Tame Impala, Tones And I, The Kid LAROI Win Big at 2021 APRA Awards

Kevin Parker, Tame Impala
Kevin Parker via Getty Images

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala poses for The 2021 GRAMMY Awards on March 14, 2021 in Fremantle, Western Australia.

SYDNEY, Australia -- Tame Impala honcho Kevin Parker, Tones And I, The Kid LAROI and Midnight Oil were among the big winners Wednesday night (April 28) at the 2021 APRA Music Awards.

The Kid LAROI is growing up before our very eyes. The teenage, Sydney born-and-raised singer, songwriter and producer earned his first APRA Award nomination this year, becoming the youngest nominee of his crop. He converted that chance into gold, taking out breakthrough songwriter of the year.

It's the latest industry accolade for an artist who's apparently on a rocket to the top. LAROI (real name Charlton Howard) recently set the record as the youngest ever leader (age 17) on the ARIA Albums Chart with F*ck Love (Savage). The mixtape also peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, he's the MTV Push Global artist for the month of April, and he performed his hit "Without You" last weekend on the televised concert Music From the Home Front.

The Kid accepted his award with a taped speech from his current base, Los Angeles. "This is crazy. Thank you so much APRA for the breakthrough songwriter award," he said, before acknowledging his friends, supporters and "last but not least, my fans from Australia. I love you very, very much and can’t wait to come back. I’ll see you soon."

Kevin Parker rarely misses out at an awards night, and Wednesday night was no exception. The Western Australian studio wizard took songwriter of the year for Tame Impala's fourth studio album, The Slow Rush.

Following its February 2020 release, The Slow Rush started at No. 1 on the Australian chart, and went in at No. 3 in both the U.S. (tying a career high) and U.K.

Fellow uber-producer Mark Ronson had the honors of announcing the win. Paying tribute to Parker's work, Ronson said Tame Impala's rich and dreamy records captured all the things he loves the most.

The "sonics and the moods and the atmosphere" of Tame Impala's music is the immediate ear candy, and with "The Less I Know the Better," Parker delivered "one of the most iconic basslines of the past 20 years," Ronson said. Put all that magic to one side, and it's really all about the songs.

Parker, Ronson admitted, "really is such a fantastic songwriter. It’s great to see him getting the recognition he deserves tonight, so thank you APRA for having me."

Also on the night, Tones And I was a double winner. The "Dance Monkey" star scooped up most performed pop work and most performed Australian work for "Never Seen the Rain," lifted from her debut EP, The Kids Are Coming. 

Midnight Oil broke a 17-year drought in 2020 with the release of "Gadigal Land," a pull-no-punches recount of what happened in Australia's most populous city, and across the country, since Europeans settled here in 1788. On Wednesday night in Sydney, the politically-charged song won the coveted APRA Song of the Year, a peer-voted category.

Produced by longtime Oils collaborator Warne Livesey, “Gadigal Land” features assists from vocalists Kaleena Briggs, Bunna Lawrie, ARIA Award winner Dan Sultan and a lyrical section penned and performed by Gadigal poet Joel Davison.

It appeared on The Makarrata Project, a mini-album of collaborations with Indigenous artists, recorded in late 2019 after the band completed a European tour. The EP proved to be the last with Oils bass player Bones Hillman, who died at 62, succumbing to cancer just hours after ARIA published the weekly albums chart that showed The Makarrata Project at No. 1.

The Oils have an imposing collection of industry awards. They were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006; their sixth album Diesel and Dust was determined as the No. 1 in the 2010 compendium 100 Best Australian Albums; and they're recipients of the prestigious Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music.

In a break from tradition, the Ted Albert Award was bestowed to not one but two great creators.

Helen Reddy was posthumously recognized with the award for 2020. Across her career, Reddy notched 20 career entries on the Hot 100, with three No. 1s, including the feminist anthem "I Am Woman." She also chalked up 24 entries on the Adult Contemporary airplay chart, with eight of those topping the tally and, during her lifetime, shifted 25 million albums.

The Melbourne native was intended to receive the plaudit last year, but those plans were shelved when COVID-19 forced organizers to pull the plug on a live event and pivot to a shortened virtual ceremony.

Joy McKean, Australia's "Queen of Country," was on hand to accept the 2021 honor, presented by her children Anne and David Kirkpatrick. McKean, 91, blazed a trail for generations of homegrown country artists over a career spanning 70-plus years.

