King Stingray wins the 18th annual Australian Music Prize, with the indie-rock outfit’s self-titled debut LP.
When their name was announced Wednesday (March 1) during a ceremony in Sydney, the Stingers, as they’re affectionately known in these parts, collected the $30,000 ($21,000) champion’s check, courtesy of major sponsor Soundmerch.
The AMP, which recognizes the outstanding creative Australian album of the past year, is the latest accolade for a band very much on the rise.
Hailing from the Northern Territory, the Stingers are the reigning Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist winner at the 2022 ARIA Awards, and five tracks from the album impacted the triple j Hottest 100 countdown, making it one of the most successful Australian debuts in the poll’s history.
Also, the record led double j’s 50 best albums of 2022 list, and the group got a shout-out from prime minister Anthony Albanese, who chose album cut “Get Me Out” as his favorite song of the year.
Growing up in Yirrkala in north-east Arnhem Land, founding members Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu (frontman) and Roy Kellaway (guitar) formed King Stingray with friends Dimathaya Burarrwanga (rhythm guitar backing vocals and yidaki), Campbell Messer (bass) and Lewis Stiles (drums) in 2019. Last year, the group welcomed Yidaki-master Yimila Gurruwiwi into the fold.
King Stingray’s Kellaway and Burarrwanga accepted the AMP at the Oxford Art Factory in central Sydney.
“We’re so unbelievably stoked to have won the 18th AMP,” they said. “We had so much fun making this record and we just hope that listeners can hear the joy that we had making it, as well as feel the joy for themselves.”
The lads beat out a shortlist of albums by the likes of Sampa The Great, Julia Jacklin, and Tasman Keith.
“It really means the world to us to hear people enjoying the album,” the Stingers said, as they went on to thank their supporters and professional network.
A limited edition vinyl repress of King Stingray (via Cooking Vinyl/The Orchard) is due out March 24, and is sure to be a hot item.
The AMP is modeled on Britain’s Mercury Music Prize and Canada’s Polaris Prize, with a longlist of 490 eligible Australian albums individually reviewed this year by a panel of music experts.
Genesis Owusu’s lauded collection Smiling With No Teeth won the prize last time.
The shortlist of the 18th Soundmerch AMP:
1300 – Foreign Language
Body Type – Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing’s Surprising
Camp Cope – Running With The Hurricane
Julia Jacklin – Pre Pleasure
King Stingray – King Stingray –WINNER
Laura Jean – Amateurs
Party Dozen – The Real Work
Sampa The Great – As Above, So Below
Tasman Keith – A Colour Undone