• Young soul Miiesha dominated the 2020 ARIA nominations (Clare Nica)Source: Clare Nica
First Nations musicians are set to take over the red carpet at the 2020 ARIA Awards in November, but some have called out the industry for issues with representation and acknowledgment.
By
Rachael Hocking

Source:
NITV News
14 Oct 2020 - 9:26 PM  UPDATED 20 Oct 2020 - 10:41 AM

Joining industry veterans as a nominee for this year's ARIA Awards is young neo-soul singer Miiesha, who dominates in five categories including Best Female and Breakthrough Artist.

The Anangu and Torres Strait Islander woman hails from Woorabinda in central Queensland and made waves with her debut collection Nyaaringu earlier this year - a soulful meditation on community, family and love. 

Global hip hop sensation and local Gomeroi talent The Kid LAROI is up for three gongs, continuing his streak of success since dropping Go with the late rapper Juice WRLD in June and breakthrough mixtape F*CK LOVE.

Elsewhere on the nominee list Pitjantjatjara legend Frank Yamma brings together some of his life's work into one moving collection with Tjukurpa: The Story, scoring a nom for Best Blues & Roots Album.

The compilation marks the first time Mr Yamma's music has been played on vinyl, and has been praised for capturing his "ability to reflect on stories of country, protection, heartache, travel and love".

Iconic songman Archie Roach returns with the songbook to his memoir, Tell Me Why, and nominations across three categories: Best Male Artist, Best Independent Release, and Best Adult Contemporary Album.

Meanwhile it's a return to the nominee list for Baker Boy, Jessica Mauboy and Briggs.

ARIAs called-out for lack of representation

Tuesday's announcement wasn't met with universal celebration, with Gumbaynggirr rapper Tasman Keith slamming the ARIAs and wider music industry for not being handled "more appropriately and representative of what's really deserving".

Mr Keith dropped Billy Bad Again to positive reviews at the end of 2019 through his own label, pairing it with a slick video clip, but the track didn't receive a nod in this year's ARIA nominations.

"Billy Bad Again was the best film clip to come out of this country last year and didn't get an ARIA nom? Cool. Keep putting stock standard things over my name, makes me take it up a level every time," he wrote in an Instagram post.

"Awards aren't the be all and end all, but while they are here they should be handled more appropriately and representative of what's really deserving."

The call-out comes just days after new research from The Australia Council highlighted the challenges First Nations artists still face in the music industry, including a lack of meaningful engagement from the wider arts sector.  

The 2020 ARIA Awards will be broadcast on November 25 from Sydney. 

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