Gotye was the big winner Monday night at the 30th annual Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Awards in Sydney, where he collected a hat-trick of awards including the night’s top prize, for song of the year.
The artist’s unbeatable smash “Somebody That I Used To Know” (featuring Kimbra) also took out gongs for songwriter of the year and most-played Australian work.
Gotye (real name Wally de Backer) was on hand to collect his spoils. “I’m genuinely surprised,” he said on receiving the most-played award. “The song’s been played a lot, I know. I was starting to get self-conscious.”
The country work of the year award pitted husband and wife against one another. Shane Nicholson won it, for his song “Famous Last Words.” And he took the opportunity to rub it in to his wife and collaborator, Kasey Chambers, whose own song “Beautiful Mess” had been in the running. “I’m lucky to have one of these at home,” he said of his trophy. “But I’ve always wanted one just with my name on it.” He then thanked Chambers, his “beautiful wife for not taking this one off me.”
“Somebody,” which carries a sample from Luiz Bonfa’s song Seville, has more than 230 million hits on YouTube and has sold upwards of five million copies globally. The track has peaked on the singles charts of 12 countries, including lengthy stretches at the top in the U.S. and U.K. Stateside, the song recently topped-out nine charts, the first time such a feat had been achieved.
Also on the night, Yusuf Islam – formerly Cat Stevens – presented five-time ARIA Award winning folk rockers Boy & Bear with the APRA breakthrough songwriter of the year trophy. Newcomers Busby Marou took out the blues & roots work of the year award for “Biding My Time.”
Alternative rockers Birds of Tokyo won for rock work of the year with “Wild at Heart” and British-born Marvin Priest took out the urban work of the year with “Own This Club.”
Veteran rockers AC/DC again took out the category for most played work overseas, with “Highway to Hell”. LMFAO’s giant international dance hit was named international work of the year, while Australian club foursome Potbelleez grabbed the dance work of the year trophy, for “From the Music.”
The APRAs has a unique format where the songs nominated in the song of the year get a makeover by other well-known artists. The biggest number of the night, Gotye’s “Somebody,” was covered by legendary Australian artists Tina Arena and Tex Perkins, with Perkins performing Kimbra’s lines. Songstress Kate Miller-Heidke stole the stage when she tackled the novelty track, “You Should Consider Having Sex With a Bearded Man.”
The evening started with a tribute to the recently-passed Robin Gibb. Local artist Bob Evans delivered a rendition of “I Started A Joke,” while the big screens carried footage of the late Bee Gee.
Also on the night, celebrated talent agent Mary Lopez received the Ted Albert Award, a major-league trophy which recognizes the recipient’s contribution in shaping and developing the Australian music landscape. Chosen by the APRA board of writer and publisher directors, Lopez joins an elite circle of music industry players which includes Michael Chugg, Roger Davies, Denis Handlin, Paul Kelly and the late Jimmy Little.