Each year an up-and-coming South Australian musician or band is recognised for their potential and awarded $5,000 to support their professional development
This year's Emily Burrows Award winner is up-and-coming Adelaide singer-songwriter Tilly Tjala Thomas
Previous honourees include Seabass, Dead Roo, Ollie English, Electric Fields and the Hilltop Hoods
Congratulations to this year's recipient of the Emily Burrows Award, Adelaide singer-songwriter Tilly Tjala Thomas. Tilly was presented the award by Alana Jagt, SA Writer Services Representative, at the South Australian Music Awards.
Her single 'Ngana Nyunyi', sung in both Nukunu and English, was released earlier in 2021, with triple j Unearthed remarking that Tilly "is an expert in writing songs that just feel like home."
She recently won the NIMA Unearthed Award at this year's National Indigenous Music Awards, and also did a special performance of her song 'Ngai Yulku Nhiina' (I love you) for the streamed ceremony.
Tilly has already supported Powderfinger and Something for Kate, and during her final year of high school she worked on a creative project under the mentorship of producer and artist Memphis LK.
A special award
Each year an up-and-coming South Australian musician or band is recognised for their potential and awarded $5,000 to support their professional development. The award was instituted in 2001 in memory of Emily Burrows, a former APRA AMCOS membership representative and compliance officer, who worked tirelessly to support and encourage South Australian songwriters and composers. The award was established following her tragic, accidental death in 2000.
"This award makes me feel like I can inspire the younger generation, women and the Aboriginal community," said Tilly in a written statement (more below). She would like to use the award money to help her with finalising songs, videos and working towards a debut EP.
She also hopes to collaborate with other artists like Baker Boy, and make more connections in the music industry, as well as coordinate community songwriting workshops.
Emily's father, Gary Burrows, who was a longtime APRA AMCOS employee, said about Tilly, "A beautiful voice, great that she's singing in language and shows respect and empathy for her forefathers and our land. I like her honesty and laconic approach - very Australian. Such a well crafted song and would love to keep up with her voyage into the music industry."
This award makes me feel like I can inspire the younger generation, women and the Aboriginal community.
I feel passionate about inspiring kids to be able to chase their dreams and show them that this can be achievable if you work hard and put your mind to it.
I’m also passionate about inspiring women to get into the music scene. I don’t feel that there are enough women being supported in the music industry and this is something that I would like to see change. I hope to possibly have my own label one day and support more women in the industry.
I am passionate about inspiring Aboriginal people and my family to keep language present in our culture. Language is something that is very important to me, especially being amongst the younger generation of my family. Language is something that I want to be able to pass down to my children, and the way I learn language is by incorporating it in something fun and creative such as music.
I feel that the media is more focused on mainstream non-Indigenous artists and I hope to challenge that through my music and see Aboriginal people represented on the same level as non-Indigenous people, so winning this award makes me feel that I am representing the Aboriginal community which makes me very proud.