The 12th annual Australian Music Prize (AMP) was awarded last night in Melbourne to Indigenous hip hop outfit A.B. Original for its album Reclaim Australia.
The AMP is judged by a panel of industry insiders from radio hosts to producers and performers and is headed by Dave Faulkner (singer of the Hoodoo Gurus). The award is presented to the “best album of the year”, independent of sales or other factors. The 16 judges listened to a record number of 364 submitted albums before reducing it to a long list of about 50 from which this year’s shortlist of nine were chosen.
The shortlisted artists were:
Reclaim Australia by A.B. Original
Wildflower by The Avalanches
Animal by Big Scary
Camp Cope by CAMP COPE
Utopia Defeated by D.D Dumbo
Nonagon Infinity by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Self Talk by Olympia
Joy by The Peep Tempel
In a change of format the award ceremony was held in Melbourne (instead of Sydney) for the first time this year, as all shortlisted artists were from, or reside in Melbourne.
As a result, five of the nine were there to be presented shortlist trophies from event hosts Deb Conway and Dan Rosen.
On being presented with the novelty cheque (surely a highlight for any artist), Briggs and Trials of A.B. Original spoke briefly and eloquently about how they were surprised at the success of an album which is confrontational and speaks of many issues around Indigenous Australians’ survival and includes the lead single January 26.
Trials dedicated the $30,000 cash award to his son who he hoped would not “have to deal with the shit we did” in growing up. Both emphasised the role of their communities in the genesis of the album, and celebrated the work of those Indigenous artists who preceded them, from Jimmy Little to Coloured Stone and Archie Roach.
This was the first time the award had been won by an Indigenous act.
The night was punctuated with three short, punchy live sets from acts with albums being submitted for this year’s award: Ali Barter, Rat and Co and KingsWood. They played to a busy house and enthusiastic reception at the Toff in Town.
A.B Original are playing at Womadelaide this weekend