Incredible Gold Coast talent showcased as Artist of the Year finalists

We’re completely and unashamedly biased about the quality of music coming out of the Gold Coast. But more than that, we’re also totally proud of the goals being kicked by a huge number of artists, spreading their wings outside of our beautiful, regional city.

Across all of the nominations for this year’s Gold Coast Music Awards we witnessed huge numbers of digital streams, Australian and international charting success, sold-out shows here and abroad, bigger and bigger stages across the globe and deep connections with fans, online and IRL.

But the finalists for Artist of the Year have gone over and above when it comes to putting the Gold Coast on the map as a music city. And I’m here to tell you about some of the ways they’re doing that.

Hussy Hicks are a quirky example of artists making a full-time living out of music, while staying true to their rootsy roots. Over the past 12 years, Hussy Hicks have released six studio albums, three live albums and toured relentlessly. Their single ‘Get Ready’ hit #1 on the AMRAP Radio charts and last year saw the band perform at so many festivals they lost count. As well as mainstage gigs at Bluesfest Byron Bay, Blues on Broadbeach and Woodford Folk Festival they toured the USA and Europe twice and scored a coveted slot at Electric Picnic, Ireland’s biggest festival.

Among all of that frenetic activity, Hussy Hicks, who are past winners of the Artist of the Year category, managed to donate their time to perform at grassroots community events as well as mentor emerging Gold Coast artists.

In a complete contrast of genres, Bombs Away have also been kicking goals. They’re one of only a few Australian acts to hold down five concurrent top ten tracks on ARIA, Billboard, iTunes, Beatport and Spotify charts with their tracks sitting on high rotation around the world.

This multi-platinum DJ / producer duo have amassed some 50 million + streams on Spotify with nearly 40,000 followers. They have more than 1.3 million fans across their social media platforms. They’re one of the all-time most watched Australian musicians on YouTube and are touring non-stop.

Hollow Coves, a previous Breakout Artist of the Year winner, are another Gold Coast act who’ve spent most of the past year on the road. Since the release of their EP ‘Moments’, they’ve lapped the globe selling out shows across Europe, UK, North America and at home in Australia. Their debut EP ‘Wanderlust’ amassed 200 million streams and the debut single from their album ‘When We Were Young’ was premiered by Billboard.

Hollow Coves sold out all but four shows on their 2019 European / UK tour that saw them play 17 shows across eight countries, highlighted by a sold out 500 person show in London.

Also reaching audiences across the world is San Mei – another past winner of the Breakout Artist of the Year category for the Gold Coast Music Awards.

Over the past three years, San Mei – whose real name is Emily Hamilton – has embarked on a journey full of career-defining moments. She was an internationally recognised performer at SXSW (where she performed nine shows in six days) and has built a formidable team consisting of label partners Believe Digital, Etc Etc Music, domestic agent Four Tone, international Agent UTA, and US co-management.

Her releases have been streamed more than 1.5 million times across 72 countries and over three years she’s taken an immense leap from bedroom producer to internationally recognised artist and in-demand collaborator.

In her short career, San Mei has supported Kingswood, Ali Barter, G Flip, Jack River, Gang Of Youths and performed festival sets at This That, Yours & Owls and Falls Festival.

Another festival darling, but in a completely different genre is country music star Casey Barnes. At the time of writing, Casey had just released his new album ‘Town of a Million Dreams’ which immediately charted at #1 in the iTunes all genres charts. The two-time Golden Guitar finalist saw his 2018 album ‘The Good Life’ debut on the iTunes country charts peaking at #2 on the ARIA country charts.

2019 saw Casey roll out a national tour with a bunch of international performances thrown into the mix. He took out the Groundwater Country Music Festival’s inaugural People’s Choice Award and performed at CMC Rocks.

Casey’s body of work has connected with an incredible number of fans. He’s got 173,000 regular monthly listeners on Spotify and his weekly live-streamed iso-concerts regularly have hundreds of people across Australia tuning in.

Also racking up global streams in the millions is Busby Marou. Half of the duo live on the Gold Coast. With top 20 airplay and three ARIA charting albums, Busby Marou are a sought-after act, connecting with fans across the world.  Their self-titled album is certified ARIA Gold, while their follow up album ‘Farewell Fitzroy’ debuted at #5 on the ARIA albums chart, and third album ‘Postcards from the Shell House’ is a #1 ARIA album. Busby Marou were nominated for four Queensland Music Awards and won the Blues / roots category for ‘Naba Norem’.

Busby Marou were also nominated for two Golden Guitar Awards following the release of ‘The Great Divide’.

And these are just the finalists. Across all the nominations for the Gold Coast Music Awards, there were hundreds of millions of global streams and all sorts of big ticket achievements worthy of recognition. It’s a shame there’s only one trophy.

The Artist of the Year category is sponsored by HOTA – Home of the Arts.

We announce winners of this and nine other categories of the 2020 Gold Coast Music Awards on Thursday 30 April from 7.00pm. Get the viewing details at

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