Remi Kolawole has won the 10th annual Australian Music Prize.
The 23-year-old hip-hop artist’s album Raw X Infinity was declared the winner at a ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday, where he beat out eight other shortlisted albums and a longlist that numbered 65.
Remi collects one of the Australia music community’s most prestigious honors and a A$30,000 ($23,000) winner’s check for an album he cut in the spare bedroom of collaborator Sensible J and released through his own record label, House Of Beige.
Remi has been in a purple path through the awards season. He led the recent Rolling Stone Australia Awards with four nominations (winning for best independent release), he earned an Australian Independent Record Association Award and took out the trade body’s A$50,000 ($39,000) “Global Music Grant,” a prize designed to help musicians boost their profile overseas.
“It’s absolutely crazy,” he says of the AMP win. “We put everything we could into this album and to get this kind of recognition is amazing.”
Billboard recently caught up with Remi for an extensive chat. His ambitions for the coming months include a U.S. live debut at SXSW, and plans to release two new recording projects, including another full-length album. Raw X Infinity will drop April 14 in the U.S.
How will he find the time to fit it all in? “I’ll just have to make it,” he tells Billboard. “If you really want to do it, you find the time to do it. I’ve been really enjoying making music at the beginning of the year, so I’ll definitely find the time. Whether it’s a week and a half, we’ll make it happen.”
The AMP was established “to seek and recognize Australian music of excellence across all genres,” and it’s modelled on Britain’s Mercury Prize and Canada’s Polaris Prize. A music industry panel decides the winner, and the AMP prize money was donated by collecting society PPCA.
The shortlist for the 10th Australian Music Prize:
“About Face” by #1 Dads
“Built On Glass” by Chet Faker
“Gon’ Boogaloo” by C.W. Stoneking
“Grassed Inn” by Blank Realm
“Laura Jean” by Laura Jean
“Raw X Infinity” by Remi
“Tales” by The Peep Tempel
“The Sleeper” by Caitlin Park
“Typical System” by Total Control