And the winners of the 5th Annual AU Awards are…

On Wednesday we were excited to reveal our nominees for the 5th Annual AU Awards, celebrating the best in Australian music over the last 12 months. Now today we’re presenting the winners across all those categories, which are awarded based on both recorded and live merit.

Australian Live Music Event of the Year (Metro)

St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival has become one of Australia’s most loved touring festivals, and for good reason. Their blend of established and celebrated acts, alongside the buzz acts and most exciting up and comers from around the world is unmatched domestically. This year, acts like Father John Misty, The Internet, The War on Drugs, Wolf Alice and more impressed at dates around Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.

Australian Live Music Event of the Year (Regional)

Splendour in the Grass continues to improve year on year as it settles in to its permanent site in Byron Bay. With headliners like Kendrick Lamar, CHVRCHES, PNAU, Vampire Weekend and more, there was something for everyone this year. But with excellent organisation, great food and everything you could ever ask for of a festival – the lineup of this winter event has become all but a bonus for what is guaranteed to be a great weekend away.

Heavy or Punk Artist of the Year

Celebrating their 10th anniversary (as did our own publication) with a thrilling tour alongside Canada’s PUP, DZ Deathrays filled up massive live venues around the country this year. They toured internationally, dropped the killer album Bloody Lovely and their best music video to date in “Like People”. In short, it’s been an incredible year for the Brisbane group, and seems to signal the start of another amazing ten years of music, touring and Wiggles-related activities.

Country or Blues Artist of the Year

It’s been a busy year on the road for Blue Mountains native Julia Jacklin, with the singer-songwriter amassing some serious air miles. Back in September she joined Swedish sister-duo First Aid Kit for a 19 date tour across the United States and Canada, whilst just last month she was headlining her own tour around the UK. Despite all the touring, and performing with her other band Phantastic Ferniture, Jacklin has also found time to complete the recording of her new album, and pop up at the Melbourne Writers Festival alongside Paul Dempsey.

Folk or Singer/Songwriter of the Year

Melbourne singer/songwriter Angie McMahon has had an incredible year, with her singles “Missing Me”, “Keeping Time” and”Helpless” all gaining significant airplay, as her star continued to rise on stages around the country. And with a proven ability to hook in audiences both on record and on stage, the emerging artist has already scored herself a National Live Music Award, and many are predicting her to be well placed within the triple j Hottest 100 next month. 2018 feels like just the start of what will be an incredible career for this talented musician. This in mind, we’re thrilled to name of our Singer/Songwriter of the year.

Electronic/Dance Artist of the Year

It’s proven impossible for our contributors to choose between two of the five nominees of this year’s Dance/Electronic category, and it should come as little surprise given their massive years. The PresetsHi Viz and Alison Wonderland‘s Awake were two of the best records of the year, and their live shows were taken up a level – with both artists smashing it both at home and around the world. They’re true performers, and have worked hard to become some of the most sought after live experiences in the world.

R&B/Soul Artist of the Year

Mojo Juju‘s acclaimed stage performances have made her one of the most anticipated live acts in the country. So her inclusion on our list of nominees should come as no surprise. But it is for her album Native Tongue that we award her this prize – a breathtaking record that has been high on our playlists all year – as has its lead single of the same name (a magnificent music video, too). It’s her third record as a solo artist, and sees the Melbourne artist – who balances blues, soul and pop through her music – perfect her craft and lean on her 13 years of experience as a performer to bring forth one of the best albums of the year. If you aren’t behind Mojo Juju yet, it’s about time to jump on board. She’s one of a kind – and quite simply one of the best.

Hip-Hop Artist of the Year

Sampa Tembo aka Sampa The Great is one of Australia’s most powerful and unique voices. She’s been thrilling audiences for years now with her effortless flow and stand out lyrics. With the year kicking off with her winning the prestigious Australian Music Prize, her attention in 2018 fell more on the stage than it did on releasing new music. But her collaboration “Your Orbit” with Ecca Vandal remains one of our favourite tracks of the year, and her live shows have stuck with us as she continues to evolve as a performer, delivering unforgettable sets at Splendour in the Grass, Groovin’ The Moo, Meredith and more.

