Christine Anu was a double winner at the second annual Australian Women In Music Awards on Wednesday night (Oct. 9), while Joy Mckean, Mojo Juju, Alice Skye, Caroline Almonte, Ange McCormack and Katie Noonan also took home prizes.
Anu, the “My Island Home” singer, collected AWMAs for artistic excellence and diversity in music award, while Fremantle, Western Australia photographer and music video pro Tashi Hall was the night’s other multiple-winner, earning the photographer and film maker awards.
In a video tribute shot backstage at a recent concert, a teary Anu said she “I’m humbled to be recognized” with the diversity award. “This very thing is about opening doors for the next generation.”
The hotly-contested songwriter category was taken out by Mojo Juju for her critically-lauded third album Native Tongue. The politically-charged artist paid homage to her fellow-finalists. “I would not have had the courage to write an album like Native Tongue without Ngaiire and Thelma (Plum) in our industry,” she said.
Now in its second year, the AMWAs shines a light on women across all facets and intersects of the music industry. Trailblazing music executive and AWMAs founding executive director & executive producer Vicki Gordon addressed the audience at Brisbane’s Powerhouse: “Tonight you are in the right place….you are with your people, welcome.”
The event’s mission and the two-days of information-rich content programming built around it, Gordon added, was to “lead with generosity.”
The Seekers’ singer Judith Durham was inducted into the AWMAs Honour Roll, joining Helen Reddy in the special circle, while Joy Mckean received the lifetime achievement award and delivered one of the night’s most entertaining speeches, during which she paid tribute to her late husband Slim Dusty. “I never thought it would happen. An awards night for us,” she laughed. “I never thought I’d see the day.”
The so-called “grand lady of Australian country music,” Mckean is a great Australian songwriter and bush balladeers, writing many of Dusty’s best-known hits. She’s also one of the founders of the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA).
“I’m so pleased with the progress of country music in Australia and the fact women are playing such a big part in it,” she enthused. ”Women now are writing what they want to write and they’re singing it loud and clear.”
Also on the night, Alice Skye took out the AWMA emerging artist award; legendary singer Katie Noonan, who recently completed a stint as artistic director for Queensland Music Festival, nabbed the creative leadership award; and one-time X Factor Australia champ, Eurovision rep and philanthropist Dami Im took home the humanitarian award.
All told, 15 AWMAs were handed out on the night, including three new award categories for excellence in classical music, music journalism and image making, with winners selected by a panel of industry professionals.
Performers included Renée Geyer, Katie Noonan, Clare Bowditch and Ngaiire.
2019 AUSTRALIAN WOMEN IN MUSIC AWARD WINNERS
The Calile Hotel Artistic Excellence Award
Scenestr Creative Leadership Award
Ssi Diversity In Music Award
Awma Emerging Artist Award
Awma Excellence In Classical Music Award
Sun Studios Excellence In Image Making Award
Canon Australia Film Maker Award
Cicada International Humanitarian Award
AWMA Lifetime Achievement Award
Joy Mckean, OAM
Frontier Touring & Chugg Entertainment Live Production Award
Twitter Australia Music Journalist Award
AWMA Music Leadership Award
Canon Australia Music Photographer Award
APRA AMCOS Songwriter Award
Goa Studio Production Award
AWMA Honour Roll