Other recipients included Vika & Linda, Kate Ceberano, Cerisa Benjamin and Ashli.
The 2023 Australian Women In Music Awards (AWMAs) went down in Meanjin/Brisbane last night (September 27), with a total of 23 artists and industry figures honoured at the ceremony.
It was hosted by broadcaster and author Yumi Stynes, alongside First Nations speaker Nartarsha Bamblett, rounding out a two-day program that also featured a conference, series of forums, ‘In Conversation’ session with Vanessa Amorosi (who also received this year’s Inspiration Award), First Nations showcase and closing concert.
This year’s AWMAs saw the launch of two new awards, the Women In Heavy Music award and the ARIA Executive Leader Game Changer award, respectively bestowed upon Emmy Mack (of RedHook fame) and Emily Collins (Interim Head of Sound NSW).
Elsewhere at the ceremony, this year’s Artistic Excellence award went to Vika & Linda, while Ashli won the Emerging Artist award, Cerisa Benjamin won the Diversity In Music award, and all three of the finalists for the Lifetime Achievement award – Kate Ceberano, Clare Moore and Jeannie Lewis – were honoured with the title. Jane Gazzo took out this year’s Music Journalist award, which was sponsored by The Music.
Two iconic industry figures were honoured posthumously: Frontier Touring’s late “Executive Fluff-butt” Oana Gilbert earned the Tina Arena Special Impact award, and Renée Geyer was inducted into the AWMAs Honour Roll. The latter accolade was also given to Judy Stone, who made a rare public appearance at the ceremony. Beccy Cole and Hussy Hicks performed a tribute in her honour, while Vika & Linda performed in Geyer’s memory.
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Other performers at the event included Sarah McLeod, Hot Brown Honey, Dami Im, Samira El Koussa and Candice Bankovacki. Amorosi also performed twice on the night, and for the ceremony’s ABC TV broadcast, First Nations artist GLVES delivered the original composition Stand Tall – Sister You Are A Queen.
In a press statement, GLVES said of the track (co-written with Maraya Vavasis, produced by Arrowbird and mixed and mastered by Antonia Gauci): “This song is about standing up against the status quo and embracing the transformative strength of sisterhood love. My close female friendships are essential to my wellbeing, and this song is about recognising how they give me immense courage and remind me about what I'm capable of. These relationships help me lead and stand strong in revolutions inside and outside of myself.”
Reflecting on the event as a whole, Vicki Gordon – the AWMAs’ founder, executive producer and program director – said in her own statement: “In 2023, female artists and musicians are still having to prove themselves. Just last month, two well-known music promoters announced new festival lineups where women were a glaring minority and in one case were virtually non-existent. Let's call it out for what it is: blatant sexism.
“AWMA is calling on the industry to adopt gender equality as a core music industry value as a matter of priority, significant policy change needs to occur at both State and Federal level to ensure women form an equitable part of the industry. Gender bias can only be addressed by prioritising inclusivity and representation as core music values.”
The 2023 AWMAs was supported by the Queensland Government via their ten-year Creative Together scheme. In another statement, Leeanne Enoch (QLD’s Minister for the Arts) said the government is “committed to building a strong and sustainable arts sector, which includes supporting creativity, diversity and inclusivity within the contemporary music industry”.
She added: “The 2023 AWMA Showcase is funded through the Queensland Government's Queensland Arts Showcase Program (QASP) to elevate the voices and stories of First Nations women, culturally diverse and LGBTQIA+ female artists and musicians at this year's awards. Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the 2023 AWMAs, whose inspiring arts and cultural work helps strengthen our music industry and the international reputation of our vibrant music scene.”
Also weighing in was Shannon Fentiman (Minister for Health), who said: “The AWMA have once again demonstrated the power of shining the spotlight on women's talent and achievements from across Queensland. "Recognising and celebrating the success of women is a vital part of promoting equality in any industry and the AWMA's provide that opportunity through Australian music. "As Minister for Women, I am thrilled to congratulate this year's winners, performers, and presenters.”
The 2023 AWMAs ceremony will stream on ABC iView starting tomorrow evening (September 29), with a free-to-air broadcast on ABC TV scheduled for 4pm this Saturday (September 30).
See the full list of winners from the ceremony below.
Robyn Lee Payne
Vika & Linda
Diversity in Music
Excellence in Classical Music
ARIA Executive Leader Game Changer
Women in Heavy Music
Tina Arena Special Impact
Live Production – Touring
Live Production – Creative
Mia Mala McDonald