Pop Artist of the Year

In a few short years, Troye Sivan has become synonymous not just with Pop music in Australia, but Pop music all around the world. His 2018 has seen that star grow even further with the release of his sophomore album Bloom, which saw Sivan undertake a massive tour of the US and Canada. In his review of the album, Isaac Liew, described Bloom as coming “to encapsulate and define a new age of dark pop,” and that it “takes you into the life of a young queer pop talent navigating his way into the modern world.”

Rock Artist of the Year

Selling tens of thousands of tickets in Australia, and conquering the globe along the way, Gang of Youths have had the best year of their career in 2018. And they seem to be simultaneously proving that rock music will never die, connecting with audiences in a way that few Australian acts ever have before, both at home and abroad – joining groups like the Foo Fighters to conquer North America and Europe. And after helping MTV launch their new Unplugged series in Australia, they even turned that performance into a live album and cinematic release. Absolutely huge. They are the rock group to beat – and not just here at home.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Artist of the Year

Baker Boy has had a massive 2018, with the young man from Arnhem Land playing to a number of sell out crowds on his most recent tour. Here’s what Daniel Hanssen had to say in his review of Baker Boy’s set at The Howler in Melbourne last month: “born into one of the most divisive periods of history, his messages of peace, love and togetherness brought an already bubbly crowd even further together”. It’s also been a year of awards too, with four wins at The Age Music Victoria Awards, Breakthrough Independent Artist of the Year at the 2018 AIR Awards, Male Artist of the Year at the Dreamtime Awards, APRA AMCOS artist of the year at the National Live Music Awards and the Northern Territory’s Young Australian of the Year award.

Breakthrough Artist/Group of the Year

Melbourne singer/songwriter Angie McMahon has had an incredible year, with her singles “Missing Me”, “Keeping Time” and”Helpless” all gaining significant airplay, as her star continued to rise on stages around the country. And with a proven ability to hook in audiences both on record and on stage, the emerging artist has already scored herself a National Live Music Award, and many are predicting her to be well placed within the triple j Hottest 100 next month. 2018 feels like just the start of what will be an incredible career for this talented musician. This in mind, we’re thrilled to name of our Breakthrough Artist of the year.

Album of the Year

So as not to spoil our top 40 albums of the year list, we didn’t let you in on our nominees for this one; but today we revealed our #1 Australian album for 2018. So to find out why Jack River‘s brilliant album, Sugar Mountain, is our Album of the Year head across to our album countdown HERE.

Solo Artist of the Year: Jack River

Though we know it’s a bit misleading to label an artist like Jack River as “solo” when she plays with such a damn fine band, she nonetheless tops this category this year. This comes thanks to the thrilling live sets she played all over Australia – and across the world – in support of her incredible album Sugar Mountain. Here’s what Dylan Marshall had to say in his review of her set in Sydney this past September: “Holly Rankin is onto something special at the moment; whether as a musician, entrepreneur or promoter. And based on the crowd’s love for the set, and the genuine warmth in the room, it appears these special moments are only going to continue to happen.”

Congrats to Holly on an incredible year and this very well deserved accolade.

Group of the Year: Gang of Youths

Selling tens of thousands of tickets in Australia, and conquering the globe along the way, Gang of Youths have had the best year of their career in 2018. And they seem to be simultaneously proving that rock music will never die, connecting with audiences in a way that few Australian acts ever have before, both at home and abroad – joining groups like the Foo Fighters to conquer North America and Europe. And after helping MTV launch their new Unplugged series in Australia, they even turned that performance into a live album and cinematic release. Absolutely huge.

Congratulations to all the winners!

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Larry Heath

Founding Editor of the AU review. You can find him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.