Other APRAs winners include The Rubens (most performed alternative work with "Live in Life"); Morgan Evans (most performed country work for "Diamonds" which he co-wrote with Evan Bogart and Chris de Stefano); and, in a pair of new categories, Filipo Faaoloii (aka Youngn Lipz) won most performed hip-hop/rap work for "Misunderstood"; and the Teskey Brothers nabbed most performed R&B/soul work for "Rain."

In years past, Michael Gudinski made the APRA Awards a happy hunting ground, often snagging multiple awards with his company, Mushroom Music Publishing. In a special tribute to the late Mushroom Group chairman, he was remembered with a performance by Jimmy Barnes and Josh Teskey, who teamed up on "I Remember When I Was Young." The classic rock song was written by Matt Taylor of Australian blues band Chain, a band that Gudinski managed in the early phases of his music career.

The 2021 APRA Music Awards were held before an industry audience at the Sydney International Convention Centre on Darling Harbour, with Julia Zemiro, Ziggy Ramo and Georgia Mooney as hosts.

The official APRA AMCOS YouTube channel is streaming highlights from the gala.

2021 APRA Music Awards winners:

Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year
Title: Gadigal Land
Artist: Midnight Oil ft Dan Sultan, Joel Davison, Kaleena Briggs & Bunna Lawrie
Writers: Rob Hirst / Joel Davison / Bunna Lawrie
Publishers: Sony Music Publishing / Universal Music Publishing

Songwriter of the Year
Kevin Parker
Publisher: Sony Music Publishing
Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year
Charlton Howard pka The Kid LAROI
Publisher: Sony Music Publishing

2021 Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music
Joy McKean

2020 Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music
Helen Reddy

Most Performed Australian Work
Title: Never Seen The Rain
Artist: Tones And I
Writer: Toni Watson
Publisher: Kobalt Music Publishing

Most Performed Alternative Work
Title: Live in Life
Artist: The Rubens
Writers: Scott Baldwin / Elliott Margin / Sam Margin / Zaac Margin / William Zeglis
Publishers: Mushroom Music obo Ivy League Music

Most Performed Blues & Roots Work
Title: Over Drinking Over You
Artist: Busby Marou
Writers: Thomas Busby / Jeremy Marou / Ivy Adara / Jon Hume / Lindsey Jackson
Publishers: Sony Music Publishing/ Kobalt Music Publishing / Native Tongue Music Publishing

Most Performed Country Work
Title: Diamonds
Artist: Morgan Evans
Writers: Morgan Evans / Evan Bogart / Chris de Stefano
Publishers: Warner Chappell Music / Kobalt Music Publishing / Sony Music Publishing

Most Performed Dance Work
Title: Rushing Back
Artist: Flume feat. Vera Blue
Writers: Harley Streten / Celia Pavey / Eric Dubowsky / Sophie Cates
Publishers: Kobalt Music Publishing obo Future Classic / Universal Music Publishing / Kobalt Music Publishing / Sony Music Publishing

Most Performed Hip Hop / Rap Work
Title: Misunderstood
Artist: Youngn Lipz
Writer: Filipo Faaoloii
Most Performed R&B / Soul Work
Title: Rain
Artist: The Teskey Brothers
Writers: Josh Teskey / Sam Teskey / Liam Gough / Brendan Love
Publishers: Mushroom Music obo Ivy League Music

Most Performed Pop Work
Title: Never Seen The Rain
Artist: Tones And I
Writer: Toni Watson
Publisher: Kobalt Music Publishing

Most Performed Rock Work
Title: Getting The Band Back Together
Artist: Cold Chisel
Writer: Don Walker
Publisher: Sony Music Publishing

Most Performed Australian Work Overseas
Title: Be Alright
Artist: Dean Lewis
Writers: Dean Lewis / Jon Hume
Publishers: Kobalt Music Publishing obo Specific Music / Sony Music Publishing

Most Performed International Work
Title: Don’t Start Now
Artist: Dua Lipa
Writers: Dua Lipa / Caroline Ailin / Ian Kirkpatrick / Emily Schwartz
Publishers: Universal Music Publishing / BMG Rights Management / Warner Chappell Music / Kobalt Music Publishing

For more visit the APRA AMCOS website.