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40th APRA Music Awards celebrates songwriting superstars

Media Published Tuesday 3 May 2022
Genesis Owusu and Tones And I at the 2022 APRA Music Awards - photo by Tony Mott

The Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year is STAY performed by The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber.

The Kid LAROI was named Songwriter of the Year and Genesis Owusu took out Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year.

The APRA Music Awards were held on Tuesday 3 May at Melbourne Town Hall.

A mix of Australian songwriters and industry gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the APRA Music Awards, the event recognising the talented songwriters and music publishers that have achieved outstanding success across 15 categories in the past year.

APRA AMCOS Chief Executive Dean Ormston said, “It was an absolute joy to celebrate the success and artistry of the Australian songwriters who have persevered and kept us entertained and connected over the last couple of challenging years. Congratulations to the winners, nominees and performers, who helped to create such a memorable night in honouring 40 years of the APRA Music Awards.”

The Kid LAROI has scored an APRA Music Awards trifecta. The 18-year-old has taken out the Peer-Voted APRA Song of the Year for STAY, the global sensation co-written with Justin Bieber. He has also won Most Performed Hip Hop / Rap Work for Without You. And to cap off an incredible year, the 2021 Breakthrough Songwriter has now been named Songwriter of the Year.

The Kid LAROI said, “Thank you for awarding me with Songwriter of the Year. I really appreciate the support and I want to give a quick shout out to fans back home. I’m stoked to be on my way back and I can’t wait to perform the END OF THE WORLD TOUR with you guys. I miss you all and I’ll see you soon.”

Also having a spectacular rise is the unstoppable Genesis Owusu who is the Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year. With his songwriting and debut album Smiling with No Teeth receiving a lot of high praise, Genesis most recently took out first-place in the 2021 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition.

Tones And I is a dual winner for the second year in a row, scoring two gongs for two different songs. Fly Away is the Most Performed Pop Work and her worldwide hit Dance Monkey is the Most Performed Australian Work Overseas.

Making his APRA Music Awards debut is John Courtidis, who is also a two-time winner. He has landed the Most Performed Australian Work and Most Performed Dance / Electronic Work for Head & Heart, the anthemic dancefloor smash hit performed by Joel Corry feat. MNEK.

The magical music collaboration between Vance Joy and Joel Little has earned them the Most Performed Alternative Work for Missing Piece, a song inspired by the separation of loved ones due to the pandemic.

The strong songwriting partnership between Matt Corby and Budjerah has led to the award for Most Performed R&B / Soul Work for Higher. Budjerah told Cool Accidents, "Higher is an ode to fun, it’s a celebration of happiness when life is stress and worry-free.” This is the first APRA Music Award for both Budjerah and Matt.

Another first time APRA Music Awards winner is Ziggy Alberts, whose song Letting Go is the Most Performed Blues & Roots Work. Ziggy has described the song as being about “letting go of fear and the notion of having to heal everything alone”.

Proving that she’s a little bit country is Amy Shark, whose song Love Songs Ain’t for Us, (co-written with Ed Sheeran) is the Most Performed Country Work. Performed with Keith Urban, Amy described the writing of the song to Rolling Stone Magazine, “Ed asked me if I wrote songs about my man, I told him I do, but love songs aren't really for us. "He then smiled and said, 'OK that's what we'll do then'.”

Still proving they’re a dominant songwriting force are Angus Young and the late Malcolm Young who have won Most Performed Rock Work for Shot in the Dark from their seventeenth studio album Power Up. Fun fact: Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott (RIP) won a Gold Award at the very first APRA Awards in 1982 for Highway to Hell.

Legendary children’s entertainment group The Wiggles, accepted the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music, an honour that the APRA Board of Directors confers to acknowledge a group or individual who has contributed immensely to Australian music. The Ted Albert Award was presented to The Wiggles by Ross Wilson.

As previously announced, the Licensee of the Year award was awarded to Great Big Events and TAFE Queensland for their excellent music citizenship, while Lasting Lover, written by James Arthur, Bruce Fielder, Lewis Capaldi, Luke Fitton, Benjamin Goldwasser, Jarl Hasselquist, Corey Sanders and Andrew Vanwyngarden is the Most Performed International Work.

Musical Director François Tétaz curated the live performances for the night which included the five tributes for the Peer-Voted Song of the Year nominees. Chris Cheney, MC Dallas Woods and Melbourne R&B newcomer Kye opened proceedings by taking on a mashup of AC / DC’s Back in Black and Hoodlum by Woods and Jerome Farah. Telenova with Mindy Meng Wang performed Hiatus Kaiyotes Red Room. Singer, songwriter and producer grentperez performed The Kid LAROI’s STAY, the Peer-Voted Song of the Year, while hard-hitting Hammond organ trio Cookin' On 3 Burners along with Kylie Auldist, Didirri, Jungaji Brady, Dean Brady and Tasman Keith put their spin on First Nation, the track Keith composed with Midnight Oil’s Rob Hirst. Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders took on The Other Black Dog, written by Genesis Owusu, Michael Di Francesco, Andrew Klippel and Julian Sudek and double 2022 APRA Music Awards winner Tones And I and ensemble delivered an unforgettable rendition of Guided By Angels by Amyl & The Sniffers. And finally, the mighty Hard-Ons with singer Tim Rogers delivered a blistering tribute to the late, great Chris Bailey with their version of the Bailey and Ed Kuepper masterpiece Know Your Product.

The 2022 APRA Music Awards were hosted by Julia Zemiro, Eddie Perfect and Jerome Farah.

APRA AMCOS would like to congratulate all the winners and nominees for the 2022 event.

The 2022 APRA Music Awards nominees playlists can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music.