georgia Flipo) won for breakthrough independent artist of the year, while B Wise, Beccy Cole, Emily Wurramara, DZ Deathrays, Confidence Man, What So Not, Jonathan Zwartz and others collected silverware.

Melbourne-based Chapter Music was named best independent label, a win that comes with a A$20,000 ($13,800) check courtesy of ticketing specialist Moshtix. And royalty audit and accounting expert Gerarda McKenna received the outstanding achievement award, a new category that recognizes a significant and lasting contribution to the Australian independent music community and comes with a $5,000 ($3,400) cash prize to be used for further business and professional development, thanks to the independent rights agency Merlin.   

“It was great to celebrate the success of the Australian Independent music sector in Adelaide, last night,” comments AIR GM, Maria Amato. "We congratulate all the award recipients and thank the South Australian Government for their continued support as well as our valued supporting partners.” 

Trade body AIR organizes the awards, now in its 13th year, and the Indie-Con Australia Conference, held July 25 and 26 at Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen.

2019 AIR Awards winners

Best Independent Label
Chapter Music

Best Independent Artist
Courtney Barnett

Best Independent Album Or EP
Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
Gurrumul – Djarimirri

Best Independent Single
Mojo Juju – “Native Tongue”

Breakthrough Independent Artist Of The Year
G Flip

Best Independent Hip Hop Album
B Wise – “Area Famous”

Best Independent Country Album
Beccy Cole – “Lioness”

Best Independent Blues And Roots Album
Emily Wurramara – “Milyakburra”

Best Independent Hard Rock, Heavy Or Punk Album
Dz Deathrays – “Bloody Lovely”

Best Independent Dance/Electronica Album Or Ep
Confidence Man – “Confident Music For Confident People”

Best Independent Dance, Electronica Or Club Single
What So Not  – “Beautiful (Feat. Winona Oak)”

Best Independent Jazz Album
Jonathan Zwartz  – “Animarum”

Best Independent Classical Album
Grigoryan Brothers/Adelaide Symphony Orchestra/Benjamin Northey – “Bach Concertos”

Outstanding Achievement Award Supported By Merlin
Gerarda McKenna


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.