This year’s ceremony will see Judy Stone AM inducted into the AWMAs Honour Role, while Beccy Cole is nominated for the Artistic Excellence Award.
It was in the early 1980s that Beccy Cole first broke out on the Australian country music scene, and over some four decades since, she’s evolved to be one of the most important names in the entire landscape.
After taking home 11 Golden Guitars between 1994 and 2019, she appeared at last year’s Country Music Awards of Australia (CMAAs) to be inducted into the Australian Roll of Renown. Also in 2022 – some 21 years after she was awarded a prestigious Centenary Medal – Cole was honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia (making her formally known as Beccy Cole OAM). These are just a few of the bullet-points on her sprawling list of accolades, which recently grew again when she was named as a finalist for the Artistic Excellence Award at the 2023 Australian Women In Music Awards.
This year’s AWMAs program kicks off in a matter of hours – head here to see all the details on it – and in addition to her own nomination, Cole will appear at the ceremony to pay tribute to the generation-defining Judy Stone. With familial ties to the Bandstand icon, Cole will perform one of Stone’s biggest hits, commemorating her induction into the AWMAs Honour Role. In this interview, we caught up with Cole to chat about the impending performance, the importance of the AWMAs, and what’s going on with her hotly awaited 11th album.
Congratulations on being named as a finalist for the Artistic Excellence Award! How does it feel to be honoured at this year’s Australian Women In Music Awards?
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It’s an absolute honour, I’m thrilled to be nominated along with such incredible Australian female talent.
You’ll also be performing at the ceremony to commemorate Judy Stone’s induction into the AWMAs Honour Roll. Can you tell us about the song you’ll be playing, and why it’s so special to you?
I’ll be performing Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone), a David Allen Coe song with which Judy had success in 1974.
Were you particularly inspired by Judy’s music – or character – when you were starting out on the Australian country music circuit?
My mother used to perform on the same TV show as Judy [Bandstand] and has some wonderful memories of spending time with her.
Have you spent much time with Judy yourself?
We have met and I am a great admirer. She broke through at a time when it was close to impossible for women in music.
Since the early ‘90s, you’ve been one of the most prominent women in Australian country music. Why is it important for you to champion the feminine energy we have in this scene?
Because sexism has been rife in the industry. In many ways it still is – although we’ve come a long way. Female musicians are still overlooked and female artists are still under-booked and wrongly billed. I love nothing better than to play a major festival with my all-female band and provide visibility for women in music, especially young girls in the audience.
We recently passed five years since you released your (stunning) 10th album, Lioness. What’s the game plan for its follow-up?
I’m slowly getting songs together for a new album and I’m looking forward to once again working with my female band and producer, Julz Parker. I have been road-testing a couple of new songs and it feels great.