Log in to your account

Ted Albert honour for country music trailblazer Joy McKean

Media Published Tuesday 13 April 2021

Joy McKean is the 2021 recipient of the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music.

Performing live at the APRA Music Awards will be; Odette, Cat & Calmell, Lime Cordiale, Jimmy Barnes, Josh Teskey, Lior, Taka Perry, Gia Vorne, Emalia, A.GIRL, Hauskey, Sycco and Stevan.

Don't Start Now by Dua Lipa has taken out the Most Performed International Work.


APRA AMCOS is proud to announce that country music trailblazer Joy McKean OAM will be the 2021 recipient of the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music. Finding a talent for writing songs as a young child, Joy has had a stellar career as a performer, songwriter and manager, spanning more than 70 years.

She became famous performing, recording and broadcasting with her sister Heather in the 1940's and 50’s, and went on to compose some of country music’s most celebrated songs including The Biggest Disappointment, Ringer from the Top End, Walk a Country Mile and Indian Pacific. Joy was making her mark, composing hit country songs and touring regional and remote Australia at a time when the perceived role of women was that of home maker. She created a lifelong partnership with her husband Slim Dusty, writing many of his most famous songs and was his manager for more than 50 years.

Joy’s songwriting and recordings have earned her seven Golden Guitar awards along with the prestigious Industry Achiever Award bestowed upon her by the Country Music Association of Australia, the organisation she co-founded in 1992. She received the first ever Golden Guitar award at the inaugural Tamworth Country Music Awards in 1973 for writing Lights on the Hill, a hit for Slim that has been re-recorded numerous times, including a duet featuring Keith Urban and Slim Dusty. Inducted twice into the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown - once with the McKean Sisters and then in 2020 for her solo achievements - Joy’s contribution to Australian country music as a pioneering songwriter, bush balladeer, touring performer and artist manager is unparalleled.

Joy McKean OAM said, “I am honoured indeed to be chosen as the 2021 recipient of the prestigious Ted Albert Award. It was most unexpected, and I thank those who must have nominated me for such consideration by APRA. After what has been a lifetime of working in the music industry, and loving just about every minute of it, I find it fascinating to reflect on the changes that have taken place. I’ve seen a lot of them, and no doubt there will be many more than I will ever see. One thing I do look for is that Awards such as this will continue to honour and support Australians in our music industry the way Ted Albert always did.”

Performing live at the 2021 APRA Music Awards is the mesmerising Odette (joined by Beau Golden, Daniel Walsh and Dave Jenkins Jr), whose unique brand of experimental pop reaches new heights with new album Herald. Also hitting the stage are Cat & Calmell who catapulted into 2020 with their debut release dumbshit. With biting lyrics and an assured, confident energy, Cat & Calmell are ones to watch in 2021. After a huge year, first-time nominees Lime Cordiale will bring their sunny, laid back pop vibes to the APRA Music Awards. Australian rock music legend, Jimmy Barnes AO, will bring the house down with his unmistakable pipes, while The Teskey Brothers singer and rhythm guitarist Josh Teskey will make his first live appearance at the awards. Respected Aboriginal Gadigal elder Uncle Allen Madden will join the proceedings as will multi-talented songwriter and musician Lior who returns to the APRA stage with a new album in the works. After the success of their highly acclaimed triple j performance, music producer, songwriter and artist Taka Perry will join the live line-up with special guests Gia Vorne, Emalia and rising Western Sydney hip hop artist A.GIRL. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hauskey, rounds out the talent bill for a live collaboration with Brisbane singer/songwriter/producer Sycco, and powerhouse musical prodigy Stevan.

Also nominated alongside INXS in Most Performed Australian and Most Performed Pop Work, English superstar Dua Lipa has taken out Most Performed International Work for the disco inspired Don’t Start Now which she co-wrote with Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick and Emily Schwartz.

For the first time, you can check out the APRA AMCOS YouTube channel on the night for highlights from the APRA Music Awards as the event unfolds. And if you’re at home following along, be sure to catch the brilliant and witty Alex Lahey as she does a red-carpet takeover on the official APRA AMCOS Instagram account.

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

APRA AMCOS thanks its sponsors YouTube Music, The Industry Observer, Marsh, Songtradr, Jaxsta and Studios 301.