Introducing the Australian Women in Music Awards led by an all star cast of iconic Aussie ladies

Isabella Manfredi

Isabella Manfredi

Some of the biggest names in the Australian music industry have united to create and support the very first Australian Women in Music Awards & Forum (AWMA) in Brisbane in October this year.

Tina Arena, Deborah Conway, Kate Ceberano, Debra Byrne, Katie Noonan, Christine Anu, Clare Bowditch, Isabella Manfredi, Sophie Koh, Kween G, Patricia ‘Little Patti’ Amphlett, the late Chrissy Amphlett, the late Ruby Hunter and APRA Chair Jenny Morris are among the list of artists backing the ground-breaking initiative, which was officially announced in Brisbane today by broadcaster and academic Tracee Hutchison.

The inaugural awards will shine a spotlight on women, recognising first nations performers, acknowledging and including multicultural performers, focusing on excellence in artistry, technical and production skills, cross-cultural development, songwriting, music education, music photography, humanitarian work and more.

AWMA Founding Director and long time champion of Australian women in music Vicki Gordon says, “History is finally on our side. We need to grab this moment with an open and united heart."

I know there are vast numbers of men who support women and huge numbers of women who want more, so together let’s create the mother of all paradigm shifts.
— Jenny Morris

AWMA patron, chair of APRA, and legendary singer/songwriter Jenny Morris says that she believes AWMA is well overdue.

"I am very happy to be involved in this long overdue project. My feeling is that women and female minority groups have well and truly served their time as the under-valued, under-estimated and under- supported element of our music industry. I know there are vast numbers of men who support women and huge numbers of women who want more, so together let’s create the mother of all paradigm shifts."

The announcement comes in time for International Women's Day and at a time where the #metoo, #timesup and Women's March movements are shaking the world of music, media,  entertainment and the arts to its core.

The Preatures’ frontwoman Isabella Manfredi has been named AWMA advisor, and says that the awards are "the next positive step in creating a more equal playing field for all," adding, "What a momentous platform to shine a light on the amazing women in our industry."

Award-winning broadcaster, journalist, arts and media executive, producer, director, academic and author Tracee Hutchison has been announced as the advisory chair of the AWMA and says, "It’s time to proudly stand together and celebrate the ground-breaking achievements of women in our industry over many generations."

AWMA Advisory Chair is Tracee Hutchison

AWMA Advisory Chair is Tracee Hutchison

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Is there a bigger champion of Australian women in music than Vicki Gordon? Read our interview here. 

AWMA will also establish an Honour Roll to acknowledge outstanding women who have made significant and lasting contributions in their chosen field and paved the way for change, and it is with this in mind that AWMA carries the posthumous endorsement of two of Australian music’s most cherished, pioneering and respected artists, Divinyls front woman Chrissy Amphlett and Ruby Hunter as patrons, with kind permission of their families.

Amphlett's husband Charley Drayton, says AWMA will keep Chrissy’s legacy burning brightly.

“Chrissy’s life was full of passion and creativity and her powerful influence continues to burn vibrantly. She was a pioneering force for strong, sexy women and a ground-breaker for women to demand their place on the Australian rock scene. Chrissy would be extremely proud to stand in celebration of the achievements of women in Australian music and I am delighted her legacy will shine on as an AWMA Patron.” 

There is still a degree of reluctance to acknowledge the enormous breadth of genres that Australian women have occupied. In establishing dedicated awards for female musicians, AWMA provides whoever is given a gong another opportunity to reap some publicity for their creative enterprise.
— Deborah Conway

The late Ruby Hunter, a proud Ngarrindjerri woman who is revered as one of Australia’s most  musical storytellers and role models. Ruby is AWMA’s sole indigenous Patron, with generous permission from her husband Archie Roach and the Hunter family.

Roach says, "Ruby was a proud woman with a nurturing spirit that shone through in her songs. She was an honest songwriter who had no need to embellish those songs with sophisticated lyrics as they were straight from her heart. She wrote about domestic violence and child abuse; songs to empower women and protect children. Everything she wrote spoke of the importance of family. Ruby would be so proud to be honoured as an AWMA Patron. She was an example for other First Nations women to be the best they could be as she was." 

The Awards will take place after a two day series of forums and key note speeches to explore and promote gender and cultural equity within the Australian music industry as part of the two-day event at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

The Australian Women in Music Awards and Forum will take place at Brisbane Powerhouse on 9-10 October 2018. Information here. 

The late Ruby Hunter

The late Ruby Hunter