Haiku Hands, Tkay Maidza, Jaguar Jonze and Miiesha are among the first five winners of the Levi’s Music Prize, which has been reimagined this year to spread the cheer to more Australian and New Zealand musicians during the health crisis.
The winning acts all pocket A$4,500 ($2,960) cash, as will The Beths, who become the first New Zealand act to share in the prize which has been redesigned this year as the Levi’s Music Relief Fund.
Now in its fourth year, the quarterly honor is said to be the largest single music prize in Australasia, and is typically awarded to those artists that have built “significant initial career momentum” through their performances at the annual Bigsound summit and showcase event, but who still require a cash injection.
Across 2020, A$45,000 ($29,600) in cash will be split between 10 artists, with each individual also receiving an online mental health support package from The Indigo Project and a customized digital upskilling course from “Blocks” by Bolster.
The much-needed funds will enable winners from ANZ to change focus from international touring to national projects, and support skills development and well-being, a statement reads.
Levi’s support of the industry Down Under through Bigsound has seen almost A$300,000 ($197,000) go towards 10 artists who’ve gone on to become “great Australian music exports,” says Angela Samut, CEO of QMusic and the event’s executive producer.
Previous winners include G Flip, Gordon Koang, Ecca Vandal, Amyl & The Sniffers, Stella Donnelly, Alex Lahey, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Hatchie, Emerson Snowe and The Teskey Brothers, whose Live At The Forum leads this week’s ARIA Albums Chart.
Australia’s live sector, like elsewhere, is crippled by the pandemic and the lockdown. Cancelations and postponements have contributed to more than $340 million in lost income for the wider music community, according to I Lost My Gig.
Applications for the final Levi’s Music Relief Fund round are currently open and close just before midnight AEST on Sunday, July 5.
For more go to www.bigsound.org.au.