The sheer number and talent of emerging female acts in Queensland was evident at the annual QMAs, with the major categories recognising women from across Queensland.
The annual party to celebrate Queensland music took place at the Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane Showgrounds to a sold out crowd last night.
Coveted Song of the Year gong went to pop performer Clea whose song ‘Dreaming’ was met with cheers from the Brisbane home crowd, while the winner expressed gratitude towards her parents. Album of the Year acknowledged youngest ever winner Tia Gostelow and her impressive offering ‘Thick Skin’. She mentioned her home town of Mackay, humbly thankful for the accolade.
Gold Coast musicians, while finalists across many categories, generally missed out on broader recognition in a hot field. Mark Peric, an acclaimed bass player from South Straddie, picked up a win in the Funk/Soul category. Amy Shark backed up her electric opening performance at the awards with a win in the Singer/Songwriter category for ‘I Said Hi’, with an acknowledgment for highest selling single. Her debut ‘Love Monster’ was also recognised as the Highest Selling Album in Queensland during the ceremony.
NightQuarter picked up the people’s choice Regional Venue of the Year. Groote Eylandt First Nations performer Emily Wurramara, who has links to the Gold Coast, picked up two acknowledgements in the Indigenous category and in the Blues/Roots category where she beat out Burleigh boy Bobby Alu and GC music royalty Hussy Hicks.
In People’s Choice categories, Big Pineapple Music Festival beat out Blues on Broadbeach in Festival of the Year for the second year running, showing the strong support from the public for the Sunny Coast event.
Sahara Beck pipped Amy Shark in the Regional category, in a judges’ acknowledgement not just of the emerging Beck’s talent but a commitment to looking beyond simply analysing radio play and album sales to determine category winners. Lane Harry x Ike Campbell and Soul Mechanics feat. Master Wolf (Hip Hop/Rap), Being Jane Lane (Heavy), Chloe Styler and Nimble (Country and Jazz) and San Mei (Rock), were all acknowledged as finalists from the Gold Coast but missed the big gongs.
A highlight of the night was the banter between clever hosts Mel Buttle and Patience Hodgson, with an unexpected rap by Mel drawing cheers from the surprised crowd at one point. Their chemistry was evident and the jokes were accepted graciously with laughter from patrons and award recipients throughout the night, unlike the unscripted R Kelly joke made by a guest presenter which drew loud boos from concerned listeners. Judging by the reaction from the room full of music industry’s finest, DZ Deathrays’ performance and the percussive excellence of Bobby Alu’s band were among the best of the live offerings, which also included stellar performances by Amy Shark, Resin Dogs, Clea, Emma Beau and Tokyo Twilight.
It was a fun night celebrating the best of Queensland music and venues and, in its eighth year now, it is continuing to build the momentum for the local music industry in a national and global context. The ceremony crowned 23 winners including the prestigious Billy Thorpe Scholarship. The full list of winners and finalists and highly commended entrants can be found here.
IMAGE: Amy Shark (c) Michelle Pitiris