Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers have taken out a raft of gongs at this year’s APRA Music Awards, led by Kamilaroi rapper The Kid Laroi winning Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year.
The award continues a wave of both local and international success for The Kid Laroi – real name Charlton Howard – since the release of his debut mixtape, F*ck Love.
The Kid Laroi grew up in Waterloo, Sydney and became the youngest ever Australian solo artist to take the ARIA’s number one spot at 17 years old, as well the second ever Aboriginal solo to reach the top of the chart, after the late, great Yolŋu performer Gurrumul.
Overseas, F*ck Love also reached number three on the Billboard chart in the US, where The Kid Laroi is now based with his family.
Another win on the night – which was hosted by Aboriginal rapper Ziggy Ramo – was the Peer-Voted APRA Song of The Year, which went to Midnight Oil for their track Gadigal Land.
The song was written by drummer Rob Hirst with Gadigal poet Joel Davison and Mirning Elder and Coloured Stone legend Bunna Lawrie, both of whom featured on the song alongside Arrernte and Gurindji man Dan Sultan and Wirradjuri woman Kaleena Briggs.
"Midnight Oil has written all these beautiful songs, and put this project together with... all Aboriginal artists, and its just incredible to see," Mr Lawrie told NITV recently in Adelaide.
"Its a good thing to do that, and I'm so so proud to be involved in the collaboration of The Makarrata Project, especially the Gadigal Land song."
Gadigal Land was released last year as part of the Midnight Oil mini-album The Makarrata Project, which supports the Uluru Statement and the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to supervise the process of agreement-making between government and First Nations peoples.
Busby Marou – half of which is Torres Strait Islander man Jeremy Marou – took home the award for Most Performed Blues & Roots Work for their song Over Drinking Over You.
The Most Performed Hip Hop / Rap Work Award went to Youngn Lipz, who has Pacific Island heritage and was described by Vice as the “R&B king of Western Sydney”, for his debut single Misunderstood.