This year’s National Indigenous Music Awards took place over the weekend with a reimagined radio format, broadcast over triple j and MCd by Blak Out host, rapper and Yuin man Nooky along with triple j presenter Karla Ranby.
Among the winners were Kamilaroi superstar The Kid LAROI, who took home the Artist of the Year Award following a massive 12 months that has seen him release collaborations with the likes of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber and share the third instalment in his F*ck Love mixtape trilogy.
Album of the Year, meanwhile, went to Bundjalung rapper JK-47 for his incredible debut album Made for This, which arrived back in September of last year. Anangu and Torres Strait Islander songwriter Miiesha won Song of the Year for her raw, incredibly personal single ‘Damaged’, while rising Coodjinburra artist Budjerah received Best New Talent of the Year.
Baker Boy was also honoured on the evening, with the Ryan Sauer-directed music video for his Yirrmal collab ‘Ride’ taking home the Best Film Clip of the Year award. The Indigenous Language Award of the Year went to Guwanbal Gurruwiwi and Netanela Mizrahi for the Djari Project, while Kakadu Collective and Victor Rostron received the Community Clip of the Year award for ‘Mayali’.
There were also a slew of live crosses and performances, with special guest appearances from the likes of comedian Steven Oliver and actress Elaine Crombie, plus Yirrmal, Tilly Tjala Thomas and Electric Fields, who delivered a rendition of Kev Carmody‘s ‘From Little Things, Big Things Grow’ – watch that below.
Carmody himself was honoured on the evening, with the legendary artist’s life and work celebrated as he was inducted into the NIMAs’ Hall of Fame. “I’m absolutely so proud, humbled and honoured to accept the award on behalf of all of us. Past, present and of course future, because it’s a collective way of thinking in my opinion, that we all go together and no one gets left behind,” Carmody said.
“I’m so proud of the young ones! It might be rap, it might be hip hop, it might be reggae; we’re still expressing [ourselves] through the oral cultural traditions, which is songs and storytelling, it’s just in a musical sense. I’m so proud of our young mob with the music, and with dance – that’s an interpretation too – and art. That’s our way of passing on our oral tradition and I think it’s fantastic. I can sit back now. I’ve played my four chords and that’s it.”
NIMAs Creative Director Ben Graetz said he was “very proud of all the team who worked together” on the event and called it an “incredible night”, despite it not looking the way it initially planned (this year’s awards were moved from an in-person event to a broadcast due to the pandemic).
“Hopefully next year we will be back on Larrakia Country, under stars, celebrating all together once again,” Graetz said, indicating a return for the NIMAs to their regular home of the Darwin Amphitheatre in 2022.
The National Indigenous Music Awards 2021
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
The Kid Laroi
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
JK-47 – Made for This
SONG OF THE YEAR
Miiesha – ‘Damaged’ (Song Writers: Miiesha Young/Stephen Collins)
NEW TALENT OF THE YEAR
FILM CLIP OF THE YEAR
Baker Boy – ‘Ride’ Feat. Yirrmal
INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE AWARD OF THE YEAR
Guwanbal Gurruwiwi and Netanela Mizrahi – The Djari Project (Composed by: Guwanbal Gurruwiwi and Netanela Mizrahi Conducted/Directors: Nick Yates / Netanela Mizrahi / Christie Anderson Co-Producers: Netanela Mizrahi & Myles Mumford)
COMMUNITY CLIP OF THE YEAR
Kakadu Collective and Victor Rostron – ‘Mayali’ (Directors: Toby Finlayson (Desert Pea Media) / Rob Sherwood / Victor Rostron Producer: Josh Nicholas)