Dave Arden, Kutcha Edwards, Lady Lash, Emma Donovan and Benny Walker are all vying for Best Aboriginal Act this year, with Donovan and Lash each having won the category previously.
Music Victoria CEO Patrick Davidson told NITV that the nominees this year were a strong representation of talent. ''This year's Best Aboriginal Act category is very strong, with a diverse range of genres represented including rock, country, blues, soul and hip hop. There's some real legends in there: Dave Arden was a founder and co-musical director of the Black Arm Band and Kutcha is nominated as one of the finalists for this year's Melbourne Music Prize. Emma Donovan won two Age Music Victoria Awards last year...And Lady Lash and Benny Walker are two exceptional young artists with big careers ahead of them.''
Let's have a look at the nominees.
Legendary Kokatha/Gunditjmara singer and guitarist, Arden has performed as part and alongside of some of Australia's biggest acts, including Uncle Archie Roach, Black Arm Band, Crowded House and Paul Kelly. In the past few years, Arden has released new material including a collaboration with Paul Kelly honouring the Black Diggers and most recently has teamed up with fellow guitarist and songwriter Scott Wilson (Dan Sultan's band) and released an EP 'I Close My Eyes' ahead of a full album to be released later in the year.
One of our best soul vocalists, Donovan won this category award last year, with her nomination again this year proving that she remains firmly on the radar of music lovers with her most recent release Dawn, a solid production with the Putbacks.
Kokatha/Greek artist Crystal Clyne aka Lady Lash has been making waves in the underground hip hop scene for several years and picking up air play on stations such as Triple J. A gifted lyricist, her most recent release, Milky Way was an independent production showcasing a distinct honest and edgy style. Lash is currently working on her fourth album due for release in 2017. Lash is honoured to be on the nominee list once again. "It feels good to know that I have made my place in music. Vibe with your tribe and it can take you places. It’s also an honour as well to be acknowledged for the hard work and dedication. Sacrifice and being able to share my gift with our community is very rewarding as well."
Lash tells NITV that her art has been evolving since her last nomination in the category. "Evolving and creating is who I am in the world. Finding means to feel satisfied and accomplished in any form of art is the heart and soul of who we are. I have focused more lyrically on my music, and it’s more composed than some of my early work. We all have a gift to be shared in many ways.
Our hard work is being acknowledged and I’m not only doing it for myself, but the industry is listening to what we are serving up. This nomination is extra incentive to get this next project completed. -Lady Lash
A legend in the scene, Edwards states on his bio "Music is not what I do, it is who I am. My songs may be contemporary but they are more than 40,000 years old. They come through me from my ancestors and my people ... and they tell our stories." The gifted storyteller has had great success as part of Blackfire, supporting the likes of Carlos Santana and then moving in to a solo career releasing two albums. Edwards is also up for a Melbourne Music Prize this year.
Yorta Yorta singer songwriter Benny Walker is continuing to evolve into a unique artist, delivering a soulful and honest sound. Having shared the stage with big names such as Dan Sultan, Archie Roach, Tim Rogers and Blue King Brown, Walkers dedication to his craft continues with his most recent couple of releases showing another side of the singer, with the help of some stellar names in the production world, including ARIA Award winning Producer Jan Skubiszewski (The Cat Empire, John Butler Trio, Dan Sultan).
Nominations are open now, head here to vote. The Age Music Victoria Awards will be held on the 16th November.