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Winners announced for 2021 APRA Music Awards!

Media Published Wednesday 28 April 2021

The Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year is Gadigal Land composed by Rob Hirst, Gadigal poet Joel Davison and Bunna Lawrie.

Kevin Parker was named Songwriter of the Year and The Kid LAROI took out Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year

The APRA Music Awards were held on Wednesday 28 April at the ICC in Sydney


After a year of virtual recognition, the APRA Music Awards have made a welcome return as a live event in Sydney. The first major Australian music awards ceremony to do so since COVID struck, the 2021 APRA Music Awards last night celebrated the achievements of songwriters who have excelled in the past year.

APRA members have chosen Gadigal Land as the Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year. Written by Rob Hirst, Gadigal poet Joel Davison and Bunna Lawrie, the song is an uncompromising recount of what happened on Gadigal land, and elsewhere in Australia, since 1788. The song was Midnight Oil’s first single in 17 years, and is part of The Makarrata Project, a themed mini album of collaborations with Indigenous artists.

Kevin Parker has been named Songwriter of the Year for his ingenious sonic masterpieces on The Slow Rush, the fourth studio album by Tame Impala with all songs written, produced, recorded and mixed solely by Parker. Steeped in psychedelic disco sounds, the album was embraced by critics and reached the top 10 on numerous record charts around the world, debuting at Number 3 on the US Billboard chart and landing the top spot in Australia. Kevin was presented his award virtually by superstar producer and collaborator Mark Ronson.

Charlton Howard pka The Kid LAROI is the Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year. His success has been nothing short of meteoric, with debut mixtape F*ck Love peaking at Number 3 on the US Billboard chart. Along with a string of accomplishments, the First Nations rapper became the youngest Australian solo artist ever to hit Number 1 on the ARIA album charts earlier this year at just 17 years of age.

Continuing her APRA winning streak is Tones And I, who has pulled off a double taking out Most Performed Pop Work and Most Performed Australian Work for Never Seen the Rain, the third single from her hugely successful debut EP The Kids Are Coming.

The Rubens have won Most Performed Alternative Work with Live in Life, the lead single from the band’s fourth studio album 0202. Taking out Most Performed Country Work for the fourth consecutive year is Morgan Evans, this time for love song Diamonds which he co-wrote with international collaborators Evan Bogart and Chris de Stefano.

Glitchy dance song Rushing Back, written by Harley Streten (Flume), Celia Pavey (Vera Blue), Eric Dubowsky and Sophie Cates has won Most Performed Dance Work, while the Most Performed Blues & Roots Work is Over Drinking Over You, a song about when fun habits stop being fun, written and performed by Busby Marou (Thomas Busby and Jeremy Marou) with co-writers Ivy Adara, Jon Hume and Lindsey Jackson.

The 2021 APRA Music Awards saw the introduction of two new categories. The Most Performed Hip Hop / Rap Work is Misunderstood , written by first time nominee Filipo Faaoloii, who performs as Youngn Lipz, and the Most Performed R&B / Soul Work is Rain, written by Josh Teskey, Sam Teskey, Liam Gough and Brendan Love (The Teskey Brothers).

Renowned songwriter Don Walker has won the APRA Music Award for Most Performed Rock Work for Getting The Band Back Together, the first single from the Cold Chisel album Blood Moon, which features Jimmy Barnes and guitarist Ian Moss sharing vocal duties.

Dean Lewis and Jon Hume’s heartbreak anthem Be Alright is the Most Performed Australian Work Overseas, and as previously announced Dua Lipa and co-writers Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick and Emily Schwartz took out Most Performed International Work for the impossibly catchy Don’t Start Now.

Two powerhouse women were recognised before their peers with the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music. The 2021 recipient is country music trailblazer Joy McKean, who was in attendance to accept the honour presented by her children Anne and David Kirkpatrick. In a taped acceptance Traci Donat, daughter of 2020 recipient the late Helen Reddy, said “My mother was very proud of being Australian and she was proud of using her voice, her success and her visibility to elevate others. In the final years of her life, she was incredibly optimistic and moved to see so many young women passionately carrying the torch. Thank you for honouring her legacy.”

Fresh off the release of his brand new EP People Don’t Change with Noah Cyrus, Musical Director PJ Harding, curated the live performances which were the centrepiece of the night. Odette (joined by Beau Golden, Daniel Walsh and Dave Jenkins Jr) opened proceedings with her take on Helen Reddy’s 1973 hit song Delta Dawn. Lior performed a moving original, I Could Have Been You, (written to honour Mick Hart) in tribute to those our industry has lost in the past year. Putting their spin on the five Song of the Year nominated compositions were Cat & Calmell, who performed Guy Sebastian’s Standing With You, and Lime Cordiale who took on Tim Minchin’s Carry You. Hauskey, Stevan and Sycco collaborated to pay tribute to Tame Impala’s Lost In Yesterday, while Taka Perry, A.GIRL, Gia Vorne and Emalia hit the stage to interpret Everybody Rise by Amy Shark and Joel Little. Performing a unique version of the Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year Gadigal Land was respected Aboriginal Gadigal elder Uncle Allen Madden. And last but not least, Jimmy Barnes AO and Josh Teskey teamed up to pay tribute to the late Michael Gudinski AM. They performed I Remember When I Was Young, written by Matt Taylor of Australian blues band Chain, a band that Michael managed in his early music career.

The 2021 APRA Music Awards were held at the Sydney International Convention Centre and hosted by dynamic trio Julia Zemiro, Ziggy Ramo and Georgia Mooney. APRA AMCOS congratulates all the nominees and winners of the 2021 APRA Music Awards. We look forward to seeing you in 2022 for our 40th Anniversary event!

Be sure to check out the APRA AMCOS YouTube channel which features highlights from the 2021 APRA Music Awards.

Playlists of the nominated songs can be streamed on YouTube Music (our event sponsor), Spotify and Apple Music.

The 2021 APRA Music Awards nominees and subsequent winners are determined by performance activity as reflected by earnings between 1st October 2019 to 30th September 2020.