‘Milkumana’ by King Stingray, co-written by Roy Kellaway and Yirrŋa Gotjiringu Yunupingu wins $50,000 cash prize
2nd place $10,000 – ‘Ready for the Sky’ by Budjerah, co-written by Budjerah and Ainslie Wills
3rd place $5,000 – ‘Camp Dog’ by King Stingray, written by Roy Kellaway
AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize $5,000 – ‘Worst Taste in Girls’ by Charley, co-written by Charley, Antonio Egizii and David Musumeci
American Songwriter Spotlight Award - $1,500 cash prize and a feature on American Songwriter – ‘That Action’ by Tia P., written by Tia P.
First place in the 2022 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition goes to North East Arnhem Land's King Stingray for ‘Milkumana’, co-written by bandmates and childhood friends Roy Kellaway and Yirrŋa Gotjiringu Yunupingu.
Courtesy of APRA AMCOS, Alberts and Sony Music Publishing, King Stingray win a $50,000 cash prize, the largest first-place prize for any songwriting competition in the world.
The self-described purveyors of “Yolŋu surf rock” write and perform lyrics in English and Yolŋu Matha and the band has collected several accolades for their music and songwriting including ‘Milkumana’ winning Best Song at the 2022 National Indigenous Music Awards, charting at #56 in the triple j Hottest 100, shortlisted for APRA Song of the Year 2022 and a nominee for Most Performed Rock Work of the Year at this year’s APRA Music Awards.
“We can’t believe it, we are so over the moon to win the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition. It means so much to us, we really do believe what we are singing about and our songs tell a story and a message. We feel really lucky that we can share stories. The song ‘Milkumana’ is about leadership and the people we look up to and now, all of a sudden, we’ve become leaders in our community and that concept is just so amazing. We come from a small place and we’re singing about big things,” said Kellaway.
“Thanks so much for the love, we can’t believe it.”
“Congratulations to all participants who entered the competition and a special shout out to the talented individuals who were the prize winners this year. Alberts believes in the power of music to foster individual well-being and the critical role it plays in building a vibrant culture,” said David Albert, on behalf of first-place sponsor Alberts.
“Sony Music Publishing is honoured to be a co-sponsor of the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see the top 3 places this year being taken out by Aboriginal artists and writers. The incredible King Stingray and Budjerah have both made a huge impact over the last couple of years across the whole country and are now set to show the rest of the world their culture and the depth of talent of these exciting Yolŋu/balanda and Bundjalung artists. Congratulations to them and also to Ainslie Wills,” said Damian Trotter, Managing Director, Sony Music Publishing Australia.
“Hearty congratulations to King Stingray – Roy and Yirrŋa – on your collaboration that is travelling from the top end to all corners of the globe. The Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition is so special because it honours the craft of songwriting and gives anyone who enters the chance to be heard and win. Thank you to all entrants for making a difference,” said Dean Ormston, Chief Executive, APRA AMCOS.
Second place and $10,000 courtesy Banki Haddock Fiora goes to North Coast NSW breakthrough artist Budjerah for the breezy, soulful ‘Ready for the Sky’, which he wrote with acclaimed songwriter Ainslie Wills.
“Thank you so much to the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition…’Ready for the Sky’ is a song that I co-wrote with Ainslie Wills nearly three years ago over FaceTime in the middle of COVID, and it’s really amazing that now the song is out and we’re very, very grateful that we got second place,” said Budjerah.
King Stingray’s Kellaway has the golden touch with third-place finisher, ‘Camp Dog’ – an ode to the community dogs of the band’s hometown Yirrkala – which comes with a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Aon.
“Aon is proud to support the Vanda & Young Global Song Competition for another year and we congratulate the 3rd place recipients, King Stingray and their song ‘Camp Dog’! A brilliant bunch of songwriters with a promising future ahead, the Aon Entertainment team will have the song on repeat all day in celebration!”, said the sponsor.
Always one to watch is the winner of the $5,000 AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize, provided by Australasian Music Publishers Association Limited (AMPAL), with previous winners Mallrat, Carla Geneve, Kaiit and Baker Boy taking honours in the category. Sydney-based pop artist Charley is the one this year with her song ‘Worst Taste in Girls’, which she co-wrote with Antonio
Egizii and David Musumeci.
“I'm so stoked to have won this award – this song means so much to me as it's my first queer song and having had so much support from my fans and music community/industry after coming out means the WORLD. This song came from such a sad moment in my life so having some type of reward for it is very bittersweet. Thank you so so much!” said Charley, who was recently featured on Spotify’s Times Square billboard as part of their Equal campaign.
“AMPAL is very proud to support the Emerging Songwriter Prize – the foundation of our industry is the song. Congratulations to every writer who submitted part of themselves and supported such a worthy cause.
“I’d like to congratulate Charley on behalf of AMPAL, and wish you a success of your own desire,” said Matthew Capper, AMPAL Chair.
New to the competition this is year is the American Songwriter
Spotlight Award, with Los Angeles hip-hop artist and songwriter Tia P. winning a $1,500 cash prize and a forthcoming feature on the American Songwriter for her song ‘That Action.’ This award marks Tia P.’s return to winner’s circle – she finished in joint second place in 2016.
“American Songwriter is proud to partner with Vanda & Young because we both share a passion for discovering and recognising songwriting talent around the world,” says American Songwriter Contest Manager, Shane Whalen. “Huge congrats to Tia. P for taking home the first-ever American Songwriter
Spotlight Award. Tia and her music embody what it takes to stand out in a world filled with emerging talent."