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Beddy Rays, LT & James Johnston are Unsigned Only winners

Story Published Thursday 27 October 2022
l-r: Beddy Rays, LT, James Johnston

Congrats to Unsigned Only First Place category winners Beddy Rays (Rock) and LT (Adult Album Alternative) and Second Place winner James Johnston (Country).

A staggering 24 homegrown artists were honoured this year including the three winners and 21 receiving honourable mentions.

This year's Unsigned Only comp brought in 7,000 entries from around the globe.

Australian artists have continued to rake in accolades at this year’s international Unsigned Only music competition. Based in the US, Unsigned Only is an important platform for discovering some of the best unsigned contemporary musical talent from all around the world.

A staggering 24 homegrown artists were honoured this year, with 21 receiving honourable mentions, and three scoring First and Second Place wins. Many of these artists were honoured across multiple song categories. All three winners are APRA AMCOS members.

First place in the Rock category was awarded to Queensland band Beddy Rays, for their track ‘Sobercoaster’. A weekend anthem with heartfelt lyrics, huge hooks and good vibes, this track also came in at number 57 in the 2020 triple j Hottest 100.

Indie-pop artist LT from Cairns was awarded First Place in the Adult Album Alternative (AAA) category for her song ‘Rollercoaster’. The track explores themes of mental health, endurance and hope, while the saturated production shimmers and sparkles. LT penned the track with two of Australia’s most renowned writers Joel Quartermain (Eskimo Joe, G-Flip, Meg Mac) and Edwin White (Vance Joy, Jack River).

James Johnston from Wingham NSW was awarded 2nd place in the Country category for his song ‘Raised Like That’. The track is a celebration of country life, integrity and small town community. This debut single from Johnston has been certified gold by ARIA since its release in 2021.

Unsurprisingly, international audiences can’t get enough of Australian music. “The entire world is enamoured with Australian culture, and its music scene is a huge part of it,” says Candace Avery and Jim Morgan, Founders/Directors of Unsigned Only.

“Australian artists are so creative and ambitious, and they seem to have an artistic freedom that stamps their music and makes it stand out from the pack. Aussie artists overflow with individuality, and this is what makes their music so special.” We wholeheartedly agree!

Kiwi artists were also recognised and celebrated in this year’s awards, with two garnering Second Place wins and two Honourable Mentions. Second Place winners include Mild Orange for the song ‘What's Your Fire’ (Rock) and Sam Heselwood for ‘Don't Speak’ (Folk/Singer-Songwriter). Honourable Mentions also went to Kylie Price’sStay’ (Pop/ Top 40) and Levi Lights On Project’sEyes of a Child’ (Folk/ Singer-Songwriter).

A judging panel of prominent artists and music industry experts selected the winners. The judges included Robert Smith (The Cure), Aimee Mann, NLE Choppa, Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC), Derek Brown (Flaming Lips) and Ruthie Foster, among others. The panel also included journalists from a range of music publications such as Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, JazzTimes, Yahoo Music and many more.

Winners were selected from almost 7,000 entries from all over the world by a judging panel of high-profile music artists and industry experts. More than $150,000 in cash and prizes is awarded to a total of 38 winners.

Unsigned Only is now accepting entries for the 2023 competition. More information can be found at:

Unsigned Only - the top AU finalists

Beddy Rays -'Sobercoaster'

First Place - Rock

LT - 'Rollercoaster'

First Place - AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

James Johnston - 'Raised Like That'

Second Place - Country